The vegetation of the Te Aroha district
Hart, P. (2016). The vegetation of the Te Aroha district. (Te Aroha Mining District Working papers, No. 4), Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato, Historical Research Unit.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/10311
Pakeha settlers universally admired the mountain’s vegetation, and several enthusiasts made botanical surveys. Both because of its intrinsic beauty and also to attract tourists, portions of the mountain were removed from the goldfield and attempts were made to preserve the original vegetation. In contrast, few admired the vegetation in the swamps, which were quickly drained for farming. As thick bush handicapped prospectors, it was burnt to expose outcrops. Miners were permitted to cut the trees on their claims for mining purposes, and settlers required timber for a multitude of purposes. Despite some attempts to control timber cutting, which in the case of kauri required a (small) payment, much valuable timber was wasted because of its abundance. Vegetation was either deliberately or carelessly set on fire, was vandalized by illegal cutting, and was damaged by cattle, deer, goats, and possums. As the bush line retreated up the mountainside, damaged or destroyed areas were replanted in exotic vegetation; in the case of the tramway, gorse (!) was planted to prevent landslips. By the late twentieth century, efforts were being made to protect and restore the original vegetation.
Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato
© 2016 Philip Hart