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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Provincial Districts]


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The pioneer settlers of New Zealand were, generally speaking, men of sterling merit. They were bred in the United Kingdom, and were imbued with the highest British traditions, while the men selected by the early colonising associations represented the very best of their class. Their power of endurance proved equal to the hardships they experienced; by their energy they transformed the wilderness into bountiful pastures, and built embryo cities throughout the silent land. Their courage did not fail them even throughout the troublous times of the long-drawn-out Maori wars. The first half-century was necessarily a very trying period in the history of New Zealand, but the advantages and comforts enjoyed by the colonists of to-day are the outcome of the arduous efforts put forth in those years by the settlers who laid the foundation of the colony's prosperity. Succeeding generations may possibly inherit, potentially, the sterling characteristics of these old settlers, though they will never be called upon to so strenuously exercise them. They have great possibilities, however, according to Froude, who says, “I can well believe that it will be in the inexhaustible soil and spiritual capabilities of New Zealand that the great English poets, artists, philosophers, statesmen, soldiers, of the future will be nurtured.” This hope was more recently expressed by the Hon. W. P. Reeves, who said, “There are some of us who hope to live to see the day when New Zealand will turn out something beyond a fine, sturdy race of farmers, keen men of business, and fine athletes,—when it will distinguish itself in the walks of literature, art, architecture, and science—when New Zealand books, New Zealand pictures, New Zealand statues and buildings, will gain some repute and note in the civilized world. But we have to remember that the energies of the generation which is doing the first work in a young country are naturally turned to solid and material matters. It was the business of the pioneers to lay the foundations. It is our business, the business of their children, to erect the walls, to rear the building; it will be the business of those who come after us to adorn and to decorate the interior.”