When is a road a “line”? The curious case of Kairanga County

In keeping with the roading theme [see the last post], I have just finished reading The Line of the Road by M.H. Holcroft, a history of the Manawatu County from 1876 to 1976, published in 1977.

The book was published to commemorate 100 years of the Manawatu County Council (as it was at the time). One of the themes which is reflected strongly both in the book and its title, is the importance of roads and roading (and bridges) in the development of the fledgling county – they were critical to the linking of communities, the distribution of goods, food and building and construction materials, and to get people to schools, hospitals and other facilities (where they existed). Continue reading

Map of “Middle Island” 1840

I came across this map in Mick Strack’s essay “Bounding the Land: Cadastral framework on the Taieri” in the recently published “Making Our Place”, and it intrigued me.

It is a map of the South Island, sketched by Edmund Halswell around 1841 from an unidentified Ngai Tahu source. The map shows the South Island so elongated and distorted in shape, that is almost unrecognisable. But is precisely this cartographic inaccuracy which reveals valuable information about how Maori interacted and viewed the land before European colonisation. Continue reading