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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



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Extensive Planting of Exotic Forests

The direct result of this recommendation was that a scheme was submitted in 1915 for planting 258,000 acres of the Kaingaroa Plains on the pumice plateau of central North Island where small-scale planting had taken place since the very beginning of the century. War prevented any action being taken but 1923 saw the commencement of what might be termed an era of extensive planting in many places. Between that year and 1936, 376,000 acres were planted by the State. The same period was also one of active planting by afforestation companies, most of which commenced as land development ventures. The basis of their enterprise was cheap land, submarginal to agriculture at the time. Many tens of thousands of acres were available for purchase in the pumice lands of the central North Island. They were not “available” to agriculture because cobalt deficiency caused stock disease. Radiata pine was the crop chosen because of the ease with which it could be raised, and handled, and the speed with which it grew. Outside of the pumice lands, the waste gumlands of North Auckland and the scrub-covered Moutere soils of Nelson were the main centres of planting, both by companies and by the State. During this same period of State activity, 1923–36, companies planted 297,000 acres, nearly all of it in radiata pine.

The establishment of this large exotic estate, the bulk of it in little more than a 10-year period, meant that adequate tending was not carried out and many of the principles of forestry were flouted. Some of the problems confronting foresters in the use of these forests today arise from these omissions. On the credit side, however, it can be said that sufficiently large areas of new species were established for large sales to be made and large logging and utilisation units to be formed. The small range of timbers has also enabled them to become quickly established in the trade.

Tree State Forest Private, Company, and Communal Total
Radiata pine 276,000 430,000 706,000
Ponderosa pine 70,000 14,000 84,000
Corsican pine 69,000 4,000 73,000
Douglas fir 58,000 8,000 66,000
Others and mixtures 91,000 113,000 204,000
Total 564,000 569,000 1,133,000