THE BENJAMIN OF COUNTIES. A LARGE TRACT OF COUNTRY. AT AUCKLAND'S BACK DOOR. TIMBER, SHEEP AXD CATTLE. ' IT.
(Special to "Star."' Kaitieke has no; yet celebrated its second birthday. It is the youngest county in .New Zealand, and is a child or much promise. Before the Main Trunk, was an accomplished fact, there ■h-so a great big slice of New Zealand, from Taihape to Te Awamutu, that never gave a moment's uneasiness to the Department for Internal Affairs (or whichever department it is that cuts up territory and apportions it among bodies with a local habitation and a name), but within the past few years someone must have 'been kept busy. Almost every day sees a new name on the map. They are ambitious people along the line. First, they get a county, then a town district, and then a, borough. There are more mayors to the lineal mile down the Main Trunk than in any other part of the Dominion. Kaitieke, which has only been gazetted about eighteen months, runs ■ along the Main Trunk line from Erua (the station beyond Waimarino) to Taumsrunui, and on the west its boundaiy is the Wanganui River down to a place called Te Auroa, below the House-boat. Young as the county is. there has already been a "hiving off"' —Manunui, three miles from Taumaruuui, having recently been gazetted a town district. Raurimu, famous as the foot of the spiral, the engineering feat which every train traveller strains his ueck to follow, and always fails, is the'county township, and is surely one of the most unconventional county towns in New Zealand. It is dumped right down in the heart of the forest, and, in fact, there is a sawmill almost in the main street. It is a quaint little place, not without a charm of its own, and is typical of a bush, township in the making. Enormous tree stumps still adorn" the sides of the main and only street, and the settler can step from his tack door right into the virgin forest, which is very pretty in these parts. The visitor with a little time on his hands will be well repaid by dropping off the train here • and driving through the bush to Taumarunui, thirty rai!e_ north. Baurimu is a convenient county centre, and stock sales are held there reguhrly. Some.- of - Eaiticke's other settlements are Owhango, Kakahi, and Piriaka. There is plenty ol room for population, the present total for the county not. being more than IJ2OO. At each of ■ the settlements there is one or more timber mills, and Kaitieke contributes its fair share to the output' of these parts.
From the railway line, the land drops down to the Wanganui. and is intersected by numberless valleys, which are all. fertile, and will, for the most part, make capital sheep and dairy country. Already the Kaitieke Co-operative Dairy Company has started operations with a factory at Piriaka. The output is only about a ton of-butter per week, but the country and the determination arc there, and iv the future we can looj; to a big supply of this profitable article from the county. Kaitieke is also wall suited for sheep, . over ten thousand "•fats" being sent out of the county last year.
A PROSPERING SETTLEMEKT. Owhango is probably the most interesting part of the county just now. Several roads converge on the township, which contains several substantial buildings, and bears every sign of real progress. It is a natural centre, and must always be one of tbe most important districts iv the county. There arc a large number of improved farm settlers in the vicinity, and they deserve credit for the way they are accomplishing their task. To go into such a country in its raw state, a man must have a big heart, and so must his wife. The average town dweller cannot understand what these plucky people have to go through, especially in the winter months, with the roads like quagmires, many of the homes beii'.g as isolated for weeks at a time hs though the occupants were on a lighthouse. You wonder why human beings would consent to go through it when they could live in a snug town with pavements to walk on, but, fortunately for the country, this thirst for colonising is one of the moat pronounced attributes of the race. Owhango numbers among its settlers some of the 6toutest hearts along the Main Trunk.
ACTTJAX *R*ES"C*XTS. Owhango was thrown open for settlement four years ago, and the Main Trunk line runs through it. There are three sawmills in the vicinity, which give a busy appearance to the place. The settlers who were fortunate in getting sections have done a considerable amount of work in a short time, the bush being felled, stumped, and grass is growing luxuriously—in fact, many of the places are understocked. A number of the settlers supply the Piriaka Dairy Factory. As showing the suitability of the district for dairying, Mr. ODonnell, of Shamrock Farm, who has been on his section barely three years, Ss milking thirty cows, and carrying other stock, on a little over 100 acres. On about an acre of a pumice patch he has taken three crops of red clover, and to-day it is thicker, taller, and better than "the first year. On the same patch vegetables and 'lowers may be seen to such profusion that a Chinaman would be envious. Owhango has always been famous for its climatic advantages, and •has a good future before it.
COUNTRY "WORK. Kaitieke's local authority, Messrs. E. N. Grice (chairman), W. Fitzgerald. A. McColl, F. W. Beechey, L. S. Ford, J A. Jickell, and J. McLeod, with Messrs. A. A. Scholes clerk, L. Mashlan as engineer, and H. Mashlan assistant engineer, have a hard row to hoe. The county is brand new, and wants many roads. The empty coffers of the Advances to Local Bodies Department have caused Kaitieke' as much inconvenience as several other local bodies who have found their credit stopped there, but arrangements have been made with the Public Trustee to raise £3,500 required for the very pressing work of metalling that portion of the Haurimu-Kaitieke Road known as the Kaitieke Hill. This will cost about £1,400 a mile, and is -the worst hit the settlers in "that' direction have to face, being-go; very young has still a ™_T f . or 2**«>-*-work to do. whereas Zer thU V der '' CoUlltics *"» ** In-this they a "cntion to metal. TC) a f «-mr which so far
has not been showered upon the Benjamin in the large family of counties. When the money market eases up, Kaitieke ■ intends to borrow £700 for the Te Mairc Road, £1.(500 for the Wai-marino-Retarukc Road, £I.SOO for the Poka(ca-Sokaka-nui Road, £600 for tha Pukeatua Road, and £300 for the Hikimutu.
MANTINTJI. * The hillsides at Manunui are sprinkled with settlers, but timber milling is the mainstay of this busy little town district, just on the borders of the Wellington province and within a few miles of tho boundary of Auckland province. It i 3 when you come across instances like this that you realise how the Main Trunk has linked up piaces that were so far apart, and brought Auckland into touch with pieces of its own territory, which ten years ago for all practical purpose?, might just ss well bare belonged to Wellington or Wanganui, for all the good they were to their mother city.
It is at Manunui that Messrs. Eliis and Burnand, the well-known sawmillers, have their big mill, which is equipped with the most modern and most complete plant in the North Island. Th? firm makes a speciality of white pine butter boxes and cheese crates, for which the ever-increasing dairying industry Ins set up an unlimited demand. The boxmaking is done almost entirely by machinery of a most ingenious character. One might almost say that the wood goes in at one end of the building, and the finished article, planed, waxed." wrtli the name of the dairy factory neatly prated, comes out at tho other end. Enormous quantities of tbe white ptna (kahikatea) are absorbed yearly in this important department, and one wonders what the butter man will do when the timber gives out. Butter is such a deli-1 cate commodity that it wil! absorb the. slightest taint or odour from its recep- \ tacle, and white pine has the unique distinction among woods of being odour- j less and taintless. A particularly interesting bit of machinery which has recently" been imported from America j (whence all the new ideas in timber-! working come) 13 an automatic dovetailer and giner. Butter boxes require a solid board of a good width, and it is not always easy to meet the demand. This almost human machine will dovetail and glue two narrow boards together with such precision, exactness, and strength that it takes a microscope to, find the join. ~*,,' Another industry at Ellis and Burnand's extensive yards is veneer cutting. A. cleverly-designed machine, like an overarewn lathe, peels a log of white pinc'into strips as thin as light cardboard, which are afterwards cut up and made into strawberry boxes and similar articles. For what is a, --thrceplv -«:ork"'-used for ceilings and other purposes-rimu and other timbers arc treated m the same way and three o. these sheets glued together Withi£ho grain crossed are as strong as a board __c times the thickness. The manager of this up-to-date mill-is Mr. Co.lej, wbo has under him a very large staff.
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KAITIEKE., Auckland Star, Volume XLIV, Issue 108, 7 May 1913
KAITIEKE. Auckland Star, Volume XLIV, Issue 108, 7 May 1913
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