In the post-war period high prices, the introduction of aerial topdressing, the use of molybdenum superphosphate, and the assistance of the Marginal Lands Board have permitted an increase in the region's carrying capacity. Thus the sheep and ewe numbers have shown a high rate of increase, 66.83 per cent and 85.84 per cent respectively. But whilst the labour force engaged in manufacturing has increased by 27.77 per cent, a little above the national average, the increase in the total labour force has been negligible (3.44 per cent). Surprisingly, during the last decade the rural population has increased at a faster rate than the urban population. Part of the increase must be attributed to the non-farming population associated with the smaller villages and the tourist activity, but the remainder of the increase has been concerned with the areas strictly devoted to farming. As a whole the growth of the regional population has been very slow (7.69 per cent, 1951–61). Of the three main towns Thames' growth, 16.78 per cent, has not been very great, Paeroa's rate of growth, 11.73, is below that of the rural population, and Waihi has experienced a decline of 18.6 per cent. The region, it would seem, is still in the process of readjustment after the inflation of its urban structure during the period of its greatest expansion.
by Samuel Harvey Franklin, B.COM.GEOG., M.A.(BIRMINGHAM), Senior Lecturer, Geography Department, Victoria University of Wellington.
- New Zealand Geographer, Vol. 10, April 1954, “The Thames District”, Farrell, B. H.
- Ib., Vol. 5, April 1949, “The Coromandel Peninsula and the Thames Valley”, McCaskill, M.
- Vol. 17, April 1961, “Coromandel: a Study in Economic Stagnation,” Owen, E. E.