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The Farmer in New Zealand

3. Gold, Wool, and Wheat

3. Gold, Wool, and Wheat

Throughout this chapter R. M. Burden's High Country (Christchurch, 1938) has been a useful source of material. It draws largely on the private papers of the Tripp family, and is so good on practical matters that one regrets that so much of its short space is devoted to a conspectus of the general history of New Zealand. Frederick Weld's Hints to Intending Sheep-Farmers in New Zealand was first published in 1851 (London); it was altered somewhat in the third edition, that of 1860. See also The Life of Sir Frederick Weld (London, 1914) by Alice, Lady Lovat. A First Year in Canterbury Settlement (London, 1863) is absorbingly interesting for its matter, though it is obviously of very slight literary importance if set beside Samuel Butler's later works. One questions whether Butler himself would have despised it quite so heartily, page 148if it had not been so closely associated with his father, who had edited it with a heavy hand. The diary kept by the managers of the St Leonard's station, North Canterbury, for the owner, George Duppa, has much interesting detail on the routine of early sheepfarming operations. The classic story of an individual New Zealand station is to be found in H. Guthrie-Smith's Tutira. The best edition is the second, (London, 1926), but the author was at work on a revised edition in 1940 when he died. L. G. D. Acland's The Early Canterbury Runs (Christchurch, 1930) is an invaluable source of information on its subject.

The volumes of The Cyclopedia of New Zealand (Wellington, 1897-1907) form a garrulous chronicle of both farming and urban success. In spite of the uncritical and even childish tone of this work it contains a good deal of interesting information about the careers of prominent pastoralists and wheat-growers. Thomas Holloway, who journeyed through New Zealand in the early seventies as the guest of the government, has left interesting diaries which have been copied by the National Historical Committee. These contain frequent references to farming conditions. J. C. Andersen's Jubilee History of South Canterbury (Christchurch, 1916) contains a good deal of farming information, especially on wheat-growing, as does Dr F. W. Hilgendorf's Wheat in New Zealand (Christchurch, 1939). William Bateman's The Colonist (Christchurch, 1881) and Donald Reid (Dunedin, 1939) also throw light on the wheat production of the South Island, though the latter (a biography of a noted Otago page 149pioneer, written and circulated privately by his descendants) refers to an earlier period than the hey-day of wheat-growing in the seventies and eighties.

The general economic conditions of the farming of this period (and of the whole hundred years of New Zealand's existence) are succinctly summarised in J. B. Condliffe's New Zealand in the Making (London, 1930). The problems of land aggregation are treated in W. P. Reeves's State Experiments in Australia and New Zealand (London, 1902) and in State Socialism in New Zealand (London, 1910) by J. E. Le Rossignol and W. Downie Stewart. Both Reeves and Downie Stewart were cabinet ministers, the former before and the latter after writing these books.

Social life on the early sheep station is described with spirit and perhaps excessive taste by Lady Barker in her Station Life in New Zealand (London, 1870) and Station Amusements in New Zealand (London, 1873). George Chamier in his novel, Philosopher Dick (London, 1891), looks back to the same halcyon days. The hardships and humour of station life were also exploited to excellent effect by L.J. Kennaway in Crusts (London, 1874), which has much of both the seriousness and the crudity of the Victorian practical joke.