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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.



Recent Developments

The improvement in conditions during the postwar period is reflected in the general statistics for the region. After a period of stagnation the rural population has resumed growth, though slowly, 4·73 per cent being the increase for 1951–61. The area in grass has increased by 54,980 acres during the same period. The percentage increase in sheep shorn, 31·3 per cent, is above the national rate of 29·73 per cent, but the increase in lambs shorn, 49·02 per cent, has not obtained the national level. Logging remains an important activity, especially as this region contains a fair proportion of the remaining indigenous timbers of the North Island. The Titanomagnetite (Taranaki) ironsands still await acceptance as an exploitable resource. They are exposed as blue-black to dark grey beach and dune sands along most of the coast, but are concentrated particularly around the Kawhia and Aotea Harbours and Lake Taharoa, where the deposits are described as vast. The iron content of the sands is not great and the titanium content is much lower, but one of the few estimates made assesses the ore-mineral content of the Taharoa sands as equivalent to 153 million tons of iron. If an industry were established there is no likelihood whatsoever of its being located near the raw materials and the gain to the region arising from the exploitation of these sands would be only incidental.

With so few towns in the region, it is obvious that the primary industries rather than the manufacturing industries are the principal sources of wealth: 72·40 per cent of the total population are located in rural areas, though this percentage is a little exaggerated because it includes the populations of the small towns, such as Kawhia (324), National Park (391), Owhango (422), Raurimu (312), and Manunui (948); figures are for 1961. During the decade 1951–61 total population increased by 12·82 per cent, well below the national average, the increase being concentrated mostly in the towns. The Maori population, though not large, forms a significant element in the regional population (25·59 per cent) and has increased by 33·97 per cent, a figure which does not indicate any considerable emigration from the region.

The principal features of the region, its isolation and the difficulty of its terrain, remain unchanged. In the light of modern technologies its pastoral potential obviously needs re-evaluation, but these achievements must now be attained in face of steady if not falling prices and limited market opportunities.