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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 9 (January 1, 1930)


Is the expansion of New Zealand cities to be increasingly outward or increasingly upward? Are we going to plant our people so that they will be forced to go storeys high to reach the free air, or shall we plant them farther apart, with the fresh air blowing freely all round them?

Observe a rimu sapling in the native bush of the Hutt River basin. You will need a fairly sharp eye to do this, because there are very few of them between the seedling and the grown-up. Seedlings are fairly plentiful, but in that intermediate stage which has just been termed sapling (say, between one inch and twelve inches diameter) the rimu hardly exists in this particular bush. One knows of just about one place where six or seven rimus form a little stand of foot-thick trees some 25ft. or 30ft. high. They are mostly slender trunks with a thin crown of foliage, poor-looking. Only a very few have struggled on even thus far in their grim fight with the jungle for a share of the light, for a place in the sun. Possibly the totaras make a better showing in the sapling stage, though there are few enough even of them. In fact, judged by this bush, the regenerative prospect of these too, great timber trees, is poor indeed.

But out in the open the totara grows wide and bushy. Where the farmer spares it, it grows in clumps on the farm; if the sub-divider spares it, it grows on the residential sections; and if the electric linesman is also merciful, it grows in the streets of the suburban boroughs, a spreading, deep green, massive tree.