Seventy Mile Bush

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The Mangatainoko River, Seventy Mile Bush, N.Z.
Five Mile Avenue, Forty Mile Bush, Eketahuna circa 1875

The Seventy Mile Bush was a heavily forested area of New Zealand extending from Wairarapa to Central Hawkes Bay and out to that coast. It was cleared and settled by Scandinavians, assisted immigrants in the 1870s. On arrival they walked from the surrounding coastal settlements (Wellington, Foxton and Napier) to cut down the forest and clear the land for farming.[1] The land was not as described to them. Without funds for a return passage they were obliged to remain.[2]

The area encompasses what are now the towns of Norsewood, Dannevirke, Pahiatua and Eketahuna in the Tararua District and reached right into Hawkes Bay to the outskirts of Takapau and Maraekakaho. Its eastern boundary stretched almost due north-south from just south of Cape Turnagain on the coast to about 40 kilometres due west of Hastings.[3]

Forty Mile Bush

The Forty Mile Bush was the southern part of the Seventy Mile Bush. It extended from Kopuaranga near Masterton to Woodville


A remnant was saved in 1888, the Mount Bruce Forest Reserve, now the site of the Mount Bruce Wildlife Centre.


  1. ^ "Seventy Mile Bush". Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 2009-12-13. Scandinavians attacked this massive forest from north and south. They walked from Napier and Wellington to the Scandinavian settlements, which they themselves had to create. Their routes are marked in red on the map. The clop-clop of axes and swishing of saws soon carried through the trees, and small grass clearings began to appear in the sea of forest. 
  2. ^ C J Carle, Forty mile Bush, a tribute to pioneers, North Wairarapa News Co, 1980
  3. ^ Southern Hawke's Bay, summer 1885–86 Rollo Arnold, New Zealand’s Burning — The Settlers’ World in the Mid 1880s Victoria University Press, 1994, Wellington

Coordinates: 40°26′53″S 176°01′23″E / 40.448°S 176.023°E / -40.448; 176.023