New Zealand Journal of Forestry (1970) 15(2): 189–195
©New Zealand Institute of Forestry
The Tararuas - a Dual-purpose North Island Forest
Tararua Forest covers some 300,000 acres of steep mountainous country in southern North Island and is mainly State Forest (258,000 acres) including 23,000 acres vested in Wellington City Council.
The forest is predominantly red and silver beech with rimu/ miro in association at lower altitudes.
The severe storm of 1936, which devastated several thousand acres on the western side of the range, inadvertently demonstrated that the forest plays a most effective protective role in relation to capital values of the order of 700 million dollars downstream, and vital communications.
Nearly half a million people live around the forest, which is extensively tracked and provided with 42 huts to facilitate outdoor recreation.
One road end, recently developed as a picnic site, has attracted up to 16,000 visitors in a year, indicating that there is a tremendous latent demand for this type of recreation.
It is concluded that Tararua Forest plays a most important dual role in southern North Island. Upper catchment protection is without question the most important role in view of the vulnerability and high values off site, but the need for recreation and outdoor education of a large, rapidly growing population is such that maintenance of the forest could be justified for this reason on its own.