Voices from Auckland, New Zealand.
New Comers—and what can be done for them
New Comers—and what can be done for them.
To the Editor of the New-Zealander.
Mr. Editor,—Without being any approach to a croaker as to the ultimate result of the very large influx of population which is coming upon us, there is of course reason to suppose that there may be in the first instance considerable distress, as there is likely to be from any great and sudden change; at the same time fear preponderates over reason in all such cases, particularly if fanned by bad men, who prophesy, wish for, and then foster, discontent and misery, and simply from bad political motives. But it undoubtedly behoves all sincere well-wishers to the colony, instead of grieving over what may be, to use their best endeavour to ameliorate, as much as in them lies, any distress which might arise from this large and sudden addition to our population, and every one should give out in some way any idea which may suggest itself to him for the mutual good of our new-comers and the colony; although such ideas may at times be crude and perhaps difficult to work out. Now as I am far away in the bush, and not able therefore to converse with my fellow colonists on this point, I take the liberty, with your permission, of using the press, to give out a few rough notions, worthless as they may be.
Well then, sir, an ample supply of food, and at as cheap a rate as possible, will be the first desideratum; and it then behoves us to see what crops may still be put in. Some producers are delighting themselves with the expected high prices of provisions, but there is little good in this for our new friends, who are at present only consumers. How then could they most readily do some good for themselves? Potatoes seem the only article of food which there is now time to plant, and it would be well for every new-comer who can, to direct his attention to supplying himself with a good store of that most useful article of food (although Cobbet did call it the curse of Ireland). I should think there are few landed proprietors who would not lend one, two, or three acres of land for spade husbandry in cropping with potatoes, supplying the seed and allowing half the crop for their labour in attending to it. Thus many a poor man who might only be able to get one or two days' labour in the week, would after a time find himself possessed of a few tons of potatoes. I would gladly lend land and supply seed to any who would thus like to cultivate; but mine is too far away to be of much use in this way; but doubtless many nearer farmers would do the same, as the well turning up of the soil with the spade would be so much benefit to the land.page 82
Then again I am convinced that the manufacture of rough strong farm gates, might be profitably carried on to a considerable extent, if sold at moderate prices, and assist to do away with those abominations—slip rails. Cheap hurdles would also form another article, in which many new-comers might find employment—and many parties I think in various neighbourhoods would let them go into their bush for such purpose.
Thus far I have spoken of labouring men, who, after all, are by far the easiest class to help themselves. But young gentlemen, clerks, shopmen, &c., are decidedly the most difficult of all classes; for although there are amongst them some, and I hope many, who, possessing common sense and vigorous energy, will readily set to work at a new occupation, whatever it may be, there are also many who are perfectly useless, and absolutely not worth their food for labouring purposes. What are these to do, and what can be suggested for them? for really I know not, and only hope there are few such.
I would recommend any gang of labourers, or men willing to labour, to offer to dig land, and plant potatoes by the acre. I should say it would be well worth two or three times the price of ploughing to dig the land for many purposes.
I have simply thrown out but a few hints, and should be delighted, if to any one of our new friends they can be made of the least use.