The discovery of gold on the West Coast in 1864 led many miners to cross the major passes from Canterbury. All had been used by Māori going west for pounamu (greenstone). The most popular was Harper Pass, up the Hurunui to the Taramakau River. But in the long term the most important route was Arthur’s Pass, which soon became a road for horses and carriages. The Harper, Browning and Whitcombe passes remain as tracks for trampers today.
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