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Bush Fighting. Illustrated by remarkable actions and incidents of the Maori war in New Zealand.

I. — New Zealand Statistics

page 307

New Zealand Statistics.

The noble colony of New Zealand was suffering in 1872-73, not from want of food or fuel, but from a want of labour to develop its great resources; its fertile soil requires hands to cultivate it, its flocks and herds require shepherds and herdsmen, its minerals require men to dig for them.

The New Zealand colonists are offering passages that will cost a good labourer no more on an average than his contribution of £5: whilst emigrant agents in England are trying to entice our workmen to Brazil, to the Argentine Republic, and even to Paraguay, a finer field for our people is offered, and better prospects of success are to be had, in the Britain of the south, New Zealand.

When the colony was in a disturbed state an extensive system of emigration could not be expected to be carried out towards it; but peace has reigned now for a considerable time, and no apprehension is to be entertained of interruption to the labours of the agriculturist or busi-page 308ness of the trader. Post-office savings' banks and assurance offices in the colony are doing a large amount of business.

The Maoris, our late enemies, are making money, either cultivating their own lands or letting farms to white settlers at fair rents, or engaging themselves for the charge of flocks and herds.

Times seem to be entirely changed with them since the period when the writer was in New Zealand, and on one occasion, in the absence of Sir Gore Browne, was acting as Governor of the Colony. Then the anxiety of the Maoris to fight was great; so much so that a Maori came into Auckland with a bag of 300 gold pieces, collected among his people, and offered them to a trader for 600 boxes of copper caps—10s. a box; usual value 1s. 6d. Fortunately the bargain was not allowed to be concluded, and the Maori carried back his sovereigns. The money would now be laid out in a very different manner.

The European population may now amount to a quarter of a million; Maoris, say 40,000: 7,000 emigrants landed in 1872. Government land is sold by auction, at prices varying from 5s. to 40s. an acre. In the province of Auckland alone there are seventeen millions of acres; eleven millions of these still belong to the natives, and three millions to Government. "As beef and mutton can walk into market, they are more popular with the farmer than the more expensive transport of wheat." Agricultural wages are 5s. a day, or 15s. a week, with shelter and rations.

The bulk of the wool comes from the south island, where there are no Maoris, but a few employed as shepherds and cattle tenders.

The gold of New Zealand has been a great attraction page 309since 1860; it was then found in the south island, and worked. In 1868 the Thames gold-field, in the north island, was proved the richest in the colony. In the year ended on the 31st December, 1871, gold to the value of £1,888,708 was exported from Auckland, and the wages of a working miner were 50s. a week. In the south island the gold-fields of Westland have been thriving; they have sent home since 1860 about £6,500,000.

Coal is also abundant about the Waikato, &c, and was of great service during the war for the steamers.

From returns kindly furnished me by Falconer Lark-worthy, Esq., managing director in London of the Bank of New Zealand, I find that, in the European population, the average for twelve years was one birth to every twenty-four and a half, and one death to every seventy-nine persons.

Shipping in 1871:—
Vessels inwards 729
 Tonnage 274,643
Vessels outwards 709
 Tonnage 265,618
Imports in 1871, in value £4,078,193 '
Exports in 1871, in value £5,282,084
The Customs Revenue was £731,883
General Revenue, ordinary and territorial £1,299,371
The General Government Debt was £5,493,316
Of the Banks, total Capital paid up £4,281,529 16s. 6d
Postal Eevenue was £70,249 19s. 7d.

The first telegraph was established under the direction of Colonel Gamble, C.B., Deputy Quartermaster-General, in 1863, and was exceedingly well worked by Lieut. Burton, Deputy Assistant Quartermaster-General, and his assistants, Corporal Brodie, R.E., and 2nd Corporal page 310Butcher, R.E. In December, 1871, the telegraph stations numbered seventy-one, and the number of miles of lines was 2,015.

Criminal Statistics.—The convictions in 1871 were 11,806, but many of the convictions were for drunkenness (4,751), and not for serious offences.

Meteorology.—At Wellington, the capital, Cook's Straits, in the cold month of May, mean temperature, 64°; in the hot month of December, 72°. No extremes of heat or, cold, and showing the excellence of the climate. Rainfall, (14 inches; and at Auckland, 47 inches. Snow at Dune-din, 4 inches.