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The New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator No. 185, Saturday, October 15, 1842

[Editorial, New Zealand Gazette and Wellington Spectator, Saturday, October 15, 1842]

It is very important to the rapid progress of this settlement, that practical information relative to its agricultural capabilities, should extensively be made known. Some persons in a thoughtless mood and others with malicious purpose, have made statements relative to the expense of clearing our wood lands, which have had the effect of keeping at home several well instructed in the business of farming, possessed of means sufficient to enable them to apply their knowledge with good advantage among us, whose purpose it was to be with us, and who would have been here before this time had they not been possessed of the false impressions under which they now labour.

We have been informed that persons have written home, declaring that it would cost £40 to clear an acre of land in New Zealand. Sometime since we saw a letter in an English paper, containing a statement to the same effect, and we remember hearing a sanguine man, long since deceased, make a similar declaration, but with the qualification that “even at such a cost, the pursuit of agriculture, would be profitable in this country.” Not one of these parties had cleared an acre of ground, and though they may all be good agriculturalists, they were all equally ignorant of a bush or colonial life, their testimony was therefore valueless. But it is a common practice to confound agricultural knowledge with a knowledge of clearing land, which a moments reflection will convince any person, that the two kinds of knowledge have no necessary connection, and that the one may be possessed in perfect ignorance of the other. This confusion however exists, and has had a mischievous effect, to counteract which every effort should be made. We are not aware of any efforts that would meet the case so perfectly as furnishing the actual necessary expenses which have been incurred by those of our settlers, who have proceeded to deal with the bush in a truly business like manner. There are many who are now most industriously employed in waring with the bush, who complain that they lack congenial neighbours with whom to combine in overcoming many evils only to be cured by the aid of a joint power. To these gentlemen we say, furnish the inducement, and you will soon be possessed of social intercourse, and the requisite powers of combining to obtain those means of communication you so much need. That inducement would be aided by a statement of amount of your own outlay, and the probable profit which will ensue. We are happy in being able to say, we have noticed that instead of having been dismayed by an acquaintance with the bush, our settlers with increasing knowledge, increase in confidence of the result of their arduous, energetic and manly pursuit. Under these circumstances we feel confident that the results will be most satisfactory, and we hope at no distant date, we shall have been provided with a mass of facts on the important subject, bringing conviction to the mind of every man, that if he will go to work in the right manner, he will find agriculture as profitable as it is healthful in New Zealand.