Hamilton North, Pukete to Maeroa Local Dairies

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The development of Hamilton North can be used to show the negative outcome with regard to access to local dairies following the introduction of Hamilton District Scheme / Plan (DP) in the 1960s. The Maeroa area first became part of Hamilton city in1925, followed by Forest Lake and then Beerescourt, before the introduction of the DP. Saint Andrews development started in the 1960s, followed by the Pukete residential area, which was developed up to the Pukete wastewater treatment plant, becoming fully developed by the end of the 1990s. Map of District Scheme area and Map of Hamilton establishment and development

This is an ongoing survey of local dairies. Note: the area being measured does not include the Te Rapa census areas. It does include the census areas for Pukete West & East, Saint Andrews West & East, Beerescourt, Forest Lake and Maeroa. There are 11 dairies in a total area of 8.06 sq km, and a population of 18,400 people, giving a ratio of 1,672 people per dairy or one dairy per 0.73 sq km (73 ha). Compare this with the 1860s planned neighbourhood of Hamilton East with 7 dairies giving a ratio of 1,314 people per dairy or one dairy per 0.61 km sq (61 ha).

Up to the 1960s ‘if you owned some land you could do what you liked with it. You could build a house, a factory, a shop, and it was nobody’s business but your own’ (article in ‘Town and Country Planning’ March 1962). ‘Dairies offer an independent way to own your own business, and the older dairies were often based on people building a room onto the front of their houses and set up a shop selling a few grocery items, confectionery or other easily handled goods’ (Encyclopaedia of New Zealand – Dairies). The Hamilton district Scheme put an end to the freedom for local shops to be where the shop owner chooses. From the 1960s, the location for local dairies began to planned by qualified professionals with advice from Traffic Engineers (ref 1), and people who also owned supermarkets (ref 2).

The outcome has been a doubling of the number of people and km/sq area per local dairy, which increases the average walking distance for customers and increases motor vehicle dependency. The reality is the 80m2 dairies that Foodstuffs said ‘would not present an economic proposition’ continue to trade, even when they trade alongside each other as the photo from the Maeroa shops shows.

(Ref 1) Hamilton City council – Report on proposed city transportation study Oct 1967 –  Ref s 711 709 931 151 Ham (Confidential at time) – Page 16 – The study should be considered as a training ground in Town Planning, Traffic and Transportation Engineering Highway Engineering and Data Processing … A trained Traffic Engineer is required on the City Engineer’s Staff to ensure that the maximum possible level of traffic service is maintained at any time and to implement the transportation plan. Demand exceeds supply in the case of the Traffic Engineer. Council should accept the fact that it must make available financial training in Traffic Engineering. 

(Ref 2) Hamilton City District Scheme (Section 1 & 2) first review – Report on Commercial areas Dec 1975 – ref s 711 552 209 931 151 Ham – The representative of Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd suggested that an upper gross floor-space limited of 80m2 for a dairy grocery would not present an economic proposition.

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