First news of salt production in New Zealand appeared in the Nelson Examiner in 1844. It reported successful trials in the estuary at Nelson, where an acre of mudflats was cut off from the sea and salt of ‘excellent quality’ was made. However, the optimism of this early report was unfounded; it would be over a century before New Zealand developed its own solar salt industry. Geographically, this early venture was not far off the mark – Nelson has similar sunshine hours to Lake Grassmere, the country’s ultimate salt-production centre, but its higher rainfall would have been detrimental to salt making.
All these are faits accomplis. Salt of excellent quality has been made; the sun and sea breeze here greatly favour evaporation; but the pits, perforated by crabs, require cementing, and this and other steps of the proves require money, for which the saltmaker is stopping at present. But there is no doubt salt can be made, and will ere long, more cheaply than imported. Hops, to be an important item in New Zealand productions, have not been grown yet in useful quantities. There is a small plantation in Glen-iti, which promises well. The absence of the hop-fly is a great advantage.
Te whakamahi i tēnei tūemi
Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Reference: Nelson Examiner, 8 March 1845
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