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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.




The extent of the Southern Alps has never been officially defined. This account deals with that part of the axial range of the South Island extending from Haast Pass to Arthur's Pass. The geology, vegetation, and economic sections apply also to the northern continuation, including the Spenser Range, as far as Tophouse Saddle on the Wairau River, Marlborough. Between the Spenser Range and Arthur's Pass, the ranges are low, 5,000–6,000 ft, with no notable peaks, and contain four passes: Harper Pass (3,152 ft); Hope Pass (3,383 ft); Amuri Pass (3,301 ft); and Lewis Pass (2,837 ft) the latter providing an important road route between Canterbury and the West Coast.


Alan Copland Beck, M.SC., New Zealand Geological Survey, Christchurch.

Auaina ake: Topography