Friday, September 28, 2018

NEW  ZEALAND 
 SLUICING FOR GOLD AT DILLMAN’S TOWN, KUMARA
BRUNNER BRIDGE COAL MINING

THIS BLOG IS A WORK IN PROGRESS

Late 19th Century photographs from the albums of George Bullough, 
 collected during his three-year long world tour 1892-1895.

B L O G   7 7   *   ALBUM XII 

*<>*<>*<>*<>* Time of visit to New Zealand November 1894. *<>*<>*<>*<>*

SLUICING AT DILLMAN’S TOWN, KUMARA, NEW ZEALAND No. 179 JR
Album XII  *  Image 21  *  Size 8 x 5¼ inches by James Ring.  


Located on the west coast of New Zealand’s South Island, nineteen miles south of Greymouth, the town of Kumara was founded in 1876.
The following year it became a borough and centre of the countries
gold mining industry following discovery of the precious metal
at Dillmanstown, two miles to the south-east.
Within twelve months the population swelled to over 4,200,
the town eventually boasting fifty public houses, its own hospital
and fire brigade. Today the population is less than three-hundred
and all the pubs have gone.

From 1879 British born Richard John Seddon, nicknamed 
“King Dick”, was liberal member of the New Zealand House of Representatives for the 
constituency of Hokitika, which included Kumara and Dillmanstown.
He was elected the countries fifteenth Prime Minister in 1893 a position he held until his death 
 in 1906 while still in office, twelve days short of his sixty-fifth birthday.

Kumara lies slightly inland half-way between Greymouth and Hokitika
on the west coast of South Island, on the scenic Southern Alpine
route 140 miles from Christchurch via Arthur’s Pass.
The town was named by surveyor Arthur Dobson in 1863.

SLUICING AT DILLMAN’S TOWN, KUMARA, NEW ZEALAND No. 179 JR
Album XII  *  Image 21  *  Detail from full size 8 x 5¼ inches by James Ring.  

In 1875 coarse gold was found in glacial gravels of the Taramakau River two
 miles east of Kumara triggering the gold rush of July 1876 when 3,000 prospectors
descended on the area which became known as Dillmanstown.
The gold was intermingled with large rocks and gravel, called overburden, eighty feet thick.
The easiest way of recovering the precious metal was by hydraulic sluicing.
For the next twenty years steam driven high pressure jets of water sluiced away
tons of gold bearing alluvial mud, sand and gravel to be screened and sorted,
in the process 500,000 ounces of gold were recovered.

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THE COAL MINES OF BRUNNERTON  -  THE OLDEST IN NEW ZEALAND

In July 1847 while exploring the Grey River upstream of Greymouth by canoe,
twenty-six year old surveyor and explorer Thomas Brunner discovered deposits of coal.

Brunner was born in the English university town of Oxford in 
April 1821, where he studied architecture and surveying. 
In 1841 he joined the fledgling New Zealand Company, 
a British company at the forefront of colonising the country 
first sighted by Abel Tasman two hundred years earlier 
and first visited by Captain James Cook in 1769.

Based at Nelson, Tasman Bay, Brunner oversaw the laying of roads and surveyed South Island's interior for its potential to supply the food and material needs of a growing colony. 
In 1846, accompanied by Charles Heaphy, a draughtsman, 
also in the employ of the New Zealand Company, and a Mãori named Kehu - a man described as “an instinctive navigator, 
a Mãori guide extraordinaire”, Brunner embarked on an extensive exploration of the 
west coast of South Island and the Grey River.
The small group was away for five hundred and fifty days during which they not only discovered 
the  Brunnerton coal outcrop but surveyed sites for the soon to be towns of Greymouth and Westport.
 Brunner was appointed Government Surveyor in 1851. 
He retired in 1869 and died on the 22nd of April 1874 aged fifty-three.

BRUNNERTON BRIDGE, NEW ZEALAND. No. 276 JR.
Album XII  *  Image 26  *  Size 8 x 5½ inches by James Ring. 
View downstream towards Greymouth about eight miles. The south bank left.


Crossing the Grey River, so named by Thomas Brunner after the prominent 19th century politician
 and 11th Premier of New Zealand Sir George Grey, K.C.B., the Brunner suspension bridge was 
built in 1876 to connect the Tyneside Coal Mine on the southern bank
with Brunner mine, opened in 1864, on the northern bank. 


EATONN RAILWAY HOTEL (left)  TYNESIDE COLLIERY WORKINGS
BRUNNERTON BRIDGE, NEW ZEALAND. No. 276 JR.
Album XII  *  Image 26  *  Detail from full size 8 x 5½ inches by James Ring. 
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The first record of coal being taken from the site
is found in Thomas Brunner’s diary entry of
26 January 1848. Small quantities of coal were
mined from the late 1850’s until 1864 when
Matthew Batty began commercial mining,
transporting the coal eight miles downstream to
Greymouth utilising canoes and a 39 foot long
barge capable of carrying a maximum of six tons.

From 1866 to 1868 Henry Lucas and
Charles Taylor, principals of the Nelson
Coalmining Company, worked the mine
transporting the coal in their fleet of six boats.
It was in this period screens with chutes were built
to expedite faster barge loading.
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The Tyneside Colliery, directly behind the
railway sidings, was opened in 1873.
Its ten foot diameter 98 foot deep winding-shaft
was suitable for two single-decked winding cages.
The twenty-three feet thick coal seam, slightly
over four miles (north-south) by one mile (east-west),
was estimated to contain reserves of sixty million tons.
Coal mining commenced at Brunnerton in 1864. 
Mined by Matthew Batty, the first forty tons were sent by barge to Greymouth, a distance
 of eight miles, and then shipped to Nelson by Reuben Waite a Greymouth storekeeper.
The barges were returned to the mine by being hauled upstream by teams of horses,  a process which was both slow and cumbersome. 
In addition the mouth of the river was dangerous to shipping, an unsatisfactory transport combination for commercial coal production 
which lasted until 1876 when the rail line from Greymouth to the coalfield was laid. This vital link was extended to Reefton four years later, to Otira in 1900, Christchurch in 1923 and Westport in 1942. 

Neil Bernard, Butcher; 
J. Taylor, Grocer, Draper, Haberdasher; P. McFarland, Store and Bakery.

Brunner Bridge Coal Mine Rail Siding, Grey Valley.

Detail from Image 27 Album XII by James Ring.


On Thursday the 26th of March 1896 
disaster struck Brunnerton Mine. 

On Thursday the 26th of March 1896 at 9.25 a.m. disaster struck Brunnerton Mine.
A sound like artillery fire was heard followed by smoke billowing from the pithead.
The explosion, which occurred sump side of the dip-working deep inside the mine, caused
the death of sixty-five miners - men and boys, almost half the underground workforce;
its force leaving the “railway line and trucks twisted and smashed.”
Surface buildings at the entrance were undamaged.
At the time of the accident the mine was under the administrative control of
Mr. James Bishop, M.I.M.E., a qualified and certified coal-mine manager with
twenty-five years of experience, thirteen years of which being at Brunnerton Mine.
Immediately a crowd gathered. Mr. Bishop, accompanied by an underground engineer, 
descended into the mine to investigate. 
When they failed to return miners from other shifts followed and found them unconscious. 
As rescuers moved further into the diggings a number were also overcome by fumes. 
As the unconscious rescuers were brought to the surface hope rose as they were mistaken
 for the rescued only to be dashed as the enormity of the tragedy became apparent. 
Meanwhile help was arriving as news of the disaster spread.   

The subsequent commission of inquiry found no blame could be attached to management of the mine, the explosion being the result of human error. It concluded a charge had been placed the wrong way round in a part of the mine where no one should have been working.

Alongside the railway sidings the Tyneside Colliery was opened in 1873. Its ten foot diameter

98 foot deep winding-shaft was suitable for two single-decked winding cages.

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The original twenty-one year lease for Brunner Mine situated on the north side of the Grey River where it flows through a confined rocky gorge was granted on the 1st of January 1874 and encompassed an area of 1,280 acres, the mine itself extending to about 230 acres.

Martin Kennedy aged 72 in 1912
Alexander Turnbull Library
The lease was twice transferred, in 1875 and 1879 before being surrendered in December 1886 by 
Mr. Martin Kennedy* 
the holder at the time who in January 1887 obtained a new 
lease for a term of sixty-three years. 
In 1888 Mr. Kennedy transferred his lease to the Grey Valley 
Coal Company who surrendered it in December 1894 for a 
new lease under the conditions of “The Coal-mines Act, 1891.” 
With the consent of the Minister, this lease was transferred on 
the 19th of October 1895 by deed of assignment to the 
Greymouth-Point Elizabeth Railway and Coal Company (Limited), 
this company being the responsible owner of the mine 
at the date of the accident.

The Disaster Inquiry revealed in June 1874 Martin Kennedy 
had "acquired a considerable share in the coal mines at Brunnerton" and from that date was 
proprietor of Brunnerton Mine up to 1888 when the lease was transferred to the 
Grey Valley Coal Company of which Mr. Kennedy was a fourth partner in the whole since amalgamation with the West Point Company. 
The Westport Company holding being two-fourths, Mr. Kennedy one-fourth and the 
Union Steamship Company one-fourth; the name of the company being the Grey Valley 
Coal Company (Limited) of which Mr. Kennedy was the managing director.

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* Lured by the discovery of gold twenty year old Martin Kennedy his brother,
sons of a farmer in Tipperary, Eire, arrived in Australia in January 1860.
On the 20th of May 1861 thirty-seven year old Tasmanian  prospector Gabriel Read
struck gold close to the surface by the Tuapeka River, Otago, New Zealand,
triggering the 1861 Gold Rush, the site becoming known as Gabriel’s Gully.
It was not long before the Kennedys heard of the “rich discoveries in Otago”
and after twelve months actively prospecting with little result in Victoria, Australia,
they decided to cross the Tasman Sea and set up business as merchants in Queenstown.
Following more promising discoveries of gold by the Taramakau River along the
West Coast in 1864 Martin Kennedy moved to Greymouth where for the next
twenty years he was a successful merchant becoming a leading figure in the business community. 
In 1874 he acquired “a considerable share in the coal mines at Brunnerton”.
By 1880 his mining interests necessitated giving up his mercantile business in order

to devote himself entirely to them as a coal-mine proprietor. In 1888 he amalgamated his colliery with Westport Company’s interests a Brunnerton, forming the Grey Valley Coal Company.
Mr. Kennedy owned a sheep run in Wairarapa, was a director of several companies and managing director of the parent company of brewers Staples & Co., at Thorndonas 
as well as being a director of the Bank of New Zealand. 
In 1876 he was returned as member for the Grey Electorate District of the House of Representstives.
Martin Kennedy, K.S.G., died in Wellington on the 25th of August 1916.



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Saturday, September 8, 2018

NEW  ZEALAND  *  ARTHUR’S  PASS
Mount Barron - Otira Gorge - Skippers Road - Taipo River 
Jacksons Accommodation House

Late 19th Century photographs from the albums of  George Bullough, 
 collected during  his  three-year long world tour 1892-1895.

B L O G   7 6   *   ALBUM XII 

*<>*<>*<>*<>* Time of visit to New Zealand November 1894. *<>*<>*<>*<>*



Researched and written by George W. Randall
and illustrated with selected photographs from his archived copies of
the late 19th century photographs collected by George Bullough,
(b.1870 - d.1939, later Sir George, Baronet of the island of Rum, Scotland),
during his three year-long world tour 1892-1895 in the library at
his Highland home, Kinloch Castle, Scotland.

The twenty albums contain around seven hundred images of  the places visited
in the closing decades of the nineteenth century.
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Recollections of the first half of the 
three-year-long world tour of
George Bullough and his travelling companion Robert Mitchell were published 
in a series of twenty-eight articles by Mitchell in the
Lancashire regional newspaper The Accrington Gazette in 1896.
These I transcribed and illustrated with photographs collected during the tour.

Regrettably the twenty-eight Gazette reports, only covered the early part of the tour, 
photographs of which appear in the first ten albums.

My Blog now continues with a selection of photographs from the remaining 
 albums in my Archive accompanied by thoroughly researched explanatory text.


Blog 72:   Hobart, Dunedin and Taiaroa Head Royal Albatross Colony.

Blog 73:   Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu and Lyttleton – the Sea Port of Christchurch.

Blog 74:   Christchurch Cathedral and City.

Blog 75:   Glenmark House and Sheep Run, Springfield Stagecoach, Porter’s Pass.

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BLOG 76  -  ARTHUR’S  PASS
ALBUM XII  -  NEW ZEALAND  
DIVIDING PEG ARTHUR'S PASS 3,900 FEET ABOVE SEA LEVEL   No. 507 JR. 
Album XII  *  Image 8  *  Detail from full size 8 x 5½ inches
Original photograph by James Ring, Greymouth.


A modern map depicting the route from Christchurch via Springfield, Castle Hill, 
Bealey and Arthur's Pass to Greymouth.

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Arthur’s Pass is named after Arthur Dudley Dobson who arrived at Lyttleton in 1850 with his father, Edward, and elder brother, George,
with the First Fleet on board the 720 ton barque Cressy.
With the railway boom in Britain coming to an end thirty-four year 
old Edward Dobson decided to emigrate with his family to 
New Zealand with the first colonists.
An engineer and surveyor by profession from, 1854-1868 
Edward  held the post of Provincial Engineer for Canterbury Province responsible for a number of projects in particular the routing and construction of the country’s first railways and the 2,800 yard long Lyttleton Rail Tunnel, which commenced in July 1861, and for which  twenty year old Arthur was responsible for preparing the all-important sectional drawings to the proposed plans of George Robert Stephenson.
Etching by T. Allom from the original drawing by Miss Mary Townsend (1822-1869)
 depicting the 155 passengers disembarking the newly arrived
sailing barque Cressy at Victoria Harbour, Port Lyttleton on the 27th of December 1850.
The passengers went to the Immigration Barracks close to the home of Mr. Robert Godley,
leader of the Canterbury Pilgrims and founder of the Province of Canterbury.

The work was published in London by John W. Parker and Son, West, Strand, 1851.
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Arthur and his brother George were nine and ten years old respectively when they arrived
in New Zealand. Their mother, Mary Anne (née Lough) with the couples remaining son,

four year old Edward Henry and three daughters; seven year old Mary Ann, six year old Carolyn, and Marie Elizabeth aged three, arrived at Lyttleton on-board the 520 ton sailing barque Fatima the 
27th  of December 1851. Four further children were born in New Zealand.
The area of the West Coast of South Island between Grey River at Greymouth and
Abut Head inland to the Great Divide explored by Arthur Dobson in 1863.


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Arthur and George were initially educated with their uncle, the Reverend Charles Dobson 
in Tasmania. On returning to Lyttleton c.1853, Arthur now aged twelve, was taught by
Reverend George Cotterill before attending prestigious Christ’s College Christchurch,
following which Arthur was apprenticed to his father.

One of his first jobs was helping his father measure the depth of the sediment in Lyttleton Harbour which served as the port for Christchurch. Next they surveyed wetland around Rangiora, eighteen miles north of Christchurch leading to the reclamation of 20,000 acres of former swamp.

                                                                                                  Greg O'Beirne
Arthur Dudley Dobson Memorial, Otira Gorge, New Zealand.

Arthur Dobson spent many weeks surveying North Canterbury eventually arriving at Lake Sumner, sixty-two miles north-west of Christchurch, and the Hurunui River which flows into Lake Sumner. For two years from December 1860 Dobson accompanied German geologist Sir Julius von Haast on a number of geological surveys which included several mountains and glaciers of the Southern Alps and the Rubicon and Kowai Rivers from their emergence in the Torlesse Range east of Springfield to joining the upper reaches of the Waimakarri River.

The west coast of South Island remained mostly unexplored until, in 1863, Arthur Dobson undertook a seven month survey of an area extending from Greymouth’s Grey River to the forested Abut Head and inland to the Main Divide. At the same time brother Edward cleared a rough track over Harper Pass. Their findings were reported to Yorkshire, England born Thomas Cass, one of New Zealand’s pioneer surveyors. In 1864 Cass commissioned Arthur Dobson, assisted by his brother, to seek a passage from Waimakariri watershed on the east coast through the Southern Alps to the West Coast. While George Dobson surveyed for a possible road route, Arthur and Edward explored the higher elevations, where, on the advice of the West Coast Māori chief Tarapuhi, they came upon a steep track through a valley used by the Māori to trade pounamu, a hard, durable mineral used for items such as fishhooks. 

Dobson’s report, with sketches of the the as yet unnamed pass nine miles north of today’s town of Otira, was presented to Thomas Cass.

SUMMIT OF ARTHUR'S PASS    No. 508 JR. 
Album XII    *    Image 9    *    Size 8 x 5½ inches
Original photograph by James Ring, Greymouth.
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In 1864 gold was discovered near the Taramakau River, fifty miles due east of the west- 
coast town of Hokitika by two Māori brothers triggering the West Coast Gold Rush 
1865-1866. Edward Dobson was commissioned to examine all possible routes through the 
mountains to the gold fields and soon reported the track through the still unnamed 
pass north of Otira found by his brother  to be “by far the most suitable.” 
The provincial government authorised construction of the 156 mile road between 
Christchurch and Hokitika, the unnamed alpine pass becoming 
known as Arthur’s Pass. Using axes, picks, shovels, rock drills and explosives the road 
through the passes rugged terrain was constructed in less than a year despite repeated 
heavy snowfall and bitter cold winter of 1865.
In 1929 the area was designated Arthur’s Pass National Park, the first in South Island 
and third in New Zealand.

From 1869-1878 Arthur Dobson was District Engineer for the Nelson-Westport Goldfields
 and City Engineer for Christchurch from 1901 to 1921.

He was knighted in 1931 and died on the 5th of March 1934 aged ninety-two.

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MOUNT BARRON   *   OTIRA GORGE, 
SOUTH ISLAND, NEW ZEALAND

MOUNT BARRON (6,000 feet) OTIRA GORGE, NEW ZEALAND.  522 JR.
Album XII  *  Image 10  *  Size  8 x 5½ inches.

The coach-road bears right as it dips sharply into the valley bottom.
Forty-seven miles in length, this section of the foaming Shotover river surges over 
huge obstructing boulders as it descends the deep ravine of Otira Gorge its sides 
covered with gnarled, storm twisted forest overlooked by Mount Barron. 
Heavy rainfall and flooded rivers are a feature of this alpine region of South Island;
together with winter snow these awe-inspiring forces of nature have created some
 of the country’s most breathtaking scenery.
MOUNT BARRON (6,000 feet) OTIRA GORGE, NEW ZEALAND.  522 JR. (James Ring)
Album XII  *  Image 10  *  Detail from full size 8 x 5½ inches.


I wonder who this lady and daughter were?

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                                                                 Early New Zealand Photographers and Their Successors

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STARVATION POINT, OTIRA GORGE, NEW ZEALAND.  523 JR.
Album XII  *  Image 11  *  Size  8 x 5½ inches.
This stretch of the Christchurch to Hokitika road through Otira Gorge is known
 as Starvation Point. Here stagecoaches would halt to collect fares. 
Those who could not pay were left behind at this bleak and windswept stop on the 
West Coast route. Stagecoaches, as the name implies, ran in stages. 
Depending on the terrain a stage varied between ten and fifteen miles and dictated 
the number of horses, usually four, but five or six might be required 
in varying configurations.

From: Early New Zealand Photographers and Their Successors *  Hardy and Billing

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THE BLUFF SKIPPERS ROAD NEW ZEALAND
Album XII  *  Image 15  *  Size 8 x 5½ inches  *  No. 282 Morris (John Richard Morris)


The Bluff is located in Skippers Canyon an historic and scenic gorge almost fourteen miles 
in length north of Queenstown. Skippers Road is narrow and steep as it skirts the rock face 
with a dilapidated dry-stone wall to protect travellers from a sheer drop of 
several hundred feet to the raging Shotover River below.
Today strategically placed signs warn of rock falls, road closure in winter, 
unsuitability for caravans and trailers and the fact some vehicles, particularly rented vehicles, 
may not be insured once they pass that point, 
adding, there being no point to turn around for the next four miles.


THE BLUFF SKIPPERS ROAD NEW ZEALAND
Album XII  *  Image 15  *  Size 8 x 5½ inches  *  No. 282 Morris


Not a place for the horses to panic or suddenly bolt due to a rock fall.



TWO MORE IMAGES OF STAGECOACHES TRAVERSING OTIRA GORGE 
by James Ring


From:  Early New Zealand Photographers and Their Successors



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SKIPPERS ROAD SHOWING THE OLD PACK TRACK

Album XII  *  Image 16  *  Size 8 x 5½ inches  *  No. 284 Morris

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One of the richest gold-bearing rivers in the world, the Shotover River was originally named 
the Tummel by Donald Cameron and Angus Macdonald, two early Scottish pioneers 
who traversed the area in the early 1860's. It was named the Overshot by 
gold-miners who flocked to the gorge in 1862, but it was explorer and surveyor 
Gilbert William Rees, founder of Queenstown, who finally called the
forty-seven mile waterway the Shotover


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JACKSONS CHRISTCHURCH ROAD NEW ZEALAND
Album XII  *  Image 20  *  Detail from full size 8 x 5 inches  *  Hino Photo No. 564


The Accommodation House was bought in 1870 by brothers Michael and Adam Jackson following their time prospecting on the Otago Goldfields during the Gold Rush of 1865.
 Located alongside Christchurch Road the hotel was an important stop-over for stagecoaches along the track to Hokitika on the west coast, a three-day journey.
However, the area was notorious for floods and in a flash-flood in 1871 the building was
 swept away. Rebuilt by the Jacksons and renamed Jackson’s Perry Range Hotel, 
it also served as the regions post office.
The Journal of the New Zealand House of Representatives for 1884/1885
records the hotel manager as John Evans.


JACKSONS CHRISTCHURCH ROAD NEW ZEALAND
Album XII  *  Image 20  *  Detail from full size 8 x 5 inches  *  Hino Photo No. 564

The sign reads: J. JACKSON'S PERRY RANGE HOTEL


Accompanying West Coast New Zealand History text:

 “Jacksons Hotel, another of may photographs taken of this hotel, Jackson’s third hotel in 1879.
It is the replacement of the replacement of the original hotel swept away in the floods of 1872.
Date: Between 1st of January and 31st of December 1872.”

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Otira Gorge Hotel - Photograph taken by James Ring, 1880's.

OTIRA ACCOMMODATION HOUSE
Album XII  *  Image 18  *  Detail from original 8 x 5½ inches by "JR" James Ring. 

OTIRA ACCOMMODATION HOUSE
Album XII  *  Image 18  *  Detail from original 8 x 5½ inches by "JR" James Ring. 

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NEAR THE TAIPO  -  CHRISTCHURCH ROAD. No. 492 JR.
Album XII  *  Image 19  *  Size 8 x 5½ inches  *  No. 492 James Ring


Fed by numerous mountain streams west of 7,451 foot high Mount Rolleston in 
Arthur’s Pass National Park, the sixteen mile long Taipo River runs north for about 
nine miles before turning eastward into the Taramakau River. 
After another twenty-two miles it flows into the Tasman Sea nine miles south of Greymouth.
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