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Settlers and Pioneers


The northern nations of Europe had a worthy share in the making of the nation. From the beginning of the seventies Norway, Sweden, and Denmark sent us many thousands of the best kind of colonists—industrious, frugal, sober, and loyal to the country of their choice. They were the men and women who conquered the Seventy-Mile Bush in southern Hawke's Bay; and Norsewood, Ormondville, Dannevirke, Mauriceville, Eketahuna, and several other towns owe their origin to these Norsemen. The dense and gloomy forest which covered nearly a hundred miles of country from north to page 95south disappeared before these sturdy Norsemen. On 16 September 1872 two sailing ships anchored at Napier, and others followed. In three years 2,000 Danes, 740 Norwegians and 725 Swedes arrived. Given forty-acre sections at one pound per acre on time payment, they cleared the bush and made beautiful and productive farms. The name of Dannevirke town, founded by Danish and Norwegian settlers in 1873, is that of the historic line of forts built by King Gottrick to defend Schleswig in the ninth century. 'Danes'-work'—it was as appropriate a name for the new achievement as it was for the old.