The Seaports of the South Island of New Zealand : A Comparative Study in Port Geography.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
The study of urban geography has received increasing attention in recent years both in this country and overseas. Its content and method have been recently surveyed, and a considerable amount of research on these lines has been done here in New Zealand. Within this field the geography of ports forms a distinct branch for study since ports themselves are a specialised part of some urban areas. Indeed, over the past few years there has developed an extensive geographical literature dealing with ports. This field, which could be termed 'port geography' has attracted some interest in New Zealand as a subject for research; but in the past, studies of ports have been limited to examinations of individual ports, groups of ports, or one aspect of ports. This present study, however , has been made upon broader lines. It is an attempt to describe, analyse, and compare the most important aspects of the contemporary character of the South Island seaports. It is suggested that the character of a port is derived principally from the nature of its location, site, form or pattern, facilities, trade, hinterland and fishing. Since these are the most important features, they are analysed and described in turn in this thesis. This systematic approach was found necessary in order that significant comparisons and contrasts - which is the essence of geography - might be drawn between the ports. The problem can be expressed in the question: "In what ways do the characters of the South Island seaports differ one from another?" "A port is a place equipped to facilitate the necessary relations between ships as the agencies of sea transport and the land," and provides "terminal facilities and services for ships, and transfer facilities and services for ships, and transfer facilities and services for waterbourne goods and/or passengers." In these general terms there are many places in the South Island of New Zealand which could be considered as ports. However, only those South Island seaports which make returns to the New Zealand Census and Statistics Department have been included in this study; namely , the ports of Waitapu, Motueka, Nelson, Picton, Wairu, Lyttelton, Timaru, Oamaru, Otago, Bluff, Greymouth and Westport. This thesis is based both on fieldwork carried out by the writer during 1953 and the early months of 1954, and on an examination of statistical and other material drawn from a wide variety of sources in Wellington and in South Island centres. All the ports included in the survey were visited in the course of the fieldwork. Section by section land utilisation surveys were made of the port vicinities of the thirteen largest ports from aerial photographs in Head Office, Lands & Survey Department, Wellington, and from actual field investigations. A large number of people were interviewed at the ports and in the towns of their tributary regions. The statistics used in this study have been related as closely as possible to the calendar year 1952 and have been presented in the form of maps, cartograms, and graphs, rather than in a series of tables. The analysis of these diagrams provides the comparative data on which three of the eight chapters are based. Since the majority of the maps have been compiled from numerous sources they have been annotated separately in AppendiX A. All photographs, except those whi ch have been otherwise acknowledged, were taken by the author. All maps and diagrams were also compiled and drawn by the author. A list of the works consulted in the preparation of this thesis are contained in the bibliography.