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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 1 (April 1, 1937)

This Fortunate Land

This Fortunate Land.

New Zealanders should thank their gods daily, after reading the cable news, for the happy fortune of life in such a land as this. We are blessed in beauty of landscape, in soil and climate and water and wood; we are blessed in the mighty protective arm that blue ocean has placed around us, and in the distance and comparative isolation that once was counted a disadvantage. The horrors of modern warfare that surpass in ghastly massacre all the wars of earlier times cannot touch us here. We are spared climatic terrors' that afflict Continental lands such as America and the heart of Australia; we have no “dust bowl,” and no nightmare of drowned cities; no areas depopulated by offended Nature's punishment for the mistreatment of her land.

Our visitors from overseas express delight at the vivid green and the luxuriant grass and the glory of trees that New Zealand shows. Some of them have remarked on the excellence and the cheapness of the food they were served. The freshness of everything, the freedom, the healthiness of the New Zealand life, the inviting character of the country for home-seekers, is the theme of many.

We are only too well aware, of course, that everything in this New Zealand garden is not lovely. Many parts of the land are already suffering seriously from the greed and the ignorance of those who deforested the country and who are still wiping out the forests that should be kept inviolate. If grass grows luxuriantly so do all kinds of noxious weeds. I have seen hundreds of farms when travelling through the richest parts of the country as well as some of the wildest, this summer, and I am inclined to agree, after those days on and around the dairy farms and sheep stations with a man who suggested to me that ragwort is New Zealand's national flower. As for health, our hospitals are overcrowded, and epidemics baffle the doctors. There are people who complain that everything is too dear, and that it is difficult to make farming pay.