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  • 27 March 2017

Farming on the Hauraki Plains

The Hauraki Plains have been hugely altered from their natural state. What is today a grid of farms and straight roads was once a flood plain of bog, swamp, Kahikatea forest and overflowing rivers. This transformation is the work of a vast network of canals, drains, stopbanks, floodgates and pumping stations.

The unique history of our area began wiht the settlement of returned soldies from the first and second world wars in the 1900s. The main mode of transport was via steamboats that docked along the wharves of the Piako River and ferried all the settlers and equipment to develop the Hauraki Plains into one of New Zealand's richest dairy farming regions.  

In 1908 the Land Drainage Act provided for extensive land drainage work to be undertaken on the Hauraki Plains. In 1910, 6,600 hectares was made available in Hauraki for settlement with the land ballot at Ngatea in May 1910 the first of the Plains and the most important port on the Piako River, which was bridged at the town. By 1930 around 17,400 hectares of Crown land had been opened up for farming. 

The rich fertile Hauraki Plains were created following extensive drainage of the peat swamp lands. Today, over 1,000 kilometres of drains and canals, together with many kilometres of stopbanks and floodgates protect 64,700 hectares of farmland.

Dairy farming is an important sector in the farming industry for Hauraki and has traditionally been the principle type of agriculture within the region due to the flat land and rich soil of the Hauraki Plains combined with a mild climate and moderate rainfall.