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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.




New Zealand is a country whose wealth has depended mainly on the animal products derived from its grasslands. Although other types of production are increasing, there is little doubt that for many years to come the country's prosperity will continue to depend on its grassland products.

Production from grassland is dependent on many factors, most of which can be modified to suit requirements. Soil fertility, species and strains of plants, management, and control of pests can be moulded to fit in with a predetermined plan. The one important factor which cannot be modified is climate. A favourable climate is one which is neither too hot nor too cold, neither too wet nor too dry – one that enables grass to be grown successfully in most parts of the country. Although a large part of New Zealand is too steep for the plough, the climate is such that grass can be grown on most of the hill country, much of which is steeper than that used for pasture production in many other countries. The effect of the moisture content of “climate” is modified in some areas by drainage or irrigation, but only a comparatively small part of the country is affected in these ways.


Stephen Hector Saxby, DIP.AGR., Assistant Director, Farm Advisory Division, Department of Agriculture, Wellington.