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Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Volume 31 Number 16 July 16, 1968

Research payoff fantastic—Wilson

page 3

Research payoff fantastic—Wilson

"The colonization of New Zealand essentially involved the transferring of civilisation from an area of good soils and bad climate to an area of bad soils and good climate," said Professor Wilson at a recent Winter Term lecture.

This was the fourth in the series on the theme "New Horizons in Science."

The basis of his argument was that our civilisation originates in Europe—an area of entirely different geological and climatic makeup. "New Zealand is rather unique in this respect, no other area in the world has such a combination of climate and soil.

"The country cannot therefore import pre-solved problems from overseas, they must he handled by ourselves, to fit in with the conditions.

"Fortunately the original colonists were adaptable and enterprising men and have made a great success of the job."

"They had evolved a unique and special form of agriculture including steep grassed hills and a remarkably heavy stock concentration.

Professor Wilson mentioned farming areas he had seen in China which provided a living for live people per acre on the flat—but with nothing on the hills.

"And by New Zealand standards they're not even steep hills."

Thus the technique developed in five thousand years of farming overseas could not be applied directly to New Zealand.

Agricultural research aimed at particular New Zealand problems can therefore be immensely rewarding.

He mentioned the work done on the cobalt deficient soils in the volcanic areas of the North Island. This was a relatively small piece of research the results of which have allowed farming over vast areas previously unused.

"The payoff is fantastic, this was a relatively small piece of research, but if the monetary gains from it were ploughed back into science it would pay for all the research ever going to be done in New Zealand."

Professor Wilson

Professor Wilson