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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.



Western Uplands

The Western Uplands, or King Country region, is a broad extent of hill country which lies to the west of Lake Taupo and Ruapehu and reaches the coast between Kawhia and Urenui. The region is referred to under a variety of names, the term King Country stressing its historical associations and the term North Taranaki stressing its provincial associations. Inland Taranaki is purely locational in emphasis and Western Uplands is quite neutral and recent in origin. No name has become the customary one – hence the dual title. Four counties, Otorohanga, Waitomo, Taumarunui, and Clifton, together with their interior boroughs, are the principal units for the collection of statistics. Their limits exceed the boundaries of the hill country so that Clifton County includes a portion of the rich Taranaki dairying land, and Otorohanga County lies at the southern extremity of the richer and lower Waikato region. The southern part is included within the counties of Patea and Stratford, in which has been incorporated Whangamomona County, one of the most renowned districts of the region. While reference is made to this county, no account of it is given in the statistical tables. The heavy maintenance costs arising out of the rugged topography of the region and the problem of financing four county council administrations out of the pockets of a limited number of ratepayers are shown in the recent elimination of a number of counties. Kawhia County, once part of Waitomo County, was established as a separate unit, only to be divided subsequently between Waitomo and Otorohanga counties. Few people will remember there was once an Awakino County, now part of Waitomo. Taumarunui County now incorporates both Ohura and Kaitieke counties, and for both of them and Kawhia, no separate figures are shown. In 1961 the total population of the region was 41,516, 25·50 per cent of which were Maoris, and it represented 1·71 per cent of the national total. There are only two towns of any size, Te Kuiti (4,492) and Taumarunui (4,961).


Samuel Harvey Franklin, B.COM.GEOG., M.A.(BIRMINGHAM), Senior Lecturer, Geography Department, Victoria University of Wellington.

Auaina ake: Landscape Patterns