The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 7 (November 1, 1929)
Picture of the New Zealand Life
“Huskies” on the Glaciers
For the first time in the history of our great mountain resorts, dogs from the far northern lands of snow are being used in the development of the Southern Alps for travellers. The fifteen Alaskan dogs which were brought out from America for the Byrd Antarctic expedition are inland at the Mount Cook Hermitage, and are doing excellent work in hauling sledges up across the moraine and the ice for new huts high up in the valley of the Tasman Glacier. Formerly everything for the higher hut of the two, that at the Malte Brun range, 6,500 feet above sea level, has had to be carried up on the guides' and porters' backs. The half-wolf breed from the northern wilds have saved the Mount Cook staff many a weary journey.
The dogs are to be taken down to the Ross Sea, in Antarctica, for the Byrd explorations in the coming summer, probably early in December.
Friend of his Fellow Men.
Who was it said that the cleverest man that ever lived was the fellow who invented interest? Our Jewish friends say that this genius was a Scot, and the Scot says he was a Jew. At any rate it was a wonderful discovery. Seventeen years ago Mr. T. G. Macarthy, a wealthy business man, of Wellington, left in his will a sum of about £200,000, the income from which was to be devoted to educational and charitable institutions in Wellington provincial district. To date a total sum of £138,527, the business profits and accrued interest, has been distributed amongst various institutions. The amount varies from year to year, but every year a great number of deserving causes receive much-needed gifts. Under skilled management by the Public Trustee, the estate of this benefactor remains in perpetuity, a monument to the generosity and far-sightedness of a man who all his life was a kind-hearted friend of all in need.
Our Richest Gold Mine.
Many millions worth of bullion have been won from New Zealand's gold mines, but the great treasure-producer of the future will be the Dominion's tourist traffic. The Prime Minister is a great believer in the possibilities of this always-increasing business; a widely travelled man himself he well knows that there is nothing in the world to surpass these Islands in natural wonders and wild beauty. When in Nelson some time ago, opening a new bridge to develop the back country, Sir Joseph Ward spoke of the great national importance to New Zealand of developing the means of travel and opening new and strange sights.
“Not even the great meat and dairy industries,” he said, “will bring into this country as much as the tourists will leave behind them.”
Birds of Fiordland.
It is good to hear that the weka has been known to kill its enemy, the stoat and the weasel. It is about the only native bird that can hold its own against those imported curses of the Maori bush.
Bright Maori Banners.
Some day, when Wellington rejoices in the sight of its new Dominion Museum, erected on the commanding site of the present gaol-like military barracks, there should be space to display the numerous Maori war flags that now lie packed away in long cases in a lumber shed. They are wonderfully picturesque some of these relics of the days when Maori nationalism tried in vain to sweep back the pakeha tide. There is one with a quite romantic history, Te Kooti's “fighting whip,” as he called it, a long tapering flag, not unlike a Royal Navy paying-off pennant. It was made by the nuns of a Roman Catholic convent in Hawke's Bay more than sixty years ago for the Government Maoris, the Queenites—as opposed to the adherents of the Maori King—but the rebels captured it, and whenever Te Kooti announced to his wild riflemen a raid on the pakeha, not Blue Peter but “Te Whiu” to the masthead flew.
That gallant colonial soldier, Captain Gilbert Mair, recaptured it for the Government side in 1870, when he shot its bearer in a long running fight near Rotorua. It is “a banner with a page 31 strange device,” a streamer of red silk, with emblems worked on it in white—the crescent moon, a conical mountain, representing Aotea-roa, or New Zealand, a cross, a heart and a star.
Among the historical treasures of this kind in the Auckland municipal buildings is a captured fighting-flag twenty feet in length by six feet in width, bearing a blood-red defiant figure representing Tu-mata-uenga—“Tu of the Angry Face”—the god of war. But a still more remarkable war-colour is one that has gone a-missing; I would like to hear of its recovery for exhibition. It is the flag captured in 1860 by the bluejackets of H.M.S. Niger at the battle of Waireka, on the Taranaki coast. It bore a representation of a peaked mountain—Mt. Egmont—and the Sugarloaf Rock at New Plymouth (these symbolising the land of the Maori), a heart, and a rayed sun, both emblems full of meaning. This token of patriotic sentiment was presented to the Governor of the day, Gore-Brown, at Auckland, and I believe was sent to England. Some of us in New Zealand would like to hear of its whereabouts, if it still exists.
Sleek o' the Whale.
But what I started out to say was to remark on, for one thing, the picturesque character of the whalers’ technical tongue. Leaving aside the adjectival eloquence of the bucko mates and boat-steerers, the professional language was full of charmingly expressive terms. Just one example. My old acquaintance, big Tom Jackson, of Kaikoura, who had been whaling for nearly sixty years, was telling the story of a wild day off Tory Channel with a killed right whale in tow of his six-oar boat. They were buffeted by the “but-end of a nor'-wester” and they might have been swamped by the breaking seas, but the oil exudations from the harpoon and lance wounds in the whale put a slather on the waves and scarcely a spray came aboard. “The sleek o’ the whale,” he said, “smoothed off the tops o’ the seas.”page break
The Wonderland of Vestland, New Zealand.
“Both from the point of view of scenery and as a field for mountain sport, the New Zealand Alps can hold their own with those of Switzerland or the Rockies.“—The Rt. Hon. L. G. Amery, formerly Secretary of State for the Dominions.
“The glories of these snowy mountains, piled saw-edged igainst the great broken ranges looming blue and green, and the glistening still billows of the glaciers will never fade.“—Mr. James Cowan, in “See New Zealand First.”
[Photo, Dr. E. Teichelmann.]
On the West Coast of the South Island. Backed by the grandeur of the Southern Alps, with peak of Mt. Cook peeping through the clouds, the terminal face of the Fox Glacier is seen reflected in the still waters of Lake Matheson. Ninety-odd miles south-west of Greymouthly rail and motor, the phenomenon of glaciers reaching down through magnificent forests to within short distance of the sea is found the region of the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers.