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

Night Watches

Night Watches.

And surely in all the world there is not a more friendly Earth for the camper-out than this New Zealand of ours. What country is more free from the terror that walks by night, or that crawls and strikes? I often think that New Zealanders do not perhaps, appreciate adequately their enormous boon of a bush that harbours no snakes or other poisonous creatures. The Australian or the American out-of-door man who makes the acquaintance of our bush finds it hard to divest his mind of the idea that snakes are likely to be about and that camping places are not safe until a good search is made for lurking reptiles. There was a visitor from Sydney who was page 23 surprised to hear, in response to her questions to the motor-driver, that there were no sharks in Lake Taupo. I have seen an Australian, on putting down his swag at the selected camping place, pick up a stick and proceed to beat the place for snakes, until reminded that he was now in a better and safer land than his native never-never. Then he laughed at his instinctive precautions.

True, we have our mosquito, which is quite a sufficient nuisance, but it is not everywhere. Camping in such places as the Urewera Country and about the shores of the Rotorua lakes, I have never heard the buzz of the little naeroa. The camper-out in the great South Island forests, always moist, finds the mosquito voracious enough, but there are ways of circumventing the night-demon. Always may we thank Heaven, however, that there are no snakes.