Skip to main content
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.



Pastoral Development

The “downland” areas give an impression of trim, close-cropped prosperity, an impression supported by the density of sheep and breeding ewes per acre of occupied land. Fat-lamb production and the breeding of stud sheep are the main activities. By contrast, the flat plain of the Manawatu and Oroua Rivers is favoured for dairy cattle, though sheep are not excluded. South of the Manawatu River it is rash to speak of sheep or dairying areas. The lower slopes of the ranges and the piedmont fans carry sheep, as does much of the Otaki Sandstone country; but near Levin dairying is found, while on the Otaki fan and to the south, the production of milk for the Wellington market becomes the predominant activity. The tendency is for sheep to be more important to the north, and dairy cattle to the south. The statistics support this statement; in Kiwitea, Pohangina, and Oroua Counties the proportion of dairy cows in milk per 100 sheep shorn does not rise above four, in Manawatu and Kairanga Counties it lies between 11 and 12; in Horowhenua County it reaches 16. The extensive belt of sand-dune country poses the greatest difficulties for farming, much of it being extensively or even poorly farmed. Other parts, however, have been well developed, and some areas have been afforested, especially at Waitarere. To improve this land it is necessary to stabilise those dunes close to the strand, to raise the humus content of the soil, and to maintain an adequate supply of moisture and fertilisers for the new pastures which are built around subterranean and strawberry clovers.