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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 78

Chapter VIII

page 16

Chapter VIII

The Rivers flow in well defined valleys, and keep to their courses; they do not, as is so common in other parts. Wander about in wide shingle flats, destroying the banks and making large areas useless. The only river of any size is the Whanganui, which forms the eastern boundary of the district, and down to which the forest-clad hills slope steeply, thus forming the beautiful scenery for which that river is celebrated. The Mokau, on the northern boundary of the district, is another river of considerable size, and, like the Whanganui, its banks are clothed with fine forests. Steamers of 100 tons burden ascend this river lor 22 miles, as far as the coal mines, with which there is already a considerable trade. The Waitara is the next river in size, which falls into the sea ten miles north of New Plymouth. At its mouth is the town of Waitara, a mile and a half from the sea, and up to which small steamers continually ply; but the river is not navigable beyond the town, its course having in it many rapids and its banks presenting some fine scenery. The Patea river, at the extreme southern point of the district, takes its rise in Mount Egmont, and flows thence through the town of Stratford (the original name of which was Stratford on-Patea) in an easterly, south-easterly and southerly direction to the sea. Near its mouth is the town and port of Patea, which is used by small steamers taking produce from the freezing works and dairy factories there. This river is navigable for boats for some distance from its mouth, and, like all other rivers of these parts, where the forest is still standing, has some very fine scenery along its course, Numerous as are the other streams, they are moderate in size, and serve to water the country very effectually. It may be said that Taranaki rivers are free from floods, at any rate such as cause disaster and loss. When it is remembered what a very large number of streams of consider-able size take their rise in Mount Egmont, and the elevation at which they become of a fair volume of water, it will be understood that here is to be found an inexhaustible supply of water-power, some of which is already utilized for the generation of electrical power. The future for the district in this respect is certain of a great devlopement.

page 17

The statistics as to climate furnished by the Meteorological Department for the last 29 years are as follows: Max. temp. in the shade, 67°, Min. do. 480, Mean, 57.80, The winds blow mostly from the west and south-west; gales are not frequent and though heavy frosts are common inland, they are rarely seen along the coast lands.