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NEW NATIONAL HIGHWAY.

PRISON LABOUR UTILISED.

WAIMARINO TO TOKAANU.

NEW ROUTE FOR TOURISTS.

As a means of 'employment for prison labour, for which occupation was not available in tho tree-planting camps, the

Prisons Department decided, soon after tho war began, to complete by prison labour tho national highway between Waimarino, on tho Main Trunk line, "to Tokaami, on tho southern shores of: Lake Taupo, This work is now on'the way to completion. The first official trip over the new road was recently made in a

motor-car by a party, which included the head of the Depifttnient, the' Hon. A. L. Herdman. Describing tho trip, a writer in a Wellington newspaper states that the Waimarino Tokaanu-road covers a distance of some '10 . miles. It stretches for" somo miles across the vast Waimarino: Plains and winds itself through and round some of the finest bush, river gorge, and mountain scenery to be seen in New Zealand. Tho portion of the road constructed; by prisoners is a length of some 20: miles from Waimarino, towards Lake'- Rota,-; Aira, and joins up the old constabulary road on to Tokaanu. The prisoners engaged on the work are carrying put their undertaking thoroughly, and 'have.given proof of bo done under tho superintendence' of tho prison officials. Heavy timbered bridges have been built— all by prison labour—and those over, tho deep-gullied streams, Maungahuia. arid Whakapapanui, rival somo of the best bridges of the kind and dimensions; in other parts of New Zealand. .. . .

Aid to Settlement. Tim new road, it is claimed, when finished, will connect with tho Wellington, Auckland, and Taranaki road systems in the west, and with tho Auckland, | Hawke's Bay, and Wellington road systems in tho east. Most experts, in judging land qualities, look to the completion of the road as an inducement to settlement. I Thero seems to be a large area of the 1 country surrounding the Waimarino Plains j at present carrying millions of feet of timbre that when cleared would be planted j in crops and stocked with sheep . and cattle. Whatever settlers find their way on to these lands they cannot help but benefit j from tho new road built by the prisoners. ;. By next season the road should be quite fit for easy motor travelling. v Visitors to the Dominion travelling from Wellington j to Rotorua, via Tokaanu, Taupo, and Wai- j rakei, have often deplored the fact that j proper and easier road access was not obtainable. Those who have travelled during the summer months over the sandy desert between Waiouru and Tokaanu, with the wind blowing with the coach will appreciate a change of route that will cut out that part of tho trip to Taupo. When the new road is opened it will not only lessen the journov, but the few-hours which will be occupied in travelling to Tokaanu over tho new route after leaving j the train at Waimarino can be more com- j fortably spent in a motor. Dust is almost absent, and anyone able to compare the two ] routes, the new one with . its magnificent mountain srenic beauties, and i the other, dusty, barren, and forlorn looking, will not be in a hurry to go to j Tokaanu and Taupo via Waiouru again. At tho commencement of next summer—

it may bo at the end of the present summer—it is expected that motors will bo making daily trips to Tokaanu over the new road. / :■ 7--C Access to Tongariro. * : : • The making of the Tongariro-Tokaaiai road hits given better access to that most picturesque and extensive public reseryatidn, the Tong'ariro Park. This park covered, under tlio original boundaries, 62,300 acres, much of it bush country, but when the new boundaries have been settled its total area will: be something like 138,000 acres. Work is under way lilting out part of the Tongariro Park as a moor for game. For a long time Mr. John Cullcn, late Commissioner of Police, has been working quietly with a little financial ass'stanco from the Government on a scheme to replace the tussock with heather. Then later on it is proposed- to. import grouse, woodcock, and other fancy table birds, which thrive on tfio shoots' and seeds of the heather. Some thousands. of plants have been spread over the Wainiarino Plains and aro doing well. Thousands more are in the Government nursery ;at Rotorua, nearly ready /or planting out; Mr. Culler, has already obtained a number of quail, duck and pheasants, and .-'these, have been liberated in the park. He is also in negotiation with gaming societies abroad for birds of the grouse and woodcock family to import to New Zealand for tho park. Soon, when it becomes stocked with game, the park will be a paradise for sportsmen, "lie land on which the quicklyspreading heather is being planted is of no value to the agriculturalist, Experiments have been made on it with disheartening results. So the very best use is being made of this largo tract of country. ■. X;

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NZH19170306.2.56

Bibliographic details

NEW NATIONAL HIGHWAY., New Zealand Herald, Volume LIV, Issue 16481, 6 March 1917

Word Count
830

NEW NATIONAL HIGHWAY. New Zealand Herald, Volume LIV, Issue 16481, 6 March 1917

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