Page:Picturesque New Zealand, 1913.djvu/374

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PICTURESQUE NEW ZEALAND

missionaries; and here raged the first war between Maori and white.

Here, also, where whalers were the first white settlers, civilization in New Zealand had its beginning; yet much of North Auckland still comprises "back blocks." While fertile and spacious districts of the south were developed and grew rich, the sparse white population of the neglected north was left to cry for roads and railways. Even yet North Auckland has relatively few miles of railways.

The longest stretch of railroad it possesses is the Helensville Branch, terminating about seventy-five miles from Auckland. The tourist does not usually go farther on this line than Helensville, a health resort on the Kaipara Harbor, thirty-eight miles from Auckland. There are hot mineral springs here, and through this port passes traffic bound for Wairoa River points.

At this town, en route to the Wairoa River, I boarded a small steamer on the muddy Kaipara River, a tidal stream wriggling into Kaipara Harbor and washing the slimy roots of mangrove trees.

The Wairoa—which also flows into Kaipara Harbor—is the most important river in North Auckland. On its murky waters I saw borne the commerce of many sawmill towns and settlements built along its banks. In its lower ports large steamships and a number of sailing vessels were receiving cargoes of timber, and in midstream tugs with log rafts in tow were constantly plying. In the slimy, slippery mud banks exposed by the reced-