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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 1 (April 1, 1935)

The Planing-down Process

The Planing-down Process.

Looking through some sketches and photographs of scenes and people in the New Zealand of the last two or three generations, the thought comes that those casual visitors who assert that this country has not yet evolved a national type disregard the fact that strongly-marked human characteristics belong in greatest measure to the adventurous pioneering era and to the edge of settlement. As close settlement and city-building develop, and the rough places are made smooth and means of communication improved, the differences between the town and the country dweller tend to disappear. The townsman sees more of the far-back settler; travel is made easy and cheap. The radio, the cinema, help equally with the railway train and the motor-car to make the nation homogeneous. No populated part of the Dominion is isolated from the other, as Westland once was, and as the Urewera Maori country was, before the coming of railway and motor highways. The Westlander, the gold-digger, the surveyor in the back-country, the native-born bushmen and scouts who tackled the Maori in his forest sanctuaries, the coast whaler, were men apart in their manner of life, their attire and often their speech.

Some day perhaps this country will develop the so-called type for which literary folk and other visitors from overseas say they are looking. But the “characters” belong to the adventurous past about which so much has still to be written.