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Voices from Auckland, New Zealand.

The New-comers—What to do

The New-comers—What to do.

To the Editor of the New Zealander.

Sir,—I have been told by recent arrivals in more than one ship, that hardly have they dropped anchor than certain parties have boarded them, telling them they had been de-page 72luded,—had made a great mistake,—had better go home again,—would be ruined if they stayed, and so on; endeavouring in fact to fill their minds with all manner of gloomy forebodings. I think this conduct most reprehensible. Under the most favourable circumstances immigrants have enough of discouragement to meet with on their arrival in a new colony, without people doing their best to make the natural difficulties of their position wear the gloomiest of aspects. They miss many of the accommodations to which they have been long accustomed. The absence of the familiar faces of the old house at home is but poorly supplied by the croaking tones and cold shoulders of the Job's comforters they too often meet with here. Is it surprising that they should for a while feel that love of country, call it home sickness if you will, which lays them open to receive impressions unfavourable to the new land of their adoption.

Is it not, then, a shameful and a cruel wrong for any one to take advantage of these and other difficulties natural to an immigrant's position, and make use of them to dishearten, to embarrass, and let me add, to ruin him?

I would fain believe, sir, that the efforts of these parties are the result rather of thoughtlessness than of malice aforethought; were it otherwise they would justly deserve to be branded as traitors to their country and enemies to their Queen.

I have been led to refer to this matter by the announcement that, induced by the land regulations now in force, 1200 people are on their way to this province, and that 4000 or 5000 may be expected during the next six months. If such be the fact, it becomes the duty of every good citizen to facilitate as far as possible their settlement, or at least to throw no obstacles in their way.

Whatever may be said against the land regulations now in force, it can hardly be denied that they will give us a large direct emigration from home. If they do this—they will do much to settle many of the troublesome questions of the day. Increase the population of this new country and you develope its resources—you add to its strength—you lessen the native difficulty—you counteract and remove much of that wretched politico-personal squabbling too common amongst us. You will—as in the south—give us men capable of helping us to manage our affairs in a manner more creditable to us.

Now to the question—"What are the new-comers to do?" Perhaps this will be well answered by one of themselves. "They tell me, sir," said he, "That I have made a great mistake in coming here—that there is nothing to do. However, page 73when I found you were importing wheat, maize, beef, cheese, drays, blocks, tubs, and fifty other things besides which might all be produced here—I concluded that instead of there being nothing to do, there was nothing done."

If this observation be true—and in the main I believe it is—the chief difficulty will be found to be the adaptation of every one's particular skill or abilities to the wants of the country. This requires time and patience.

Every new-comer with a useful trade in his fingers need not be long in finding something to do in the way of producing some article at present imported. Others will find various employments, which if not as well paid as they would like, will at least give them time to acquire experience and a knowledge of the ways of the country which will be invaluable to them, and which all that have ever succeeded in a colony have had to purchase—sometimes at a heavy cost. After all, the land which induced them to come out, must be the main stay of the immigrants. By far the larger portion of them must settle upon their land. To do that, they came out. To do it as soon as possible is their wisest policy.

When they reflect that the 20,000 people in this province in 1858 required for home consumption each 6 bushels of wheat per head, whilst they hardly produced more than ½ bushel per head, they need not hesitate to turn cultivators—the advantage of doing so is apparent.

The hardships in doing so, great as they may be, are not to be compared with those which an American settler in the Far West has to encounter. Let those who are so ready to discourage new-comers by telling them there are no roads, no houses, no nothing—remember the trackless leagues, the terrible winters, and the miserable fevers and agues of Canada, Making reasonable allowance for the short time this colony has been in the hands of the British Government, and the consequent want of knowledge and experience in handling in the most advantageous manner the qualities and characteristics peculiar to it, I do not think I say too much, when I state my belief, that few countries offer more advantages for settlement to an industrious man than the Province of Auckland.

I shall be told of failures. Granted. Failures and mistakes are the parents of success. The individual who enters upon a new trade has many a little lesson to learn before he achieves Success, and the community that undertakes to settle and subdue a new country must be prepared to encounter many unforeseen difficulties, and to make many mistakes, before experience becomes so strengthened that he who runs may read.

The grand point then for the consideration of those who page 74wish to facilitate the settlement of new-comers on their lands, is to ascertain the peculiar difficulties with which they will have to contend—and to point out the means which successful settlers have pursued to overcome them. If trustworthy information of this character can be put into the hands of new-comers—a world of time and toil will be saved them.

Yours, &c.,

J. C. Firth.