The Starborough estate
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
The purpose of any geographic study is basically, the description of a set of geographic circumstances. Mere description, however, is not enough, it is just as fundamental to explain how and why a particular set of circumstances evolved. In this thesis on the Starborough Estate, therefore, I have attempted to trace the various which caused and influenced that development, to describe the present land utilization pattern and to suggest possible future trends. The interest inherent in the topic lies in the fact that within a comparatively small area there are such marked geographic contrasts and the fact that the story of the development of farming on the estate is, to all intents and purposes, the story of New Zealand farming. The thesis is divided into three sections. The first deals with the geographic environment – the background of climate, soil, topography and vegetation on which human occupance has carved a constantly changing pattern. The second section traces the geographic development of the estate area and the changes in the cultural landscape from the time of first white settlement in 1846 to the present day. Most of the information for this part of the thesis was obtained in personal interviews with old residents of the district and particularly from Mr. J. B. Dick whose association with Starborough dates back to the years before the subdivision in 1899, and from Mrs. A. Fleming whose experiences as the first schoolmistress in the district throw considerable light on conditions prevailing from time to time. The third section, consists of a land utilization survey. All the field work associated with the preparation of the land utilization map was carried out in 1948, a year in which farming conditions had returned to some degree of normality and the pattern of land use can be considered typical of the present stage of development. As an appendix I have included studies of four individual farms which should assist in demonstrating contrasts in land utilization which, in turn, reflect differences in the geographic environment.