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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 8 (February 1, 1933)


The million and a half of people who populate New Zealand have many worthy world's records to their credit, including the lowest infant mortality and the lowest death rate; but their national record of production for export is perhaps the most striking proof they have to offer of what can be done by a virile British stock planted in a country favourably dowered by Nature.

After less than a hundred years of occupation the statistics of the Dominion's primary production read like romance. The “farm population” constitutes one-fourth of the Dominion total, and of these the number of people engaged in farming is almost 140 thousand. This army of primary producers certainly have something to shew for their efforts. They occupy 43 million acres, run nearly four million cattle, keep half a million pigs, and nearly four million poultry, own over 30 million sheep and a quarter of a million horses. To help them in their work they keep over twenty thousand milking machines busy, morning and night, beating the lilt of the cowshed serenade, and, between-whiles, they drive four thousand agricultural tractors. The farmers of New Zealand crop 1 ¾ million acres, of which more than half is in turnips, oats and wheat, and they have planted 25 thousand acres of orchards. The average yield per acre is also something of a record—32 bushels of wheat, 40 of oats, 36 of barley, and 48 of maize. Developments in dairying have also been amazing. The average return of butterfat in 1930 was 218 lbs. per cow, or nearly 100 lbs. per cow more than at the beginning of this century.

From these resources and activities and aided by modern transport, including over 3000 miles of railways, productive New Zealand now exports annually about 3 ½ million hundredweight of butter and cheese (this being the second highest exporting country in the world for each of these products), over 200 million pounds of wool, eight million carcases of mutton and lamb, half a million hundredweight of beef, and thirty million feet of timber, besides substantial quantities of other products — animal, vegetable and mineral. In 1930 the export trade was valued at £45 millions, and the total value of Dominion production, both primary and secondary (excluding that from holdings of less than one acre, and home products), was almost £120 millions, or £80 per head of population.

The whole of the foregoing records provides a picture of production of which any country might be proud, and justifies the sanguine faith of New Zealanders in the ultimate bright destiny of this sunny, smiling land. And the whole of this amazing page 6 production is carried on in a country where intensive cultivation, as it is understood in older lands, is as yet hardly known, where the evils of secondary industry have little chance to exist, and where the natural beauty of the country — helped as much as hindered by the manifold activities of its people—lures lovers of Nature from other countries with an irresistible beckoning.