Not surprisingly the region has a more than average proportion engaged in transport and communications, 11·11 per cent, for it acts as an important bridge between the Islands. The establishment in 1962 of a car- and rail-ferry service between Wellington and Picton is rapidly transforming the transport pattern between the two Islands and has given a fillip to Picton's development. In 1961, 49,662 tons of cargo were carried by the Straits Air Freight express service (the tonnage for 1948, the first full year of operation, was 5,859). But as the rail-ferry service is now in some ways in direct competition with air freight, both services will have to maintain their operations at profit only by an increase in volume. Within the region itself transport is constricted to a limited number of routes. Not until 1945 was Blenheim connected to the main railway system of the South Island. This delay inevitably stimulated road transport and all traffic between Blenheim and Nelson still goes by road.
In terms of the national economy the Marlborough region is a small one, containing only 1·15 per cent of the national population. It is not an unfavoured region and has shown itself capable of maintaining a moderate rate of expansion during the post-war period. It contains no outstandingly undeveloped resources and, while in previous decades it has been an area of marked outward migration, since 1951 it has been capable of sustaining an increase and finding employment for that increase. It is anticipated, hopefully, that in the period 1961–81 the population will increase by 37·40 per cent, that is to say, at half the national rate of increase. But whatever the actual increase sustained, it is certain that growth will follow the trends, already in existence, towards a greater degree of urbanisation and a concentration within the more favoured agricultural districts of the region.
by Samuel Harvey Franklin, B.COM.GEOG., M.A.(BIRMINGHAM), Senior Lecturer, Geography Department, Victoria University of Wellington.
- Marlborough – a Regional Survey, N.Z. Ministry of Works (1962)
- N.Z. Journal of Agriculture, Vol. 86, Apr-May 1953, “Farming in New Zealand – Marlborough”, Beggs, J. P.