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Voices from Auckland, New Zealand.

Letter from Immigration Agent at Auckland to an intending Settler. Immigration Office, Auckland, 20th September, 1859

Letter from Immigration Agent at Auckland to an intending Settler. Immigration Office, Auckland, 20th September, 1859.

Sir,—The Rev. Mr. Morgan, of Otawhoa, having sent your letter to him (dated June 14), to His Honor the Superintendent of this Province, with a request that he would cause such information as you wanted to be forwarded to you, the Superintendent has requested me to write you on the subject.

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Mr. Morgan states that he has replied to your letter as far as the Waipa is concerned; so, I presume, he has informed you that the whole of that district is still in the hands of the natives, that in fact very little land to the south of Waikato river has been purchased by the Government, the natives in the southern part of the Province having, for some time back, refused to sell any of their land. This state of things I do not think will last long; even now, there are symptoms of a coming change.

All the land, or nearly all, that is in the hands of the Government, lies to the north of Auckland,—a good deal of it from 40 to 70 miles from Auckland. There are at present several places in the market, or about to come into the market, very suitable for settlement, by small communities of energetic people with a moderate capital. All the surveyors in the Province are at present engaged in making surveys for the Government, and as the surveys are completed, the surveyed blocks are proclaimed as open for sale or selection.

Persons who wish to settle together as a community should advise the Provincial Government here, through their agents some time before coming, of their intention to do so, and should obtain their land orders for "Special Settlement Land." Unless this is done, they might find it difficult to obtain their land contiguous to one another.

North of the Waikato there are no grassy plains, and no natural grass worth mentioning. The land is all covered either with forest shrubs or fern. Generally speaking, the forest land is the best, although there is also very good fern land. Some of the fern land, and almost all the shrubby land, is indifferent. Cattle (a few) often do very well where there is forest, and even in some places chiefly covered with fern; but sheep will not do at all until artificial grass are produced.

Forest land, 40 to 50 miles from Auckland, can be cleared, sown down with grass, and fenced with a rough fence, at about £410s. per acre. The trees are cut down in winter, or early spring, i.e., before, or early in October, burnt off in the following March, and the grass seed sown on the ashes as they are cold. One of my sons has now a considerable number of cattle on land of this description, the timber on which was cut down twelve months ago.

Vegetables of most kinds grow here, more or less vigorously, all the year round; potatoes, however, don't do well to be planted earlier than July, or later than the end of this month.

The country, I consider, to be a very healthy one—I do believe one of the healthiest in the world,—and I know no reason why people upwards of 50 years of age might not come along with the younger members of their families. They page 52would be more likely to lengthen their days than to shorten them by so doing.

I do not think that in ordinary seasons any inconvenience will be felt from the climate. The heat is not greater than it often is in England, and is very rarely sultry; but the warm weather continues longer, say from December till the end of February, and occasionally (twice since I came here 10 years ago) we have had very warm and dry summers.

I honestly believe that for persons who ought to emigrate to any Colony this is an excellent country to settle in; but I would earnestly impress on you that it is not every one who is fitted to be a settler in a new country, and that it is impossible for persons residing in Britain to form any distinct idea of the sort of life they must, for awhile, live in any new Colony.

To be a successful Colonist, a person must either possess considerable Capital, be shrewd, steady and not fastidious in his habits; or he must be possessed of strong arms and a stout heart, be able and willing to work, sober, and hopeful; such men I have not known to fail, nor do I expect I ever shall.

There is a work recently published in England on New Zealand by a Mr. Swainson (late Attorney General here) which I have no doubt will contain reliable information. And Messrs. Ridgway and Sons (40, Leicester Square, London) Agents for this Province, will be ready at all times to give such information as they from time to time receive from this country.

(Signed) R. B. Lusk,
Immigration Agent for the Province of Auckland.