The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 29
[New Zealand and the South Sea Islands, and Their Relation to the Empire]
I Propose first to ask you to allow me to give you a few facts about New Zealand and the South Sea Islands, and, subsequently, to consider these facts in relation to the great subject of a Federated Empire. As practical men, I am sure you will agree with me that the question of Federation must be considered on more than general grounds. Whenever it is discussed with the idea of deciding some immediate proposition for putting it in force, it will have to bear the brunt of the most searching investigation in relation to its effects on every part of the vast dominions which it concerns. As an ardent advocate of Federation, I think I shall humbly perform some small service to the cause if I discuss the condition of that part of the Empire with which I am best acquainted, and point out how the various facts to which I allude have, more or less, a bearing on the great question itself. If those connected with the central seat of the Empire would perform a like task, a step would be made towards focussing the various interests to be served, which would greatly aid the final determination of the exact details of the plan to be advocated. When the day arrives for propounding the scheme with a view to its immediate adoption, the realms of generalisation and of sentiment, in which at present the question too much dwells, will have to be deserted for a matter-of-fact material and precise footing on the dominions themselves which are the subject of the proposal.
How to reach New Zealand naturally is the first inquiry. New Zealand, in common with some of the Australian Colonies, enjoys this advantage: a visit to it may be made the excuse for sauntering over almost every portion of the habitable world. The emigrant whose one idea is to reach the land he intends to adopt may find his best route in a direct sailing vessel. Excellent ships, excellently found, constantly leave Great Britain for various ports in New Zealand, and passages may be obtained at from £15 to £50, according to the class the emigrant desires to travel. If pleasure ispage 4
his object, or if with even business objects in view, he can afford time and money, a wide range of selection lies open to him. He may proceed to either Canada or the United States, and after roaming over the Eastern States at his ease, find his way to Chicago by one of the innumerable lines of railway that converge on that marvellous commercial centre. From Chicago he can proceed by way of Omaha, by railway, to the far West. From New York to San Francisco it takes seven days, and from London San Francisco may be reached in nineteen days. The traveller by this route, however, generally prefers to loiter some time on the road. From San Francisco splendidly-appointed and powerful steamers run to New Zealand in twenty-three days. On their way they call at the interesting kingdom of Hawaia, or as it is often called, the Sandwich Islands. Hawaia is interesting from many points of view; one of great moment as affecting the future of the numerous islands of the Southern Ocean is the capacity for governing, and for being governed under a constitutional system, exhibited by the native race. Recently Hawaia entered into a treaty with the United States, in virtue of which, in exchange for the admission of American goods to Hawaia free of duty, the sugar produced in Hawaia is admitted to the United States free of duty. This is equivalent to something like a bonus of £15 a ton. Its effect may be recognised. From a dull, lethargic condition, Hawaia has sprung into an animated existence, comparable only with the vitality one notices when gold in quantity is newly-discovered in a country in which it was unsuspected. What does it matter—gold, diamonds, sugar, oil? Let any country suddenly discover an undreamt-of source of wealth, and its inhabitants are not slow to make use of it. £15 a ton added to the value of sugar has, in little more than one year, nearly doubled its production, and Hawaia, under the impulse the United States has kindly lent it, will probably become the seat of manufacture of colossal fortunes. But we must proceed on our voyage. The route from Hawaia passes close to the Navigator or Samoan group of islands. It would, I think, have been better for the English Government to have taken possession of these instead of Fiji, if the annexation of only one group was to be permitted. It is sadly a pity to allow these islands, the best in many respects of all Polynesia, to remain as they are—the theatre of innumerable lawless scenes. The San Francisco steamer touches Auckland, and then proceeds to Sydney. Coastal steamers carry the passengers from Auckland to any part of New Zealand they desire to reach.page 5
may visit almost every part of Southern Europe, Egypt, India, Java, Sumatra, and Singapore en route to New Zealand by one of the many plans which can be adopted in connection with the route by Suez or the Canal. The passenger can embark at Southampton, and proceeding through the Mediterranean, stopping at Gibraltar at Malta and after passing through the Suez Canal, at Suez and Aden, he can reach Galle in the Island of Ceylon without change of steamer. Thence he can embark in a steamer which, after calling at Albany in West Australia, and Glenelg in South Australia, will land him in Melbourne. Instead of proceeding by sea and land to Suez, he may roam through Europe, and from Marseilles, Trieste, or Brindisi reach Alexandria. After making himself acquainted with Egypt he may reach Suez. He can then travel over India if he like, and when he arrives at Galle he is not bound to the route before mentioned to Melbourne. He can take steamer to Singapore, and thence, by way of Torres Straits, touching at various points, including Batavia, Somerset, and Bowen, reach Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, and Sydney, the capital of New South Wales. From Sydney there are frequent steamers to New Zealand.
"—traverse Paynim shores and cross earth's central line,"
The following approximately represents the time from England to New Zealand by the various routes: By sailing vessel, 90 days; by San Francisco route, 41 days; by route by sea through the Canal to Suez by Galle and Melbourne, 61 days; by overland to Brindisi, and by railway across Isthmus of Suez, 53 days; by overland to Brindisi by Singapore, Brisbane, and Sydney, 61 days.
Not without an object have I thus referred to the various ways of reaching New Zealand. Some of my audience, thoroughly familiar with what I have described, will, I fear, accuse me of a commonplace introduction. But there are many who take an interest in the Colony less well informed than those of my hearers to whom I have alluded. At any rate, most people will agree with me that the circumstances of a country cannot be well understood unless amongst those circumstances is taken into account its connection and means of communication with other countries.page 6
This brings me to two remarkable facts; facts which will, I think, materially shape the future destiny of New Zealand, viz there is no country of any moment which possesses in proportion to its area such an extensive sea-board, nor is there any civilised country of importance so completely isolated from other countries. It is customary to term New Zealand the Great Britain of the South, but Great Britain is twenty miles from Europe, New Zealand a thousand miles at the least from Australia. Its immense sea-board must inevitably tend to make New Zealand an essentially maritime country. Its isolated position, not I admit without some disadvantages as regards commerce, has compensating qualifications—in the self-helpfulness, self-reliance, and love of country it is calculated to produce. Without any artificial fiscal provision, it gives great advantage to local productions and manufactures. They start in the race favourably weighted in competing with foreign producers. When it is considered that its mineral wealth is abundant, and that it can produce all the staples that thrive in climates varying from the temperate to the sub-tropical, it will be seen that within itself New Zealand is almost the epitome of a whole hemisphere. Within its narrow limits thousands of different interests will, in course of time, materially aid each other.
Pray do not do me the injustice to suppose that I wish to see New Zealand independent of other countries, or think that her being so would be a source of profit to herself. The great industries of the country will grow only by competition with other countries. Time will gradually show what the Colony can do best itself, what it can best procure from abroad, and what it can best supply in exchange.
A long line upon the waters, the three islands of New Zealand extend over a length of nearly 1,200 miles. Their general direction is north-north-east to south-south-west. North and south the islands extend about 900 miles, so that they possess a great variety of climate. Southland is of nearly the same temperature as England, the north of Auckland is semi-tropical. The average breadth of the islands is about 120 miles. No part of the Colony is distant from the sea-coast more than seventy-five miles. At Auckland the island narrows so that from coast to coast can be reached in six miles. The north island is about 500 miles long; its greatest breadth about 250 miles. The south island is about the same length—its greatest breadth 200 miles. The area of the north island is about 44,000 square miles, or rather less than than of England. The area of the south is 55,000 square miles, or about the size of England and Wales. The two islands are separated by Cook's Straits, page 7 thirteen miles across at the narrowest part. Stewart's Island is to the south of the Southern (sometimes called Middle) Island, and is separated from it by Fouveaux Straits. The three islands have an area almost equal to Great Britain and Ireland.
Let us run rapidly over them. But first it must be remarked that though as separate governments the provinces cease to exist, still as provincial districts they constitute convenient geographical divisions. Let us suppose ourselves at Auckland, on the east coast of the province of the same name in the North Island. Auckland possesses in the waters of the Waitemata and the surrounding scenery one of the loveliest harbours in the world. For beauty it is often joined with the celebrated harbours of Bio Janiero, of Naples, and of Sydney. To the north of Auckland the province extends some 200 miles. The water facilities of tins portion of the Colony are very considerable. Here dwells the Ngapuhi tribe of Maories, as the native race are termed, whose lasting adherence to the English rule have gained for them the title of the "loyal Ngapuhi." At the Bay of Islands, 120 miles north of the city of Auckland, the treaty of Waitangi, by which the Maories acknowledged themselves British subjects, was signed in 1840. The capabilities of the northern part of the Auckland province have as yet been sparingly developed. It is known to contain large deposits of coal, it possesses splendid forests of the far-famed kauri tree, its soil yields well to the cultivator. I scarcely think that we know yet for what production that soil is best suited. There is a railway at the Bay of Islands, to connect the coast with the principal coalfield of this part of the Colony. Some portion of a railway has already been constructed which will ultimately connect Auckland with the northernmost part of the island.
Let us return again to Auckland city. Some few hours by steamer, without leaving the waters of the harbour, the gold-fields of the Thames and of Coromandel can be reached, situated on either side of the Frith of Thames. Splendid gold mines have been found and are being worked on both these fields. Fifty miles further up the Thames River there is the Ohinemuri district, supposed to be rich in gold, but which has hitherto not been much worked, containing also rich agricultural land. Coming back again to Auckland, six miles across a narrow isthmus, the west coast of the island is reached, and here is situated the Manukau harbour. The entrance to the Manukau is not good in all weathers. The harbour itself is serviceable, and is much used by steamers. From the Manukau the route to the south is shorter than by the east coast. Some forty miles from Auckland the page 8 Waikato district commences. This was conquered from the natives in the war which commenced in 1863. It is a rapidly- improving district, containing a large area of good land, some of which is still in the hands of the natives. Cultivation is proceeding within it to an immense extent. It is already connected with Auckland by railway, and the extension of this railway will ultimately connect Auckland with the southern part of the island. The Waikato is a fine river. It finds its exit on the west coast, thirty miles south of the Manukau heads. The provincial district of Auckland is very extensive, and varied in point of resource. It has a delightful climate, a large quantity of excellent land, and great mineral wealth. Its forests are magnificent. In Auckland only is the giant kauri pine tree found.
Let us now proceed south from the Waitemata harbour. In a few hours the steamer passes Tauranga and Opotiki, both fine settlements, and both also subjected to the use of the colonists by the results of the 1868 war. The last is in the Bay of Plenty. Here the island widens out, the east cape is rounded, and we soon come to Gisborne, a rising town on the shores of Poverty Bay. The district of this bay is by no means of the character its name would denote, but, on the contrary, possesses some of the richest land in the colony. Hero are found innumerable springs of petroleum oil. Efforts are being made to obtain this valuable product in quantity by boring. The amount obtainable on the surface is comparatively small. After passing Poverty Bay, the province of Hawke Bay is reached, and we soon come to its capital, Napier, one of the most rising towns in the Colony. There is splendid land in the province of Hawke Bay. Before proceeding further south, mention should be made of the Taupo Lake in the interior of the island, which has for a long while been regarded as a key of surpassing importance towards securing the peace of the whole island. Happily the relations of the two races no longer make it necessary to look upon Taupo from that strategical point of view which at one time invested it with much interest. Nor must we leave the interior of the island without a reference, however bare, to the numerous hot and cold mineral springs possessing curative virtues of the highest moment. From the well-authenticated cures traced to these waters, it is not too much to expect that the day will come when they will share with similar springs in Europe the visits of invalids. Already they are much resorted to from all parts of New Zealand, from Australia, and from India.
We leave Napier, and, in from twenty-six to thirty hours, reach Wellington, the seat of government of the Colony. Wellington page 9 possesses an excellent harbour, and is the port of a large extent of productive country. No town in the Colony is advancing more rapidly in wealth and importance than Wellington. It is the capital of the province of the same name. We will now go back to Auckland, and start from the Manukau harbour. In a few hours we reach New Plymouth, the capital of Taranaki province. This district has been called the garden of the Colony. It is impossible to overrate its value. In past times it has unhappily been the scene of native troubles. In proportion, indeed, to its value seems to have been the reluctance of the natives to allow it to pass to the use of the colonists. The country in which dwells the people of the so-called Maori king lies between New Plymouth and the centre of the Waikato district. Although for years there has been no open hostilities with the king, he has dwelt in his country in more or less sullen isolation, not violating the laws, but declining to come within the pale of European settlement. In 1878, Sir George Arney, the Acting-Governor, my colleague the late Sir Donald McLean, and I, were accidentally compelled by stress of weather to take shelter in the harbour of Kawhia, situated a little above New Plymouth. Kawhia is the last harbour that remains exclusively in the Maoris' hands, and so highly do they value it that no provocation has ever been held sufficient to justify our taking it from them, as, of course, could easily have been done during the times of war. On the occasion to which I refer, a touching interview took place on board our little vessel between Sir Donald McLean and the king's son. Great benefit arose from this interview. It led to an approach to friendly relations with the king, and at length, in 1875, Sir Donald McLean met the king at Waitomo. The anxious desire, impossible to be realised, of the king to be restored to his old territory of Waikato has delayed the completion of terms of amity and friendship with the king and his followers. Sir Donald McLean, whose life was passed in devoted efforts to ameliorate the condition of the native race, and to bring into harmony the relations of the two races, died scarcely more than a year ago. Before he passed away "to the great majority," he had the happiness of knowing that his life-long labour had borne fruit, that all fear of anything like a native war had ceased to exist, and that time and negotiation only were required to settle the exact terms of a peaceful settlement of all past differences with the Maories.
The Maori is a noble specimen of man; there is little doubt that he comes from the fine race that people the island of Sumatra. No one ever understood more thoroughly than Sir Donald McLean what was needed to bring the Maori to civilisation. Useful page 10 labour was the great object for the Maori which he always kept in view. In the love of and capacity for work lie the boundary lines between civilised and uncivilised races. The one has aspirations utterly unknown to the other. The process of civilisation may be described as that of teaching to uncivilised man that his life has greater objects than those of mere existence; that he has not merely to live himself, but to aid by his life the lives of others; that there is a tomorrow as well as today; that the path of improvement is of practically illimitable extent; that nothing worth having can be reckoned on without true, hard, and conscientious work; and, above all, that the great Creator of the Universe has so fashioned man, that whilst his improvement is due to his own exertions, those exertions are themselves a source of happiness, and no existence is so miserable as that which is devoid of occupation. The humblest member of a civilised race looks forward to the possibility of improving his position. The unwritten condition of civilised existence is a continuous and innumerable series of grades, and no civilised being is so high that he has not an ambition to fulfil. The uncivilised man, on the other hand, has a craving for rest. The dormant nobility of his character finds an ennobling channel in an occasional lust of conquest, his idea of labour is to obtain by force or stratagem that which does not belong to him. In his mode of warfare he often shows that, given to him the knowledge by which he may worthily use his powers, there are within him the makings of a great human being.
"Beneath the rule of men entirely great
The pen is mightier than the sword. Behold
The Arch-Enchanter's wand—itself a nothing—
But taking sorcery from the master hand
To paralyse the Cæsars!
Take away the sword,
States can be saved without it."
In after years we learnt to realise this, and yet that we did so we owe to the chivalry of the Maori race. In 1869, the British Government decided to remove every soldier from New Zealand. To make the desertion thoroughly complete, the warlike stores, even I believe the flags, were sold or handed over. So complete a renunciation seems peculiarly marvellous now, compared, as one cannot help comparing it, with the active aid which a different party in power are at present lending to another Colony. I have heard that the desertion of New Zealand has been boastfully justified by the result. It would be well for those who dare indulge in the boast to be silent whilst men still live who know the intensity of the danger to which the mercenary conduct of the Government of Great Britain subjected the colonists. To the chivalry of the Maories themselves, indeed, is largely due the fact that frightful disaster did not follow the mother-country's desertion of her young offspring. Had Titokowaru and Te Kooti, who were in arms on the opposite coasts of the north island, united, and the king joined them, immense losses would have followed. It has always seemed to me that the Maories themselves, in scorn of the desertion, felt more friendly to the colonists in consequence. One thing at least may be said, the abandonment of Great Britain led the colony to adopt that bold scheme of immigration and public works to which I shall presently refer.
It is due to the present native minister, Mr. Sheehan, to say, that notwithstanding past political differences he has generously recognised the value of Sir Donald McLean's policy and labour. In an elaborate and able statement of the native position and future native policy, Mr. Sheehan used some words which I quote, as their assuring effects may be valuable: "Now I come to a question which has been raised on several occasions by the public press—namely, the possibility of another native outbreak. In the first place, I will mention to the House what is at the present time the precise number of the native population. The last census, taken in 1874, gave us the following return: For the North Island—males, 28,649; females, 19,769; or a total of 48,418. The population of the South Island is about 3,600, making a gross total of about 46,000. We must also remember how that population is distributed. A large portion of it is to the north of Auckland, another large portion is located between Auckland and the Waikato, another large portion is situated on the East Coast, and yet another large portion is located in Hawke's Bay. I say that in all these districts the chances of a native outbreak are absolutely infinitesimal. The natives of those districts themselves would, when- page 12 ever called upon, do as they have done before—assist us to put down any native outbreak. If there be any part of the native population in the North Island who we may expect would be the prime movers in a native outbreak it is those who live in the King country. The King country contains only 5,255 persons, and of these but 2,856 are males. Of course we must not forget that when a crisis comes a number of native women can take up arms, and use them with considerable effect; but, looking at the fact that we have 25,000 or 80,000 loyal natives on our side, the chances of a native outbreak are simply nil."
The greatest efforts are now made to educate Maori children, and especially they are taught the English language. In two generations, such of them as remain will, in my opinion, be an educated and civilised people, and from them the race will increase and be renewed.
But we must rejoin our steamer at New Plymouth. We pass the enormous Mount Egmont, rising almost sheer from the sea-coast. Frequently on a bright day a cloud will envelop the middle of the mountain, but above it clear in the sunshine will be seen an immense snow-covered pyramid suspended apparently in midair. We come to Cook's Straits, and pass not far from the entrance to Wanganui, a town situated in the river of the same name. Wanganui is supported by a splendidly productive district, and has a great future before it. Between Wanganui and Wellington is the Feilding Settlement. It is, I venture to think, of peculiar interest to us, for it has, so to speak, something of the character of this Institute. We all know how much the Colonial Institute is indebted to the constant support it has received from its President, the Duke of Manchester. The Feilding Settlement is similarly indebted to the same support. It is conducted by the Emigrant Aid Association, of which his Grace is chairman. I have pleasure in adding that the Settlement promises, like this Institution, to be a great success.
We now come to Wellington. The distance to it by water from Manukau is much less than by the east coast, so that the usual water route from Auckland to Wellington is by the Manukau and west coast.
A few words now about the railways in the North Island. Their general design is a complete trunk from Wellington to Auckland, with a branch to the east or west coast, according as it may be decided whether the main line shall run along the east or west coast. The railway is being constructed from Wellington to the Manawatu Gorge, which lies about 100 miles to the north-east of Wellington. page 13 It is nearly opened to the prosperous Wairarapa district. From Napier the railway is being taken towards the Manawatu Gorge. On the west coast from Wanganui the line is also being taken toward the same point, so that from Wellington there will be a line bifurcating at the Manawatu, to Napier on the one side and to Waganui on the other. From Wanganui the line is continued towards New Plymouth to the north, whilst from New Plymouth it is being carried south towards Waganui. I have already said that the line has been carried from Auckland to the Waikato. It is a question how the line is to be taken from the Waikato south. Is it to be carried to the east of Lake Taupo to Hawke Bay, or westward to New Plymouth? The latter route has hitherto been forbidden. It passes through the heart of the King country. The number of white men who are acquainted with this country are very few. I observe it stated in the papers that Sir George Grey hopes to be able to obtain the consent of the natives to carrying the railway through their land from Waikato to New Plymouth. I do not hesitate to say if this can be done its effects will be, economically, commercially, and politically, most beneficial. In my opinion such a through communication would so operate on the widely ramified interests of the whole Island as intrinsically to largely increase the value of the land in it available for cultivation. The money value arising from the proposed communication might be set down in millions.
We will now pass to the middle, or south Island. Suppose that we take steamer from Wellington, we can reach Nelson, the capital town of the provincial district of the same name, in a very few hours. Nelson possesses one of the most enjoyable climates in the world; the town itself is like a large garden. There is a great deal of business carried on between it and the gold-fields of the west coast of the middle island. There is a railway for a few miles out of Nelson, but it is not yet decided how Nelson will be brought into communication with the rest of the middle island railway system. For many years gold was known to exist on the upper part of the west coast, but the results were small until about 1864-65. I can well remember that up to this time the greater part of the west coast was considered absolutely worthless. The popular idea of it was that it always rained there, that the soil had become a sort of peat from the constant damp, and that even wealth would be dearly purchased by an enforced residence there. But the great wizard Gold has changed all this. He waved his wand, and just as he had previously done for Otago, and earlier still for Victoria, he wrought with the magic of the auri sacra fames a page 14 change so prodigious that it is difficult to believe in the anterior condition. That territory, regarded as worthless in 1864, has up to the end of 1876 produced gold to the value of £14,000,000. Prosperous towns have come into existence, and gradually the settlement is progressing further south. Gold, as is usually the case, has proved the forerunner to further wealth. Coal of a splendid description has been found along the coast in great abundance, and is about being worked on a large scale. The forests of the west coast contain excellent timber, and are very extensive. Proceeding south along the west coast, we pass Westport, at the mouth of the Buller River, Greymouth on the Grey River, and then we leave Nelson for the Westland provincial district.
It is this province, which is the new territory opened since 1864, to which I have referred. Previously there had been some, but not much, settlement on the west coast of the Nelson province. Hokitika, a thriving town, twenty miles from the Grey, is the capital of Westland. A great deal of settlement is proceeding farther south. Its traces are to be seen occasionally from the steamer. But the gazer as the vessel steams on loses all interest in man's puny work in the stupendous efforts of nature, the records of which meet his eye in the grand scenery of the west coast. A word must be said about the Sounds. Within them a large vessel may go close to the shore, and be moored to the trees. The southerly part of the west coast is grandly picturesque. Its resources are little known. Steps are being taken to open constant communication between it and the gold-fields of Otago. It should be observed that Westland extends south only to the Awarua River, in latitude about 44° S. Beyond it is Otago, which stretches across the island from east to west. Out of the southern extremity the Southland province was carved. Rounding the island, and passing through Fouveaux Straits, which separate it from Stewart's Island, we come in the straits to Southland's port, the Bluff, and twenty miles inland is Southland's capital, the prosperous and highly-favoured town of Invercargill. With a small gap only to be filled up you can travel by railway from the Bluff to Dunedin, passing through a large extent of cultivated land, and wonderfully prolific agricultural and pastoral districts. The steamer takes us in a few hours from the Bluff to Port Chalmers, and eight miles further up the harbour we come to Dunedin. Comparisons are odious, and it is by no means my purpose to institute them between different parts of the Colony. But I may say of the people of Dunedin that they have literally displayed a genius for commerce. The advancement of Dunedin is one of the marvels, of which, indeed, there are several in the page 15 Australasian Colonies. Dunedin is itself, to my mind, the Chicago of Australasia.
We have reached Dunedin from Wellington by travelling all round the west and south of the middle island. But direct from Wellington, Dunedin is scarcely more than thirty hours' steaming.
Before I leave Otago I must say that this province was originally a Scotch settlement. Sixteen years have passed since all idea has been dispelled of maintaining in it an exclusively Scotch element. The gold discoveries in 1861 suddenly brought to Otago a large influx of population, and the old and the new, after a little effort, fraternised together. It may safely be said that the Scotch distinction now only remains in the sterling character, frugality, and indomitable perseverance of the people. Proceeding up the coast north, Oamaru and Timaru are passed. Both these towns are singularly thriving, and both owe their prosperity to the agricultural and pastoral wealth of the districts of which they are the collecting points. After Oamaru we come to the Waitaki river, which separates Otago from Canterbury. It is in the latter province that Timaru is situated.
But we will not enter Canterbury by a back door. We must land at its chief port, Lyttelton, which may be reached from Wellington in about fifteen hours, and from Dunedin in about twenty hours.
Canterbury was settled under the auspices of the Church of England. It curiously retains its English character. I have frequently heard people say it is more English than any part, not only of New Zealand, but of any other Colony they have visited. The pioneers of Canterbury were a hardy, determined, and singularly able body of men. Amongst them were some of conspicuous ability. Need I go further than to name John Robert Godley. How frequently is it the case that the obstacles of nature educate men's minds. The first settlers of Canterbury had to contend with a most discouraging obstacle. Everything combined to recommend Christchurch as the capital, but Christchurch was separated from the port by a high range of rugged hills, well-nigh impassable. An indifferent road was made by a large circuit, but the whole province suffered materially from its isolation from the sea coast. Then stepped forward William Sefton Moorhouse. What did it matter that the inhabitants were few?—he had infinite faith in Canterbury's future, and he boldly persuaded these few people to cut a tunnel under the hills at a cost of something like a quarter of a million of money. It is this faith in the country's capabilities that has made New Zealand what it is. Mr. Macan- page 16 drew, the superintendent of Otago, had as much faith in Otago as his brother superintendent, Mr. Moorhouse, had in Canterbury, and both in Otago and Canterbury they never failed to urge on great works to open up the country. A history of the industrial progress of these two provinces would fill a large volume. The subject is so fascinating to me that I feel if I embarked on it I should try your patience, and I have yet much to say.
Christchurch is a busy, prosperous place, with some of the characteristics of an English cathedral city. In 1857 the population was 973; it is now over 13,000. In 1857 the number of houses was 177; the number is now nearly 5,000. The railway from Christchurch goes north towards Marlborough. In a few months the line south will be opened for traffic through to Dunedin. At present there are some gaps not yet completed. What shall I say of the far-famed Canterbury plain? An enormous plain without trees, and with great rivers liable at flood times to carve out changes in their route—its first aspect could not have been altogether charming. But the value of its land was recognised, and the high price, for the Colonies, of £2 per acre was set upon it with the right to select anywhere. For years and years it has been greedily purchased, and though the best land has gone, and the purchaser must now go back to the hills, the land hunger still continues. To the end of 1876 the land revenue of Canterbury amounted to £3,400,000. Of this £553,000 were obtained in 1876, so that the demand has not ceased. When I say that it has not been uncommon to get out of the land the first year more than its cost, you will not wonder at the eagerness to purchase.
Before I take leave of Canterbury I must mention that between Timaru and Lyttleton there is Akaroa, possessing a harbour second to none in the Colony. I venture to predict that Akaroa will become of great importance whenever, as sooner or later must be done, communication is opened between it and the interior.
I have now only to refer to the Marlborough Province. In four hours from Wellington, Picton is reached. It is charmingly situated, and possesses a splendid harbour. A railway of 20 miles takes one to the capital town of the Province-Blenheim. Marlborough has great pastoral and agricultural resources, besides extensive forests of useful timber. It has in addition mineral wealth. A considerable quantity of alluvial gold has been found, and lately I believe some rich auriferous quartz reefs.
I have travelled over Now Zealand with you—in, I admit, a most cursory manner—still I have endeavoured to give you a page 17 traveller's view of its topography. From what I have said you will have no difficulty in remembering that from Auckland you can proceed east or west to Wellington. That in the first case you will take Hawke Bay in your route; in the second Taranaki. That from Wellington west and south you reach Nelson and Westland; that you can reach the west of Otago and Southland also by that route. Lastly, that the usual way to Otago and Southland is by Lyttelton, Canterbury. And that Marlborough lies just across the straits, a little out of the way of the direct route either to Canter-bury or Nelson.
A few words now about the railways of the South Island. Their general design is a through trunk line north and south. The connection between Canterbury and Marlborough and Nelson has yet to be made, as also the connection betwen the east coast and the west. There are several branches, some of them indeed of such importance as to partake of the character of main lines. Especially I may mention the line from Invercargill to the interior lakes, with which Otago is richly gifted, as also the branch from the important inland town of Tokomairiro to Lawrence, the centre of a large gold-field. An equally important line through the centre of Otago is projected, and in Canterbury there are several branch lines.
I will not detain you with a long description of the political institutions of the country; but the subject cannot be left altogether untouched. Until quite lately the Colony was divided into ten provinces. Each province was largely endowed with independent powers of government, especially in relation to all subjects pertaining to settlement. I attribute much of the past progress of the Colony to the minute local care and emulation arising out of these divisions. The time came when a variety of considerations led to its being thought desirable to abolish the separate forms of provincial government, and this change was finally carried into operation little more than twelve months since. It was not effected without a great deal of opposition. When the memory of the bitterness and fierceness of the struggle is somewhat toned down, it will, I think, be recognised that there was something peculiarly creditable to the people of New Zealand in the manner in which the contest was carried on. A larger and more complete revolution of the kind could not be conceived; yet it was effected without anything in the nature of a disturbance from beginning to end. It was in fact argued out, and the will of the majority was accepted. It would have been unfortunate if such a change had been made without that consideration which alone could spring from active page 18 opposition. "Who is there can fail to sympathise with those who, not recognising the necessity for the change, tenaciously clung to the institutions under which the Colony had conspicuously flourished? On the other hand, who can fail to respect the determination which, founded on conviction, peacefully brought about the result? I am not now expressing an opinion on the merits of the subject; my wish is to bring before you a people that can by constitutional means only deal with the largest matters affecting its own destiny.
There is now but one Government in the country. The Governor, appointed by the Crown, acts only with the advice of his ministers, and when that advice is not approved by the majority in Parliament, he seeks fresh advisers, or commands a general election. Parliament, or the Assembly as it is called, consists of two Houses, the one nominated by the Queen, i.e. the Governor, the other elected by the people. If you ask me if a system of party government prevails, I should be puzzled to reply in a very definite manner. There is no doubt an approach to a party system, but parties have little adhesion. Occasionally for a time, whilst a great question or a decided policy is under consideration, parties hold well together; but rarely is there an instance of continued and prolonged party organisation. No constituency ever requires more of a representative than the assurance that he will continue to support this or that Government as long as he is able to approve its measures. I have often asked myself, Are we in respect to party government in advance or behind this country? At the first blush it would appear that want of age and of organisation explains the deficiency in party cohesion, and that time will bring about a different state of things. It may be so, but my observation of late years rather leads me to conclude that party allegiance in this country is undergoing a weakening, not a strengthening process, and I am not sure that the progress of education wall not encourage a tendency to relieve representatives from party organisation. I do not say such a result is desirable; indeed, I think it will make good government very difficult. Be this as it may, it is of great interest to consider whether the Colonial institutions, devised by modern thought, and to a certain extent untrammelled by the tyranny of custom, are in advance of the institutions from which they spring whether, in fact, they will grow to be more like the original, or the original approach to their shape.
I wish to give you as few statistics as possible, for I know how dull it is to listen to a long array of figures, which it is difficult to follow. I shall, in printing this paper, include a synopsis of the page 19 statistics of the twenty-four years ending the 8st December, 1876. These require to be studied to be understood.
I may, however, briefly read a few figures showing the results of last year, 1877:—