The Land Laws Amendment Act (1929) and the pumice lands of the Volcanic Plateau : antecedents and consequences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
''Axiomatic in historical geography is the notion that in studying the process of settlement the physical environment per se warrants less attention than the environment as perceived and imagined by contemporaries attempting to evaluate it in their own terms" . As the pumice lands of the Volcanic Plateau were largely by passed by the main stream of New Zealand settlement leaving it to the State belatedly to execute such development the scope for this study is realised. Recognising also that the Land Laws Amendment Act of 1929 was the means whereby such farm settlement was initially instigated it can be seen that "without ...... attention to the political, our geographical insights are likely to be limited and sterile". Examinations could be made of other similarly by passed arear where the State has played the major part in land development and settlement thus giving this study wider implications. "Decision makers operating in an environment base their decisions on the environment as they perceive it, not as it is. The action resulting from decision on the other hand is played out in a real environment". Brookfield thus helps to unite the two strands outlined above and provides this thesis with its twin aims; firstly to describe and if possible account for the sequence of attitudes to and appraisals of the pumice lands of the Volcanic Plateau up to 1930; secondly to describe the resultant reappraisal, selection, development and settlement of certain areas within those lands under the provisions of the Land Laws Amendment Act of 1929. For the purposes of that Act "roughly all of the pumice lands" of the Volcanic Plateau consisting of the counties of Rotorua, Taupo within the South Auckland District, Whakatane and Wairoa north and west of the Kaimai Road and Matamata south of a line along the Rotorua to Putaruru railway extended to Arapuni. Whilst not intending to deal with the whole in this thesis its core area has been selected including those lands over which the question of apporestation of farm development was most acute. Excluded from consideration are those areas north of a line from Te Mahoe skirting south and west of Te Teko to and along the thirty ninth parallel as well as those arears east of a line from Te Mahoe along the Rangitaiki River skirting the eastern edge of the Galatea settlement and thence down the Wheao and Waipunga rivers to the southern boundary of the Auckland land District.