LIFEBLOOD OF H.B. PROVINCE
THE EXPANSION of Napier in the past century reflects the degree of development of the land throughout the province of Hawke’s Bay and, to an increasing extent in recent years, the growth of secondary industry in the City.
Primary production has been the lifeblood of the whole province, and scientific progress in farming, together with more intensive cultivation, has led to ever-increasing prosperity of the province as a whole. The large freezing works between Napier and Hastings and the wool stores at Port Ahuriri, creating an occupation for extensive labour forces, provide a practical demonstration of the complementary functions of urban and rural communities, while returns from the wool sales held regularly in Napier – the boom in prices has carried the gross Hawke’s Bay wool cheque well into the millions of pounds a season – show just how important successful agricultural operations are to the economy of the province.
Contribute to Wealth
While sheep farming is the most important single phase of primary industry in Hawke’s Bay, several forms of land usage contribute substantially to the wealth of the province. Pip and stone fruit crops amounting to millions of cases are produced in the picturesque orchards on the fertile Heretaunga Plains, a wide variety of vegetables is produced in the market gar dens on the plains, vineyards are establishing an enviable reputation for the bouquet of Hawke’s Bay wines, apiaries are producing honey that is highly regarded for its quality, and in suitable locales dairy farms are adding to the Dominion’s production of butter and cheese.
4,300,000 Sheep Grazing
Statistics graphically illustrate the expansion of farming in Hawke’s Bay. Returns made in 1854 show that on something more than 200,000 acres being grazed on the Hapuku and Ahuriri blocks there were running 18,750 sheep and 216 cattle.
The latest returns available show that in 1946- 47 2,778,000 acres of the 2,799,500 acres of land in Hawke’s Bay was occupied. The area occupied was utilised as follows: – Tussock and other native grasses, 399,000 acres; native bush, 97,000; fern, scrub, and second growth, 257,000; barren and unproductive, 38,000; grasses, clover and lucerne, 1,911,000; green fodder and root crops, 44,000; grain and pulse crops, 9000; timber and shelter plantations, 11,000; orchards and market gardens, 5000; private gardens and nurseries, 5000; fallow, 2000.
In the 1946-47 season there were 4,300,000 sheep (more than one-eighth of the total in the Dominion) grazing in Hawke’s Bay, as well as 381,000 cattle, of which 49,000 were dairy cows in milk.
PORT AHURIRI (with wool stores) AND WESTSHORE