Settlement Pattern by 1874
The population maps for 1874 show that at the end of the provincial era there was intensive European activity only on the Coromandel Peninsula goldfields and on the early settled farmlands near Auckland. Elsewhere white settlement was scattered or in small clusters. In Northland there were some 10,000 Europeans, but no townships larger than 450 people, while Hamilton and Tauranga had barely 600 people each. After the Maori Wars the confiscation of extensive areas of bush-free lowland in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty pushed the frontier of white settlement forward. Military settlers, many of them recruited on the Australian gold diggings, had been granted 50–acre farms and formed a kind of frontier screen at Hamilton, Te Awamutu, Cambridge, and Tauranga. They were reinforced by group settlements of immigrants from Northern Ireland at Katikati in 1875 and at Te Puke in 1881. Small-scale mixed agriculture, as these settlers practised, was not a very profitable enterprise during the 1870s and 1880s. The real prosperity of Auckland Province in these decades was based on the kauri timber, kauri gum, and gold of the Northland and Coromandel Peninsulas.
Of the assisted immigrants who came to the country under the Vogel Scheme of the 1870s, 12,000 persons, or 13 per cent of the New Zealand total, came to Auckland–fewer than to Wellington Province and only twice as many as came to Hawke's Bay. Apart from the railway from Auckland to Te Awamutu, completed in 1880, Auckland had little share in the railway-construction boom. A fleet of small river and coastal ships linked outlying settlements with Auckland city and water transport played a far greater role than in any other province.