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New Zealand Now

A Note on Sources

page 123

A Note on Sources

It Has been explained in the preface that this is not a book about other books, a book based on other books, or to the author's knowledge a book that other books have inspired. He cannot therefore name the sources from which the material has been gathered or, without impertinence, recommend a course of reading for others that he has not taken himself. But it may be permissible for him to say what he thinks would be a useful beginning if anyone should wish to study the New Zealand scene formally.

The official Year-Book is easily the best all-purposes volume about New Zealand for those who can thrive on iron rations. The Bible is still the best explanation of the New Zealand way of thinking. The student who can turn to these two books with an open mind will find the facts in one and the cast and colour of our minds in the other.

After them the best approach to any of the questions raised in the present volume is provided by the ten volumes in this series that precede it. In each case there is an admirable guide to more intensive study.

page 124

Simultaneously all students will be reading the newspapers. They will be meeting the men and women who get into the newspapers or try to keep out of them. They will also, willynilly, be listening to the radio. If they want to see and hear New Zealand, there it is. If they want to see and hear it more specifically, a useful prescription would be: any church, any school, any parliamentary debate, any racecourse, any football ground, any picture theatre, any camp, any conference, any wrestling match, any street corner, saleyard, railway station, woolshed, sewing meeting, tea-room, or backblocks hut.

If then they wish to bring some order into their minds by systematic study they may turn to Guthrie-Smith's massive Tutira, a profoundly satisfying study of a New Zealand sheep farm, and Somerset's Littledene, a subtle miniature of a country township.

If they still wish to go a little further there are two supplementary sources of information for those who have the money to buy them. Both are official, both authoritative, and both more interesting than fiction. The first is Dr G. H. Scholefield's Dictionary of New Zealand Biography in two volumes, now on sale. The second is the magnificent Centennial Atlas now in course of preparation by the Centennial Branch of the Department of Internal Affairs. With either or with both they will find it useful to combine the thirty Pictorial Surveys, Making New Zealand, and the many provincial and local histories produced last year.