Illustrated Guide to Christchurch and Neighbourhood
The Industrial Association of Canterbury
The Industrial Association of Canterbury.
This Association, which has now been established over five years, has been one of the most useful yet formed in Christchurch in fostering local industries already planted in the colony, and disseminating information as to others, whereby the natural resources of New Zealand may be developed. The history of the formation and growth of it may be summarised as follows:—
A meeting was convened on July 9, 1879, by advertisement, “To consider the question of Protection of Native Industries,” and was adjourned till the next evening, at the offices of Mr E. H. Banks.
At the adjourned meeting ten gentlemen were present, who formed themselves into a committee, to collect information, and to generally aid in the formation of an Association for the fostering and protection of local industries throughout New Zealand. Mr R. Allan was elected chairman.
Subsequent meetings were held by the Committee, and a circular and pamphlet, setting forth the objects and views of the Association, were printed, and 3000 copies were distributed throughout the colony for general information, Copies were sent to all the Chambers of Commerce, newspapers, and page 107principal manufacturers throughout New Zealand, the result of which was the establishment of associations in all the large cities in the colony.
A public meeting was held on the 12th of August, in Christchurch, at which the draft rules for the working of the Association were read and adopted, and the officers elected for the ensuing twelve months.
About this time the general election for members of the House of Representatives was taking place, and the candidates for Ohristchurch were interviewed by a deputation from the Committee, and their views on the objects of the Association ascertained,. the result of which was reported to a general meeting of members.
Shortly after parliament assembled Mr E. C. J. Stevens moved for a select committee to consider what duties could be remitted, with a view to giving relief to manufacturers; an amendment was proposed by Mr Levin, of Wellington, and carried, authorising the Committee to also consider other means by which manufactures could be promoted. The committee consisted of Messrs E. C. J. Stevens (chairman), S. P. Andrews, E. G. Wright, Hurst, Oliver, Dick, Levin, and others. The chairman applied to the Industrial Association of Canterbury for its views on the subject, and the Committee of the Association took considerable pains to arrive at a fair opinion of the same, the result being embodied in several reports regarding the manufacture of drainage pipes, &c.; iron work, boots and shoes; coffee, spices, &c.; coaches and carriages; stationery, &c.
The select committee also received recommendations from kindred associations in other parts of the colony, the chairman of which committee complimented the Associations on the satisfactory manner in which they communicated their views.
It is noticeable that the recommendations of the select committee to the house, adopted by the Government, were quite in accordance with the suggestions of the Associations so far as the remission of duties were concerned. With respect to the imposition of duties, the select committee did not go to the length the Associations wished, but recommended some increases, and the Hon. the Colonial Treasurer, Major Atkinson, by his budget, gave still further encouragement to manufacturers by increasing the ad valorem duties to 15 per cent.
In February, 1880, the Association had over 400 members on its roll, amongst whom were some of the largest employers of labour in the province.
On the 15th July, 1880, an exhibition of New Zealand page 108manufactures, under the auspices of the Association, was opened in the Drill Shed grounds, Christchurch. It was a hurriedly got up affair, and had originated in a desire to show something of the manufactures and resources of the province. The exhibits were numerous, and most of them of a high quality. Although. a small affair and only open six days, it was visited by 24,000 persons, and resulted in a very considerable augmentation of the Association's funds, £300 being set aside as a nucleus of the funds for a future exhibition.
In 1882, Messrs Joubert and Twopenny having decided to open an International Exhibition in Christchurch, applied to the Industrial Association for moral and practical support, which, after much discussion among the members, was heartily given, many of the individual members giving their time and money liberally to assist the undertaking. A strong committee was formed, including members of the Association and others resident in the city; and sub-committees from them were appointed to obtain exhibits from various parts of New Zealand. The result far exceeded the anticipation of Messrs Joubert and Twopenny, and contributed mainly to the success of the exhibition, New Zealand occupying fully one-half the space allotted to exhibitors. Some idea of the quantity of manufactures and produce of this colony which were gathered together may be gained from the fact, that the building, which was in the form of a quadrangle, was 668ft. long, by 282ft. in breadth.
An exhibition of New Zealand manufactures, got up by this association and opened on the 17th December, 1883, was a decided success. It was held in the drill-shed and in buildings erected on the ground adjoining, and lit up at night by electric light, used for this purpose for the first time in Christchurch on that occasion. The exhibits mainly showed the ordinary products of the various manufactories, very few of the articles having been specially made for the exhibition The several parts of the colony were fairly represented. Musical and other entertainments, given daily, added to the attractions of the exhibition, which was kept open for about two months, and attended by about 70,000 people.
The association has been fortunate in having had for its presidents two gentlemen of standing, ability, and exceptional energy, viz.—Mr. Robert Allan, who occupied that position for two successive years at the starting of the association; and Mr. A.G. Howland, who, during his two years' tenure of office, caused the society to be recognised as an influential power on all questions affecting the commerce and shipping of the colony.
The offices of the association are in Hereford-street, and Mr. W. Jameson is the secretary.