The geography of small rural farmlets : a case study of the Hawkes Bay rural 'B' zone : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment for the degree of Master in Arts in Geography at Massey University

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Massey University
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A major problem confronting geographers and town planners today, is the outward expansion of urban areas onto good agricultural land. One factor emerging from the impact of urban expansion on rural land, is the development of a number of small size farmlets on the rural/urban interface. Most of the available literature on this topic is American and is based to some extent on von Thunen 'rings' of land-use around an urban area. This study is based in the Hawkes Bay Rural 'B' Zone - an area surrounding the expanding urban centres of Napier and Hastings and refers to small rural farmlets between 0.8 and 10.0 hectares in area. It was found that 1984 small rural farmlets exist on the 34 400 hectare study area. From this a 20 percent random sample amounting to 392 farmlets was made and a questionnaire relating to the geography of these farmlets drawn up and sent to the sample. The study looked at the social geography of the farmlets, their occupiers, as well as at land-use activities and patterns. It was found that the smaller size properties were located nearer to the urban areas than their larger counter-parts and that the majority of farmlets are located around the periphery of the urban areas. Analysis showed that those living on the farmlets enjoy the same day-to-day services and facilities of their urban counterparts but also enjoy the benefits associated with living in a rural environment even though they do incur higher transport costs than those living in urban areas. Only 20 per cent of those living on their farmlets earned their living working their farmlets full-time. The majority of the others had occupations unrelated to their farmlets, in the urban centres and were classified as part-time farmers. Even so, it was noted that a wide variety of land-uses was undertaken on the farmlets. A table of intensity of land use was drawn up. From this it was found that although the intensity of use was greater than other areas studied in New Zealand, (Manawatu - Chiu, 1975 and Taupo - Crawford, 1977) there was still a reduction in intensity for the rural 'B' zone. Intensity of use was found to be related to the size of farmlet and the occupation of the farmlet owner. From this a pattern of land-use was noted. Finally it was concluded that a new phenomenon in land ownership in the Hawkes Bay is occuring; one of 'rural-urbanization'.
New Zealand -- Hawke's Bay, Farms, Small, Land use, Rural