The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]
Department Of Industries & Commerce
Department Of Industries & Commerce.
With a view of assisting the industries of the Colony, this department was instituted in 1894. It was believed that a very large export trade in timber was possible, and likely to be profitable between New Zealand and the Mother Country, more particularly for woods suitable for street-paving, carriage-building, furniture-making, etc. Seeing that Great Britain imports timber to the value of eighteen millions sterling annually, it was believed that New Zealand timbers would, if better known, find a market there. An expert was therefore set to London to push the trade there, and a few trial shipments—of kauri from Auckland, and white pine, rimu, and birch from the West Coast—were despatched. These shipments, it is hoped, will give such returns as will establish a regular trade. The difficulties and cost of transit from our forests to a port of shipment are the chief obstacles in the way. In other directions, endeavours are being made to open up markets in Canada, China, Japan, and other Eastern ports for various products which can be exchanged profitably with them, such as wool, butter, cheese, preserved fruits, etc.page 131
The department is as yet in its infancy, and its annual cost is £925.
The Hon. J. G. Ward is the Minister in charge.
Mr. Amelius Morland Smith, Officer-in-Charge of the department of Industries and Commerce, was born in London, and educated at King's School, Sherborne, in Dorsetshire. After leaving school he chose the army as a profession, purchasing a commission in the 18th Hussars. This he held for about three years, and then decided to come out to the colonies, embarking on board the good ship “Bombay,” in 1866, for Lyttelton. At this time Sir George Grey was Governor of New Zealand, and Mr. Smith accepted an appointment as assistant private secretary on the governor's staff. He remained in this position until the termination of Sir George Grey's governorship, and was subsequently with Sir George Bowen as assistant secretary and extra A.D.C. At this time Sir Julius Vogel was in power, and offered Mr. Smith an appointment in the Colonial Secretary's office, which was accepted, and he has been in connection with the general government departments in various capacities ever since. Mr. Smith was lieutenant in the first body of artillery formed in Wellington. While in the 18th Hussars, he resided in India. Mr. Smith was married in 1877 to the eldest daughter of Mr. Henry Howorth, of Dunedin, and has one son (now being educated at St. Patrick's College), and one daughter.