Voices from Auckland, New Zealand.
From the Illustrated London News, May 19, 1860. — City of Auckland
From the Illustrated London News, May 19, 1860.
City of Auckland.
As many of our countrymen have emigrated to Auckland, New Zealand, taking advantage of a gift of land under certain arrangements which the Provincial Government of that province have held out as a temptation to divert people's attention from the gold-fields, we here present our readers with a View of the City of Auckland, and the new Commercial Embankment called Custom House Street Quay, which is carried right across from its junction with Albert Street at Smale's Point to the foot of Britomart Barracks. This reclamation from the shore will give an extensive additional site for commercial establishments. A sale of leases for ninety-nine years at a nominal rent was advertised to take place there, on the 22nd of December; of lots of building land, ranging in size from 30 to 100 feet to 56 by 75 feet, and 55 by 100 feet. The upset prices for the lots ranged from £300 to £560 per lot. This great embankment and the projecting wharf jutting out from Queen Street have eminently advanced Auckland as a commercial port. It was not till 1840 that Auckland could be said to have had an existence. It was then judiciously chosen for the seat of Government in New Zealand. Strenuous efforts have been and continue to be made to remove the Government establishments to Wellington, and the General Assembly is to hold its next Session there; but, although Wellington is as central as Liverpool for the meeting of the British Parliament, nature has rendered Auckland the only place in New Zealand suitable to be the abode of the representative of majesty. The province of Auckland contains more than double the European population of any other province in New Zealand. Its northern position, placing it nearer to the tropics than the page 38southern islands, gives it a more genial climate than is to be found in the southern parts of Europe. Persons who visit Auckland on the score of health generally fix their abode there. The remarkable longevity of the pensioners who emigrated twenty years ago affords an evident proof that the change from Great Britain to Auckland has lengthened their days. The European population of the province exceeds 20,000, exclusive of a large military and naval force. About 10,000 Europeans inhabit the city itself, and the trade of the province is rapidly augmenting. There is a great preponderance of the male over the female population. In addition to Europeans, a large body of civilised natives inhabit the province, conforming to European habits of industry; adepts in house-building, agriculture, and other useful occupations. Many of our own people would do well if they could become as well conducted as the Maories of New Zealand. These people are large consumers of English manufactured goods, and contribute to a great extent to the increasing exports from Auckland. Persons who intend to emigrate to New Zealand should not neglect to obtain, if possible, land orders for themselves and for each qualified member of their family. No persons are entitled to a land order as a right, or in respect of the payment of passage-money, but must satisfy the agents of the Provincial Government that they are persons of good character, suitable colonists, either by the judicious use of their capital in the employment of labour, or by their capacity and willingness, prior to their embarkation, to work hard at any occupation they can find in so young a country. The land orders are given to eligible persons to encourage their settlement in the province. There are no free passages to Auckland at the cost of the Government, but land orders are given to wealthier emigrants, who pay the passage of eligible artisans or mechanics, and servants of all kinds, and thus those classes of persons obtain a free passage. Assisted passages are only granted to such persons as may be nominated to the Provincial Government by their friends or relatives in the province, when instructions are given by that Government to their agents in London, Messrs. Ridgway and Sons, 40, Leicester Square, to provide them with a passage. In Auckland, occupations and amusements are similar to those in England. There are churches and chapels for every sect of Christians, synagogues, theatre, temperance halls, Christian associations, horticultural and agricultural associations, public companies, colleges, schools, acorn exchange, a mechanics' institute, literary lounges, musical entertainments, horse racing; and the port of Auckland is frequented by steam and seagoing ships of very large burden, beside innumerable native craft. In December 1858, when the census was taken, there were page 391224 houses or buildings within the city of Auckland, and the number was rapidly on the increase. In the province there were 3,839 horses, and 7 mules and asses, 31,700 head of cattle, 58,792 sheep, 3,079 goats, 11,461 pigs. The fenced lands belonging to Europeans in the province of Auckland comprised 90,447¼ acres, and 60,201¾ acres under crop, exclusive of large tracts of ploughed land and open pasture land. The lands in the province of Auckland are as varied in quality as in England; there is abundance of coal, lime-stone, timber, and other valuable products. There are no poor people in Auckland, except drunkards and other dissolute persons. Provisions and clothing are as cheap as in England, in many cases cheaper. House-rent is somewhat dearer than in England. The upset price of country lands is 10s. per acre: they are put up in lots of from 40 to 320 acres each. Town lands and suburban lands are put up at prices ranging from £1 up to £100 per acre, according to their position; but the choice lands in the city of Auckland, reserved for special purposes, are put up at reasonable prices from time to time. Lands belonging to proprietors are constantly being sold, or let, as in England; and it is necessary there, as here, for people to see that they deal with honorable persons. Choice suburban land has fetched, at public auction, for building purposes, after the rate of £1200 per acre. Messrs. Ridgway and Sons, of Leicester Square, the agents of the Provincial Government, have in their possession an extensive library of works upon New Zealand, files of newspapers, gazettes, specimens of gold, coal, flax, gum, wood, ferns, native implements, sketches of the natives and country, and everything that can interest persons desirous of emigrating, and those gentlemen are at all times ready to afford trustworthy information for the guidance of such parties. The London ships engaged in the Auckland trade are those of Messrs. Willis, Gann, & Co.; and Messrs. Shaw, Saville, & Co.; and the increasing traffic has induced Messrs. Wilson & Chambers and Messrs. James Baines & Co., of Liverpool, to embark in the trade. Messrs. Pearson & Co., of Hull, have established the Intercolonial Mail Packet Company in New Zealand. Persons of small capital requiring a good sound rate of income can invest their money upon the best securities in Auckland at 10 per cent interest. There are three well-conducted and well-printed English newspapers in Auckland, and everything is indicative of a steady and continuous progress; and, although, as in most new countries, it is rare to meet with persons of conventional rank, the society in Auckland is good.
The harbour of Auckland, the Waitemata, is acknowledged to be one of the finest in the world. Passing numerous head-page 40lands, promontories, bays, and inlets, with curious islands of every size and form—ships enter between two heads a mile apart, the one on the Island of Rangitoto, and the other forming the cape, which terminates a narrow peninsula, over which the eastern sea is seen from the heights of the city. The haven of the Waitemata, within the heads, is from three to four miles in width; winding onwards to the south-west, and a few miles from Auckland, it is separated from the Manukau harbour by a narrow isthmus, which our young enterprise already proposes to cut through; thus opening a passage for ships from the Western Ocean. The situation of the city is noble and picturesque. The houses nestle in trees and shrubs along the heights of the coast, and then repose in green meadows along the sides, and up to the summits of numerous hills, many of which enjoy a vast and varied view of water and land, spread out into every conceivable variety of form.