1856 - Beardsworth, C. A. C. An Epitome of the Geography of New Zealand - [Text] p 3-18

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  1856 - Beardsworth, C. A. C. An Epitome of the Geography of New Zealand - [Text] p 3-18
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SECTION I. (Physical).

Q. Where is New Zealand?

A. In the South Pacific Ocean, between the 34th and 48th parallels of south latitude, and the 166th and 179th meridians of east longitude.

Q. Of what does it consist?

A. Three islands, extending 900 miles from N. E. to S. W.

Q. How separated?

A. The north island by Cook Strait from the middle one, and the latter by Foveaux Strait from the southern or Stewart Island.

Q. What is the superficial area of the whole?

A. About 78,000,000 of acres.

Q. What is the nature of the surface of the country?

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A. Very much broken, in general, by ranges of hills in every direction, which in many places rise into lofty mountains, whose summits are always covered with snow, and deep ravines or gullies, through which impetuous torrents rush; but there are extensive plains on the east coast of both the larger islands.

Q. Which are the most remarkable mountains?

A. Ruapehu (9,100 feet), Tongariro (6,100 ft.), in the middle of the northern island, and Mount Egmont or Taranaki (8,248 ft.) on the west coast. In the middle island, Mount Cook (13,200 ft.) in the Province of Canterbury, and the Kaikora range, the highest peak of which is 9,700 feet high, in the Province of Nelson.

Q. What is remarkable about the mountains of New Zealand?

A. The number of extinct volcanoes, amongst them Tongariro, however, is still active.

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Q. Which are the chief rivers?

A. The Wairoa, Waikato, Waipa, and Waiho (Thames) in the Province of Auckland; the Wanganui and Manawatu in that of Wellington; the Pelorus and Wairau in Nelson; and the Molyneux or Matau in Otago.

Q. Which are the largest lakes?

A. Lake Taupo (36 miles long and 25 broad), Rotorua, Waikari, and Wairarapa, in the north island, and Rotoroa, Rotoiti, Lake Brunner, Waihora (Lake Ellesmere), Lake Coleridge, Hawea, Wanaka, and Wakatipo in the middle island.

Q. Which are the most prominent capes?

A. North Cape, Cape Maria Van Dieman, Cape Colville, East Cape, Cape Palliser, and Cape Egmont in the north island; and capes Farewell, Stephens, Cambell, Saunders, and Foulwind in the middle island.

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Q. Which are the principal bays and gulfs?

A. Bay of Islands, Hauraki Gulf, Bay of Plenty, Poverty Bay (where Captain Cook landed in 1769), Hawke's Bay, and Palliser Bay, in the north island; Blind Bay, Massacre Bay, and Cloudy, Pegasus, Howell, Chalky, and Dusky bays in the middle island.

Q. Which are the principal havens or harbours?

A. Kaipara, Manukau, Waingaroa, and Kawhia, west coast, and Waitemate, Waihu (Coromandel), Mercury Bay, Whangaroa, and Wangari, east coast; Port Nicholson south of the north island; Port Hardy, in D'Urville Island, Queen Charlotte Sound, Akaroa, Port Victoria (or Cooper), Otago, Port Preservation, and Milford Sound, in the middle island, and Paterson Inlet in Matau or Stewart Island.

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Q. Are there any other islands near the three large ones?

A. Yes, very many, the most important ones are Otea (Great Barrier Isle) Huturu and Waiheki in Hauraki Gulf, Touhua and White Island in the Bay of Plenty, Kapiti and Mana on the north of Cook Strait, and D'Urville Isle and Arapawa on the south side, Ruapuke in Foveaux Strait, and the isles Resolution and Paterson on the south-west coast.


Q. What is New Zealand?

A. A British colony.

Q. How is it politically divided?

A. Into six provinces, viz., Auckland, Taranaki, and Wellington in the north island; Nelson, Canterbury, and Otago in the other.

Q. How is the Province of Auckland bounded?

A. On the south by the river Mokau to its source, thence by a right line to the point where the

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Ngahuinga or Tuhua, the principal tributary of the Wanganui, is intersected by the 39th parallel of south latitude to the point where that parallel cuts the east coast, and in every other direction by the coast line, including the islands adjacent thereto.

Q. How many towns are there in the Province of Auckland?

A. Two; Auckland, the metropolis of the whole colony, seated on Waitemate Harbour, an arm of Hauraki Gulf; and Russell, on the Bay of Islands.

Q. What are the boundaries of Taranaki?

A. On the north by the river Mokau to its source, on the east by a right line running from the source of the Mokau to a point where the Ngahuinga or Tuhua is intersected by the 39th parallel of south latitude, thence by the river Wanganui to the point where it is met by the Tau-

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matamahoe Path leading from the river Waitara, thence by a right line running from the above point on the Wanganui to the mouth of the river Patea.

Q. How many towns in the Province of Taranaki?

A. Only one, --New Plymouth, near the north-west entrance to Cook Strait.

Q. How is Wellington bounded?

A. On the north by the southern boundary of Auckland, on the north-east by that of Taranaki, and in every other direction by the coast line, including the adjacent islands.

Q. How many towns in that of Wellington?

A. Three; Wellington, a city on the fine harbour of Port Nicholson; Wanganui, on the river of the same name, both in Cook Strait; and Napier, on Ahuriri harbour, Hawke's Bay, east coast. Three others have

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been laid out, and named Greytown, Masterton, and Featherston.

Q. Which are the boundaries of Nelson?

A. On the south by the river Hurunui to its source, thence by a right line drawn to the point where the river Kotu-urakaoka issues from Lake Brunner, thence down that river to its junction with the river Grey, and down the latter to its mouth, in every other direction by the coast line, &c.

Q. How many towns has Nelson?

A. Two; Nelson, on a good harbour in Blind Bay; and Collingwood in Massacre Bay.

Q. How is Canterbury bounded?

A. On the north by the southern boundary of Nelson, on the south by the river Waitangi to its source, thence by a right line running to the source of the river Awarua, and by the same to its mouth, and on the east and west by the coast line.

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Q. How many towns in Canterbury?

A. Five; Lyttelton, on Port Victoria (or Cooper); Christchurch, on the river Heathcote; Kaiapoi, Akaroa, and Geraldine. Two others are either laid out or projected. -- Gladstone and Sumner.

Q. Flow is Otago bounded?

A. On the north by the southern boundary of Canterbury, on the east, west and south by the coast line, including the islands adjacent thereto, with exception of Stewart Island, its adjacent islands, Sclanders Island, and the island of Ruapuke.

Q. Flow many towns has Otago?

A. Three; Dunedin, at the head of port Otago, Port Chalmers, at the entrance to the same inlet, and Invercargill on New River.

Q. What is the European population of the colony?

A. Between 40,000 and 50,000, but rapidly increasing.

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Q. How distributed?

A. P. of Auckland about 16,000
" Taranaki " 2,500
" Wellington " 10,000
" Nelson " 8,000
" Canterbury " 7,000
" Otago " 6,000

Q. What is the estimated number of Aborigines (Maories)?

A. About 70,000, and decreasing.

Q. How are they distributed?

A. They were formerly divided into twelve great tribes, each of which was subdivided into a number of smaller ones, of whom about nine-tenths are in the northern island, and half in the province of Auckland.

Q. How is the colony governed?

A. Representative Institutions have lately been granted to New Zealand, by virtue of which deputies are elected and sent by each province to the General Assembly, which consists of two houses, the Legislative Council and the House

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of Representatives, to enact laws for the government of the whole colony.

Q. Of what is the Upper House, or Legislative Council composed?

A. Nominees, or gentlemen nominated from each province by the Governor, who is himself appointed by the Crown.

Q. How are the local affairs of each province regulated?

A. By a Provincial Council, whose members are elected by those who have a property qualification; the executive is administered by a deputy-governor, styled Superintendent, whose office is also elective.


Q. When and by whom was New Zealand discovered?

A. The most authentic account we have is, that it was discovered in 1642 by Tasman, a Dutch navigator, who gave it the name of his native place, Zealand in Holland; though

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some say it was visited by the Spaniards from South America nearly a century before! Maori traditions record a visit of white people long before that of Tasman, who introduced many useful vegetables, and taught the Maories some ornamental arts.

Q. Were the Maories always in New Zealand?

A. According to their traditions they came some ages ago from distant islands in large double canoes, which is, in some measure, confirmed by language; --the name "Waihu" belongs both to Easter Island, on the other side of the Pacific, and to Coromandel Harbour, New Zealand, where some are said to have first landed; also, the great heathen deity of the Maories "Mawi" is the name of one of the Sandwich Islands whence many came.

Q. How came New Zealand into the possession of England?

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A. Captain Cook was the next who visited it, and in 1769 took formal possession of it for the British Crown.


Q. What is the natural appearance of the surface of the country?

A. Beautifully verdant. An immense extent is covered with dense forests, containing trees of great size adapted for all the arts, &c.; the plains near the east coast produce luxuriant native grasses; but vast tracks are covered with common fern and a peculiar kind of flax (phormium tenax); swamps also are very numerous.

Q. What minerals have been discovered?

A. Abundance of good coal at Waikato, Mokau, and Massacre Bay; copper in Great Barrier Island, and in Dun Mountain, Nelson; superior iron is largely mixed with the beach

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sand of Taranaki; and even gold has been found in small quantities at Coromandel Harbour, and in much greater at Aorere and the adjacent country in Massacre Bay. Many other minerals of less importance have also been discovered.

Q. What is the nature of the soil?

A. Various in different provinces; but, being well watered by innumerable streams, always highly productive and adapted for the growth of all the necessaries of life, and many of its luxuries.

Q. What can be said of its climate?

A. Humid, from the insular position of the colony; but very temperate, and decidedly conducive to vigorous health.

Q. What is remarkable in the zoology of New Zealand?

A. The absence of all indigenous animals except the dog and rat, both

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of very small description, and now nearly extinct.

Q. What in the ornithology?

A. The birds of New Zealand are neither numerous nor of great variety; the most singular is the Kiwi (aptryx australis), which has no wings, and is clothed with hair instead of feathers, similar to the gigantic but extinct Moa (dinornis australis), whose bones have been found, proving this bird to have stood upwards of seventeen feet high!

Q. What are the principal natural curiosities?

A. The most remarkable are the hot and tepid springs and fountains at Taupo and Rotorua, also on White Island in the Bay of Plenty, which are strongly impregnated with sulphur, indeed the whole island seems in a state of continual ignition, and is always enveloped in a dense cloud of steam! There are many

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magnificent cascades (one of hotwater at Rotomahana), deep caverns, and singularly shaped rocks in various parts; in fact, all the islands are eminently picturesque in scenery, having in abundance those three great requisites--mountain, wood, and water!

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