Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 4 (July 1, 1935.)

Variety In Brief

page 63

Variety In Brief

The idea of taking conducted parties of English elementary school children to London, not merely on pleasure bent, but also for the purpose of improving their general knowledge, is one that might commend itself to New Zealand education authorities.

There are many children in this country who would derive educational benefit from a visit of inspection to Wellington, whilst it can safely be assumed that Dominion parents would not be averse to emulating their English cousins in denying themselves, if necessary, in order to enable their children to visit the seat of Government.

In England the young folk accompanied by teachers, travel at excursion rates, in batches of 1,000, from the home towns of any size, two trains being required for each contingent.

Free admission is granted the visitors to certain national institutions, together with every facility for gaining first-hand knowledge of the metropolis.

If a child is to grow up imbued with a proper degree of pride in, and loyalty towards, his country, it is essential he shall see beyond the boundary of his own town. At any-rate this fact is recognised at Home.

* * *

A good map of New Zealand will show you Wedderburn, Kyeburn, or Gimmerburn in the Maniototo Plains district of Otago: you may not find Eweburn, Sowburn, or Pigburn, though such names do exist. The former are of townships, the latter of streams or settlements. The origin of these names is both interesting and amusing.

Many of the official place names of Otago were bestowed by Mr. J. T. Thomson, who was Chief Surveyor and Engineer of Otago. Among the names he chose was a list pertaining to the various streams and creeks of the Maniototo district, and this list comprised all euphonious Maori names. The Provincial Council in considering the names decided they were rather difficult to pronounce and sent the list back to Mr. Thomson with instructions to alter. Thomson was rightly annoyed, and indignantly changed them to the unpleasing, Wedderburn, Kyeburn, Gimmerburn, Eweburn, Sowburn, Pigburn, Cowburn, Hogburn, Oxburn, Horseburn, Mare-burn, and so on, maintaining that anybody could surely pronounce them! The names were approved of and passed, and in most cases are still in use to-day.—C.H.F.

* * *

Upon the top of a very steep hill at the entrance of the Manakau Harbour there is a signalling station with a solid-looking mast. The other day one asked an old resident how the mast was got up there, and suggested that it must have cost a lot for haulage.

“How much does a fair-sized keg of beer cost?” he asked.

One sighed profoundly and admitted one's ignorance on grounds of poverty.

“Well, it cost three kegs,” one was informed.

On asking the obvious one was told that the builders couldn&t get the mast up, so they tried a new idea. They got three kegs of mellowed ale and three dozen thirsty Maoris. The kegs were placed at intervals up the hill and the natives at intervals along the pole.

And the keg at the top of the hill was empty in half an hour.—Boz.

Phormium Tenax, or New Zealand flax, is a most valuable plant, and to the Maoris was almost indispensable. Scraping with mussel shells was the slow method they adopted when cleaning the fibre, the first shipments for commercial use, all being prepared in this primitive manner. Its fibre is far superior in strength to that of any other plant, and once its qualities were recognised by cordage manufacturers, a considerable demand for it set in, large quantities being exported to Sydney, which, in those days, played the part of clearing-house for New Zealand produce, and elsewhere. In 1831 one thousand and sixty-two tons were shipped from Sydney to England.—A.J.

* * *

When Dad booked in at “Sea View” the landlady informed him that the large billiard-room was especially for the use of guests. Later, Dad met a friend on the premises and proposed a game, suggesting that they should visit a billiard parlour just across the street. “Why not play here?” the friend asked. “You're a guest, aren&t you?” Dad shook his head. “Oh, no,” he replied. “I'm only a boarder.”—O. W. Waireki.