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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 32

V. Institutions

page 45

V. Institutions

The ecclesiastical claim first notice.

From the number of sects which exist, it will be seen that the greatest toleration prevails. According to the last census (and from this source all the figures in this chapter are derived) there are about one hundred different forms of belief professed in the Province. Strictly speaking, no one of these bodies has State aid or endowment; for although the Presbyterians have land reserves which yield a considerable revenue, these reserves were not made by the Government, but were a distinctive feature of the Otago Scheme, when a class settlement was intended. The reserves are vested in trustees, and the rents are spent in building churches and manses, on scholarships, and in payment of the salary of L600 a-year to the Professor of Mental and Moral Philosophy in the University. None of the money goes for ministers' stipends.

The Presbyterian Church, being the first planted in the Province, has the largest number of adherents, ministers, and churches. It is not connected with any particular branch of the same persuasion in Britain, but is composed of members from the United Presbyterian, Free, Established, and other Kirks in Scotland, as well as English and Irish Presbyterians. Its work is carried on through a Synod, consisting of four Presbyteries, containing thirty-nine full charges and fifty-five stations. In all the charges and in thirty-seven of the stations, service is held every Sunday, and in the remaining eighteen once a fortnight. Additional ministers are constantly arriving. The means of support is a sustentation fund, to which each of the congregations contributes, and which yields an average of £200 a-year to each minister, which is in general supplemented by the congregation. Each minister has also a manse, and in country districts, a glebe, attached. The total sum collected by this body for last year was £14,560. The number of adherents is 32,189.

Episcopalians rank next in point of numbers, being set down page 46 as 16,809. About four years ago, the Province was erected into a diocese, and ecclesiastical affairs are administered by a Bishop, with at present one Archdeacon and fifteen other clergy licensed to charges. These, together with lay representatives chosen by the several parishes and parochial districts, form the Synod of the diocese. All the fully-constituted parishes have parsonage houses, and the clergy in the country districts have under their care such subordinate places as may be reached from their respective centres. There are also fourteen lay readers in places which cannot as yet receive the regular ministrations of a clergyman. Candidates for preparation for holy orders are now received, and in certain cases students in theology are permitted to present themselves for examination by the Principal of the College, without residence.

In regard to numbers, Roman Catholics take the third place, shewing a total of 7,405. This church is presided over by a Bishop, with ten clergymen, having twenty-one churches and chapels, in which the usual forms of worship are regularly and strictly attended to. There are also eight schools, and one convent, in which religious education is given.

The adherents of the Wesleyan Methodists are 3,075; Baptists, 1,303; Congregational Independents, 1,051; Lutherans, 484. Each of these bodies has handsome and substantial buildings, in which service is regularly held. The majority of them have Sunday Schools, Bible Classes, and Young Men's Christian Association attached to them, the whole of which are carried on with great earnestness and zeal.

The number of Hebrews in the Province is 293. They have a Synagogue in Dunedin. The other sects are numerically small.

The settlers of Otago have from the outset manifested great interest in the advancement of education. The following is a classification of the national institutions which are maintained wholly or in part from the Provincial revenue or from public endowments:—1. District Common Schools in almost every locality where twenty educable children or upwards can be collected together. 2. District Grammar Schools in the chief centres of population. 3. A Boys' and a Girls' High School in Dunedin. 4. A University in Dunedin. 5. A School of Art in page 47 Dunedin. 6. Athenæums, Mechanics' Institute, and public libraries in nearly all the villages, towns and inhabited rural districts. To these may be added, 7. An Industrial School, near Dunedin, for the maintenance and training of boys and girls whose parents are criminal or dissolute. 8. A School in connection with the Otago Benevolent Institution, for the board and education of orphans and other destitute children. 9. Two Free Day Schools in Dunedin, for neglected poor children.

With the exception of the University, the whole of these institutions are to a greater or less extent under the control of the Otago Education Board, which is composed of His Honor the Superintendent, the Members of the Provincial Executive, and the Speaker of the Provincial Council. The following is a summary of the duties committed to the Board by the Education Ordinance:—To exercise a general superintendence over all the public schools; to define the limits of the educational districts; to promote the establishment of schools wherever needed; to direct the expenditure and due application of all moneys appropriated by the Provincial Council for the purposes of education; to manage the education reserves; to fix the qualifications of teachers; and, through its inspectors, to inquire into and report, from time to time, upon the state of education and the condition of the several schools within the Province. The composition of the Board was in former years the subject of much consideration and discussion, and it was at length constituted, as at present, on the principle, that as the expenditure on education is mainly defrayed from the Provincial revenue, it is indispensable that so large an amount of public money should be placed at the disposal only of a Board whose members are directly and entirely responsible to the Provincial Council.

Subject to the general supervision of the Education Board, the schools are placed under the immediate control of School Committees, elected annually by the owners and occupiers of land and householders in the respective educational districts. Each Committee must consist of not less than five nor more than nine members, a majority of whom must be parents of families.

There are four classes of district Schools—Grammar Schools, Main Schools, Side Schools, and Temporarily-subsidized Schools. page 48 The Grammar Schools, of which there are already five, are situated in the chief centres of population. As a rule, the Grammar School comprises three different departments—an infant and needlework department, under a matron and assistants; an intermediate school, under the second master and assistants; and an upper school, under the headmaster, who, in addition to exercising a general control over the whole establishment, is charged with the duty of giving instruction in the higher branches of education to the more advanced pupils. The Main Schools are established in the more populous districts, where, as a rule, an average attendance of upwards of forty pupils can be secured. When the attendance is sufficiently numerous in any Main School, a schoolmistress, or a teacher of sewing, and one or more pupil-teachers, are employed in addition to the head master. The Side Schools and the Temporarily-subsidized Schools are for the most part placed in more recently-settled localities, where the children are young and few in number. The qualifications of the masters of the Grammar and Main Schools are fixed very high, and they may be described as corresponding to the qualifications usually required of Scottish burgh and parish schoolmasters respectively. No election by a School Committee is valid until the teacher elected has produced a certificate of qualification from Her Majesty's Committee of Privy Council on Education, a recognized Education Board in any British Colony, or the Board's Inspector of Schools, and such other evidence of fitness and good character as may be required by the Board. No one can attain the full position of a Grammar or Main School teacher who cannot furnish satisfactory evidence of good character, respectable scholarship, and experience and success in school teaching, Many of the present teachers have attended Government training schools in Britain or in the Colonies, and a number of them have been students of a University. A less stringent rule is followed with regard to the admission of side and temporarily-subsidized School teachers, when trained or experienced masters cannot be obtained. Good character, youth, and a fair amount of scholarship, together with the probability of proving an efficient instructor of youth, are in such a case sufficient to secure a temporary appointment on trial. It is in the power of any page 49 person so appointed to obtain a full certificate of competency, after satisfactorily undergoing probation for a sufficient period. Many of the Side School teachers, however, possess superior qualifications, and only hold their present appointments in the hope of securing higher positions as they fall vacant.

With a view to avoid the inconvenience which might ensue if a teacher's engagement could not be determined by the School Committee, "without fixing upon him the stigma of crime or moral delinquency," it has been provided that all engagements under the Education Ordinance shall be deemed yearly engagements, which may be determined, after the expiry of the first year, by three months' notice on either side; but, as a means of protection from improper and undue local influences, no School Committee has power to determine a teacher's engagement without the sanction of the Board previously obtained. A competent, prudent, and faithful teacher's tenure of office may, therefore, be regarded as quite fixed and secure.

The Board, out of funds voted by the Provincial Council, pays salaries at the following rates: To head masters of Grammar Schools, £200; Main School teachers, £100; Side School teachers and school-mistresses, £75; Temporarily-subsidized School teachers, £60; sewing, teacher's, £25; and these salaries are augmented by the School Committee from the school fees, subscriptions, or other moneys raised locally. The Board also erects the school-houses and the teachers' residences, and supplies maps and other school appliances. It pays two-thirds of the cost of keeping the school-buildings in repair, the whole of the salaries of pupil-teachers, and the school fees of orphan and destitute children. The remainder of the expenses are defrayed from the school fees or moneys raised locally. The school fees generally may be regarded as moderate, when the rates of wages and other remuneration are taken into account. It was attempted, from 1862 to 1864, to provide for a large proportion of the school expenditure by means of local rates on houses and lands; but owing, mainly it is believed, to the great difficulty experienced in equitably and economically assessing property in so young a Colony, the rates were abolished in 1864, by almost general consent.

In the course of the last fifteen years, numerous portions of page 50 land of various areas have been set apart as an educational endowment. The annual proceeds of this endowment are as yet comparatively small; but in course of time these reserves will produce a revenue which will go far to maintain the public schools of Otago without aid from the ordinary annual revenue of the Province or Colony. These ordinary educational reserves are, in addition to the magnificent reserve of 200,000 acres granted by the Crown, for the endowment of the University of Otago.

The Synod of Otago has the control of a valuable educational endowment, and it has resolved to endow chairs in the University of Otago as the educational fund at its disposal may from time to time permit. Already the Synod has endowed a Professorship of Moral and Mental Philosophy in the University to the extent of £600 per annum.

A High School for Boys has been maintained in Dunedin since 1863. This institution was established with a view to impart instruction in "all the branches of a liberal education—the French and other modern languages, the Latin and Greek classics, mathematics, and such other branches of science as the advancement of the Colony and the increase of the population may from time to time require." The school fees are £8 per annum.

A Girl's High School was established in Dunedin four years ago, and it has been numerously attended. The ordinary course of instruction in this school embraces a thorough English education, namely, reading, grammar, composition, elocution, history, natural science, geography, writing, arithmetic, class-singing, drawing, French, and industrial work. Music (piano), singing (private lessons), gymnastics, dancing, German, and other branches, are taught by visiting teachers as extra subjects. The school fee for the ordinary course is £8 per annum for the junior, and £10 for the senior classes. There is a boarding establishment in connection with each of the High Schools for the accommodation of pupils from a distance.

The University in Dunedin may fitly be said to form the cope-stone of the public educational system of Otago. A very hand some, commodious, and centrally-situated stone building, which is reported to have cost over £30,000, has been set apart as a University. As already mentioned, 200,000 acres of land have page 51 been granted as an endowment for this institution. The present rental of this valuable estate is considerable, but it may be regarded as trifling in comparison with what may be reasonably expected when the existing leases fall in. The following chairs have already been instituted and filled by distinguished graduates of British Universities, viz.:—Classics (including Latin, Greek, and the English language and literature), mathematics and natural philosophy, chemistry (theoretical and practical), and mental and moral philosophy. A fifth chair (anatomy and physiology) has been recently resolved upon, and steps have been taken to secure the services of a competent professor from the home country. Arrangements have also been made for the delivery of lectures on law, mineralogy, and other subjects during the university session. The average attendance of students during the three sessions already past has been about eighty.

A valuable and carefully-selected library for the University is in course of formation. It is intended that this library shall also to a large extent serve the purposes of a free public library. A suite of rooms in the University building is occupied as a Provincial Museum, under the curatorship of Captain Hutton, who is already widely known as an able and enthusiastic naturalist. The contents of the Museum are, even now, comparatively numerous and valuable, and a separate and suitable building is now in course of erection.

A School of Art has been maintained in Dunedin for the last five years, under a very skilful and enthusiastic master, who, in addition to teaching the classes in the institution, gives regular instruction to nearly 1,500 of the elder pupils of the public schools in the city and suburbs. The school was attended in 1874 by twenty-seven teachers and pupil-teachers, by forty-six ladies at the afternoon class, and by 105 artisans and youths in the evenings. Instruction is given in freehand drawing; outline from copies and from the round; shading and painting from copies and from the round; painting from nature, in water-colors and oil; drawing and painting the human figure; designing, practical geometry, perspective, mechanical and architectural drawing, &c. The drawings and paintings already executed by a number of the students in the several classes evince great talent and industry. page 52 The drawing-master reports that the good conduct and diligence of the students while in school are "beyond all praise." The school is already in possession of an extensive and valuable collection of casts, models, copies, &c., and additions are made to it from time to time. The School of Art is at present accommodated in the University building, but it will be transferred shortly to a suite of lofty, well-lighted, and commodious rooms, provided expressly for the purpose, on the upper floor of the new Normal Institution.

Athenæums, Mechanics' Institutes, and public libraries, to the number of about eighty, are in successful operation throughout the Province. These institutions are very liberally aided by the Provincial Government, both as regards the erection of buildings and the procuring of books. "In nearly every town of the Province there is now a reading-room in connection with the public circulating library. They are supplied, in greater or less abundance, with newspapers and the standard English periodicals, and are daily resorted to by the members. Some of them are open during the entire day and evening, some only in the evening." it is stated in the Education Report for 1872, upon good authority, "that the public library books were not only to be seen in the more comfortable and accessible dwellings in the settled districts, but that it was no uncommon thing to find recently-published English books of a high class, bearing the Board's stamp upon them, in the shepherd's solitary abode among the hills, and in the digger's hut in gullies accessible only by mountain bridle tracks."

"I went round the town (Lawrence), and visited the Athenæum, or reading-room. In all these towns there are libraries, and the books are strongly bound and well thumbed. Carlyle, Macaulay, and Dickens are certainly better known to small communities in New Zealand than they are to similar congregations of men and women at home. The schools, hospitals, reading-rooms, and University were all there, and all in useful operation; so that life in the Province (of Otago) may be said to be a happy life, and one in which men and women may and do have food to eat and clothes to wear, books to read, and education to enable them to read the books."—Anthony Trollope's Australia and New Zealand. Vol. II., pp. 336 and 347. London edition.

"The progress achieved in all the other elements of material prosperity is equally remarkable; while the Provincial Council has made noble provision for primary, secondary, and industrial schools; for hospitals and benevolent page 53 asylums, for athenæums and schools of art, and for the new University, which is to be opened at Dunedin next year."—From a despatch respecting Otago, by Governor Sir George Bowen, in 1871; quoted by Trollope, who follows up the extract by the statement, "I found this to be all true."

The Dunedin Athenæum and Mechanics' Institute possesses a handsome and commodious building, a valuable library, and a very large roll of members. The Otago Institute for the promotion of Art, Science, Literature and Philosophy has been established for about five years, and has a large number of members, and a library of books relating principally to natural history and science.

There is now in course of erection, in a central situation, at a cost of about £9,000, a building to serve the purposes of a Training College for teachers, combined with a Practising School. There are ten large class-rooms, besides other conveniences, and it is expected that fully 600 children will be educated in the Practising School. As already stated, the upper floor of the building contains a suite of rooms for the accommodation of the Otago School of Art. This building is now approaching completion.

The public schools and other educational institutions of Otago are wholly unsectarian. It is provided by the Education Ordinance that in every public school "the holy Scriptures shall be read daily;" that "such reading shall be either at the opening or close of the school, as may be fixed by the teacher;" and that "no child whose parent or guardian shall object, shall be bound to attend at such times." The teachers under the Board have been enjoined to avoid the use of reading books or text books, and the employment in the course of ordinary school instruction of any words or expressions calculated to give just ground of offence to the members of any religious denomination. The Board has also enjoined that" no religious catechism or religious formulary which is destructive of any particular denomination or sect shall be taught during the school hours in any school connected with the Board." The public schools are consequently attended by the children of parents belonging to all denominations and sects.

In Dunedin and a few of the larger towns, schools have been established in connection with the Roman Catholic Church. In page 54 addition to a numerously-attended Roman Catholic elementary school, there is in Dunedin a day and boarding school for the higher education of girls, under the charge of an accomplished lady superioress and other highly-qualified teachers. The first day school in the Province in connection with the Episcopal Church was opened in Dunedin upwards of a year ago. There are no week-day schools maintained in connection with any other religious body, but almost every congregation of the different denominations has a Sunday-school or schools.

In Dunedin and some of the more populous localities there are also private elementary and upper schools, conducted with more or less success, and attended in the aggregate by a considerable number of pupils.

There is now a comparatively large number of Provincial and other exhibitions to the Grammar Schools, the Boys' and Girls' High Schools, and the University. These exhibitions are of the annual value of about £30, each with free education at the High or Grammar Schools, and are open for competition to pupils of the public schools, and other youth of the Province, of both sexes.

The total number of pupils who attended the Public Elementary and Grammar Schools of Otago in the course of the year 1874, was 13,681. The number of schools was 157, in which 266 teachers of all kinds were employed. The number of scholars in these schools learning the higher rules of arithmetic during 1874 was 2,010; algebra or geometry, 311; English grammar, 5,388; geography, 7,262; British history, 2,711; Latin, 338; Greek, 10; French, 242; drawing or mapping, 3,295; book-keeping, 280; singing from notes, 7,322; sewing (girls), 3,025. The attendance at the Boys' High School reached 137 during the same year, and 155 were enrolled as pupils of the Girls' High School. The number of students who attended the University in 1872 was 70.

The following is a summary of the expenditure on public school education for the year 1874:—
£ s. d.
1. Derived from votes of the Provincial Council (for current expenditure) 19,327 1 11
2. Derived from votes of the Provincial Council (for school buildings) 21,000 0 0
40,327 1 11
Brought forward £40,327 1 11page 55
3. Rents of Education Reserves 4,187 19 1
4. School fees and local contributions 14,421 17 9
Total £58,936 18 9
5. Add University expenditure during the same period 3,503 3 2
Total expenditure £62,440 1 11

This is at the rate of upwards of 8s. per head of the gross population of the Province, and is exclusive of the money expended for education at the private and the denominational schools.

The amount voted by the Provincial Council at its last session was £25,000 for the erection and enlargement of school buildings during the year 1875—76. The sum voted for the current expenses of the schools during the same period was £32,173. This is inclusive of the reserve rents.

The newspaper must be recognised as a most important educational power. The following is a summary of the newspapers at present published in the Province;—Two morning and one evening daily, one tri-weekly, three bi-weekly, thirteen weekly, and six monthly newspapers or periodicals. They are for the most part conducted with ability and spirit, and are well supported by the public.

There can be no doubt that the numerous and excellent educational facilities now existing and in contemplation, together with the great salubrity and the bracing and invigorating qualities of the climate of New Zealand, affecting most beneficially, as they cannot fail to do, the mental vigor of both teachers and scholars, will render possible to the youth of Otago a degree of intellectual strength and development scarcely attainable, and certainly not to be surpassed, by the youth of any of the other colonies of Britain.

In Dunedin, a substantially-built, commodious, and well-ventilated central hospital is maintained at the sole cost of the Government, to which patients are admitted free, and have immediate attention from the resident surgeon and stated visits from the Provincial surgeon. The cost of this hospital for the last year was £4,946. In addition to the inmates in this and all the other hospitals, out-door patients have advice given and page 56 medicine dispensed free of cost. If patients are able and willing to pay, they are charged reasonable rates. The reason why the Dunedin hospital is supported solely at public cost is that patients whose diseases are chronic or of long standing are removed from the other hospitals into it. At Invercargill, Oamaru, Lawrence Queenstown, Dunstan, Switzer's and Naseby, hospitals are also established, supported by public contributions and grants in aid to an equal amount from the Government.

A Benevolent Institution, under the management of a committee of citizens, has been established at Caversham. It is a fine brick and stone building, and is intended for young children who may be orphans or deserted, and for infirm persons. The Government contributed largely to the cost of the building, and subsidize subscriptions and collections at the same rate as for hospitals. The amount contributed by the people last year for this patriotic institution was £5,955, and the Government gave an equal sum.

The Lunatic Asylum for the Province has been erected adjacent to Dunedin, and is sustained at an annual cost of about £4,500. Inmates possessed of means, or having friends willing to contribute, can be lodged in separate apartments from the main building. Everything which experience has shown to be for the benefit of this unfortunate class has been provided: gardens, bowling greens, cricket, concerts and balls, together with whatever may conduce to relieve this saddest of misfortunes, is carefully and regularly supplied.

An Industrial and Reformatory School has also been established, to which the Magistrates have power to commit neglected and criminal children for a given number of years, to whom trades or occupations are taught. The children are brought up in the religion of their parents, so far as that can be ascertained, and to their welfare, after being discharged, attention is paid. The cost of maintenance for the past year was £1,439. Parents are compelled, when able or found, to pay for the maintenance of their children at this school. The practical result of the institution is that crime is nipped in the bud, the police having instructions to bring all neglected children before the Magistrates.

Invercargill has also had a Ragged School in operation for page 57 some years, which is subsidized by the Government at the same rate as hospitals.

Within the last few months, a Female Refuge or Home has been set on foot in Dunedin, the management of which is confided to a committee of philanthropic ladies, and to which the public revenue has contributed £350.

During the past year, the Provincial Government has also paid for the service of chaplains for the various institutions in town, £300; to medical officer for vaccination, £130; for relief to destitute persons, £121; and for burying the indigent, £129: showing a total amount contributed from public funds and private charities for the year ended 30th June, 1874, of £26,000.

Institutions of a more private and less pretentious character, but at the same time not less valuable or worthy of notice, are numerous. Friendly Societies, instituted to help members in time of need, are plentiful, largely supported, and in a flourishing condition. The great majority of the inhabitants of every class belong to either Oddfellows, Forester's, Masonic, Templar, or Temperance Lodges, and receive the advantages, if they so choose, accruing from those useful and well-managed bodies. The Caledonian Society also conies under the same class, spending a good portion of its funds in relieving cases of distress, inciting to emulation, and providing evening Masses for the benefit of apprentices and lads engaged during the day and anxious to improve their education. The latest bodies of the kind that have been started are called "County Associations," in which settlers who come from the two most northerly counties in Scotland, Caithness and Sutherland, have taken the initiative. These associations have as their leading features, assisting poorer county-folks to come to this land of promise, and giving them assistance and advice upon arrival. Though last mentioned, the Fire Brigade is of high importance, the members generously, without compensation, denying themselves many comforts and undertaking dangerous risks, in the beneficent work of saving life and property at fires.

As previously noticed, building societies form a leading feature in the history of the Province, commencing with the first year of its existence, and progressing until now, when the number page 58 amounts to sixteen, all in active prosperity. Some of them are conducted on the terminable principle, others on the permanent, and some of them combine both. The entrance fee varies from 1s. per share to 2s. 6d., and the shares range from £10 to £100 each, the fortnightly or monthly subscription varying according to the value of the share. The prosperity and importance of these societies may be judged from the facts that dividends or bonuses equal to eight per cent. per annum have been declared, and that the amount of business transacted ranges from £5,000 per annum to £30,000. To working men, these societies have proved of immense advantage, enabling them to secure a freehold or erect a building on easy terms; and a fact highly favorable in their history is that hitherto all of them have been conducted soundly and satisfactorily—there have been no failures and no swindling. The number of the operative class who possess freeholds and free houses would not have been so great had such societies not existed, and it is gratifying to find that the interest taken in such institutions by the upper and wealthier classes is extending. A meeting was recently held in Dunedin to form an association for the purpose of purchasing land and building self-contained cottages, of stone or brick, and each having four or five rooms, and selling them to the occupiers on the deferred-payment principle, so that the rent paid weekly will go towards purchasing the freehold. In addition to high wages and cheap provisions, the prospect of thus obtaining a freehold home of his own is offered to the provident tradesman and his frugal wife, which it will be their own fault if they do not speedily realize.

Agricultural Societies and Farmers' Clubs are numerous in the Province, holding their annual exhibition of grain, roots, and seeds, and stimulating to excellence by handsome prizes. Ploughing matches are also common under the auspices of the Societies, from fifteen to twenty being held each year, the ploughmen striving as zealously as they were wont to do at home. From the fact that some of the "crack" ploughmen of the old country are now located here, it may be inferred the work turned out is first-class.

Pastoral Associations also exist in the districts most devoted to stock raising and wool producing, and have been of exceeding page 59 value in improving both the animals and the fleece by importation of stock, and the introduction of artificial grasses and other feed.

Horticultural Shows take place in the different centres of population two or three times each year, in which flowers of the choicest description, vegetables of prime quality, and fruits, both in shape, taste, and flavor approaching perfection, are regularly exhibited. Some years ago, a Canary and Poultry Show was organized, and, as it grows in years, appears to increase in favor with the fanciers of the feathered tribes.

Yachting and Boating Clubs, too, have their enthusiastic supporters, and regattas and matches take place in the bays of Dunedin and Port Chalmers several times a year. Under the patronage of the Caledonian and Friendly Societies, fetes are held, at which the various athletic games are competed for with great ability, and witnessed by large assemblages—five to six thousand spectators on some occasions.

In addition to the Banking Company before referred to as having been projected in Dunedin, two Insurance Companies have also been instituted, each having a subscribed capital of one million sterling. Both the National and Standard Companies have their head offices in Dunedin, with agencies all over New Zealand, the Australian Colonies, and in London. Both Institutions undertake fire and marine risks, and although as yet but a short time in existence, do a large amount of business, safe in its character and steadily extending.