The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 62
North New Zealand
North New Zealand.
It is upwards of twenty-two years ago since I left
"My own, my native land;"
"This land of the brave and the free,"
and the parental roof. Of that final but awful wrench, those tear-stained faces, those aching hearts, that last "good-bye," so far as earth is concerned, to the dear father and mother of that little group of five, I might but must not tell. It is more than twenty-two years since I first breathed the fresh pure oxygen of that Britain of the South that I now call home, my adopted country, the birthplace of my dear wife and my children three. In this twenty-two years I have basked in the brilliant sunshine, gazed with enchantment through a clear, lucid air, strolled beneath the Southern Cross, beheld the glories of the moonlit scene, and looked up into the bright star-spangled heavens. I have cruised round its rugged shores, entered its grand harbours, sailed up its wondrous sounds, and steamed along its rivers. I have climbed its mountain steeps, roamed in its virgin forests, swum in water courses, descended into its luxuriant valleys, and careered over its plains. I have seen its giant peaks capped with eternal snows, looked upon its glaciers, listened to the roar of its cataracts, and beheld the beauties of its waterfalls. I have crossed its cold lakes surrounded by mighty heights, and rowed over its hot lakes to view the work of the earthquake and volcano. I have bathed in its hot springs, and luxuriated in the delightful warmth of its charming swimming baths. Have dipped in the invigorating freshness of its saltwater baths, and rejoiced in their briny rollers. I have looked upon its geysers, boiling springs, solfataras, and mud volcanoes. I have gloried in its blushing gardens and fruit-laden orchards, and marvelled at its fruitful fields. I have eaten bread without scarceness, and enjoyed its mutton, and beef, and poultry, and fish, and page 8 other luxuries which I cannot enumerate. I have seen some of its mineral wealth, gone down its shafts into the dark depths of its mines, and gazed with amaze at the richness of its golden deposits. I have watched the black diamonds come up from its coal mines, seen the beautiful timber hewn from its forests, and examined the lovely kauri gum that is dug from its soil. I have admired its flocks of sheep, its herds of cattle, and its beautiful horses. I have travelled long distances on horseback, and in open vehicles, and passed over its railways from the extreme north to the far south. I have been long coaching journeys in the interior of both islands. And in all my experiences, and in all my travels, and though during my twenty-two years I have lived on farms and sheep stations, in country villages, townships, gold mining settlements, and the large cities of the Colony I have never known the want of a meal. But best of all, I have had a period of uninterrupted health extending over the whole time, approaching nearly a quarter of a century. Never have I for one day been confined to my bed with illness, and this I attribute under God to the charming climate of that sunny land, the brightest land on which God's sun shines. I cannot therefore keep silence and hold my peace, but must tell of that fairy land whence I come, and whither I trust to return before the Ice King of your severe climate lays his stiff fingers upon the land.
New Zealand was discovered by Abel Jansen Tasman, a Dutch Navigator, who, having sailed from Bavaria on the 14th of August, 1642, in the yacht Heemskirk, gives the first authentic account of having sighted the Colony. Being accompanied on his voyage of discovery by the Sea-Hen, fly-boat, and having called at Mauritius, Tasmania was first found and named Van Diemen's land, in honour of Anthony Van Diemen, Governor of the Dutch possessions in the East Indies. From Tasmania he sailed in an easterly direction, and on the 13th December, 1642, sighted the West coast of the South Island, which he then described as a " high mountainous country, which is at present marked on the charts as New Zealand." Tasman subsequently sailed along the coast, and anchored in a bay, which he named Murderers' (since page 9 called Massacre, and more recently Golden) Bay, in consequence of an unprovoked attack on a boat's crew by the natives, and the murder of four white men. He then sailed along the West Coast of the North Island, and named the North Western extremity Cape Maria Van Diemen. Thence sighting the Islands of Three Kings, he took his final departure without having set foot on the country, being disgusted at what appeared to him a hostile and poverty-stricken land.
Captain Cook's Arrival.
For a period of 127 years there is no further record of any bold navigator or adventurer having troubled himself to visit the country. It was not till the 6th October, 1769, that the justly celebrated Captain Cook sighted the North Island, and two days later cast anchor in Poverty Bay. His good ship was the Endeavour, and the immediate cause of his visit an observation of the transit of Venus. All Yorkshire people will feel their spirits stirred as they think that this great navigator, the Adam of the white man in New Zealand, hailed from their county. He then proceeded to sail completely round the Islands, and having finished his observations, and defined the land discovered by Tasman, sailed away from Cape Farewell on 31st March, 1770, for Australia.
He visited New Zealand again in 1773, 4, and 7, and proved himself the pioneer of our civilisation. He found the natives a splendid race of savages, brave and fearless yet superstitious, rude yet ceremonious, the extensive tattooing of their faces exhibiting their contempt for pain, and their love of artistic effect, daring seamen, dashing warriors, greedy cannibals. The great circumnavigator was at first received with marked distrust, which, however, speedily gave place to peace and good fellowship. He found the land strangely destitute of all four-footed creatures, save a native cur and a small rat, since extinct. No wild beasts roamed the virgin forests, and no venomous reptiles coiled their slimy forms through the undergrowth, this latter was, and is, a blessing. What a scene that first reception of the strange white man must have been. In imagination we see the semicircle of mighty chiefs page 10 gathered near the beach to receive the representative of the old world. Dressed in robes of finely-woven flax with elaborate fringes, the heads decked with the feathers of the huia, the ears weighted with greenstone eardrops or sharks' teeth highly polished, the tattoed faces flaming with ochre, while the formidable mere-mere, also of greenstone, are held in the hands. Into this august assembly-strode the gallant sailor in his lace-trimmed cocked hat and swallow-tailed coat. The whole proceedings are conducted with the utmost solemnity, the tohunga (high priest) welcoming the stranger by removing the sacred tapu, and presenting bundles of wild celery and scurvy grass, and after a long mimic palaver, during which the various chiefs one by one solemnly arise and deliver an oration, concluding possibly by a wierd song, the formal proceedings terminate.
Then it is the captain's turn to make a present; the ship's boat at a signal lands and forthwith the presents are displayed. First come glass beads of many brilliant hues, so wondrous and charming to the eyes of the natives, then a bag of nails, next a piece of red flimsy cloth, manufactured expressly for purposes of interchange, then a hatchet or tomahawk of the toy variety, bright and beautiful in appearance, but guaranteed perfectly harmless. The most valuable presents, however, are yet to come. These are conveyed ashore in two sacks, and as they approach, the excitement of the chiefs and their wahinas, and, indeed, the general population of the locality, who have individually turned out, becomes intense. From the first sack proceeds strange sounds, jerky shrieks and intermittent duckings. What remarkable creature can be imprisoned there? Speculation is rampant among the lords of the soil. As, however, the sack is suddenly opened, out rush three indignant hens and one triumphant barndoor cock. The latter, of course, at once flaps his wings, and proclaims his sovereignty with a loud cock-a-doodle-do, which is the signal for undignified side-splitters from the wonder-stricken savages. Before their amazement has subsided the second sack claims attention, and all eyes are riveted, seeing each ear is well nigh deafened by the hideous yells and vociferous squeelings which alternate with dissatisfied grunts. The mouth of the sack is forthwith made clear, and forth issues the belicose mother of pigs with her frisky offspring. The sight of the old sow with her rising bristles and wicked page 11 eyes strikes terror into the hearts of the stout warriors, heroes of many a bloody fray, who disperse in all directions for safety, shrieking "Taipo, te taipo " (the devil, the devil). Thus it was that pigs and poultry were first introduced into New Zealand. Old Taniwha (or Hooknose), who died only a few years ago, remembered the scene, he being a lad of twelve at the time.
First Missionary Efforts.
About forty years later the first efforts to evangelise the natives were made. The Rev. Samuel Marsden, Senior Chaplain of the then infant colony of New South Wales, induced the Church Missionary Society to make an attempt to found a Missionary Colony. In 1814 Messrs. Hall and Kendall were sent as forerunners of this grand old man, who embarked himself on the 19th November of that year, bringing with him the first shipment of horses and cattle, which, to the immense delight and amazement of the natives, were safely landed, just before Christmas, at the Bay of Islands. His first sermon was preached on Christmas day, 1814, the lesson appointed for that day containing that glorious passage—" Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people." In three months time Mr. Marsden returned to Sydney, his predecessors having left before his arrival. It was not till 1821 that missionary work was put on anything like a permanent basis. To the Wesleyan Methodist Church belongs the honour of having founded the first mission station. The Rev. Mr. Leigh and his devoted wife settled in the Kaeo Wangaroa Valley on the 10th June, 1823.
First Colonising Attempt.
The first attempt at colonisation was made in 1825 by a company formed in London, which sent out an expedition under Captain Herd, which, however, was a failure. It was not till 1833 that, owing to the visits of numerous whalers, a settlement sprung up at Kororareka, now called Russell, in the Bay of Islands, and in this year Mr. Busby was appointed British Resident there.page 12
On the 22nd January, 1840, the first body of immigrants arrived at Port Nicholson, and founded the town of Wellington, now the capital city of the colony.
Proclaimed a Colony.
Seven days later, on the 29th January, 1840, Captain Hobson, R.N., arrived at Kororareka, and proclaimed, with the consent of the natives, the sovereignity of H.M. the Queen over the Islands of New Zealand, and assumed the position of Lieutenant - Governor thereof as a dependency of New South Wales.
Causes which Induced Colonisation.
It must not be supposed that this step in advance had been gained merely in consequence of the whaling settlement at Bay of Islands The labours of Mr. Marsden, Mr. Leigh, and numbers of other honoured men and women had, under God, prepared the way for the foundation of the colony and the settlement of the Anglo-Saxon race in that fine land. In 1830 Missionary Stations had been established in several places in the North Island, and Christianity had been so generally and heartily accepted by the Maories, that it was estimated that every Sabbath from 35,000 to 40,000 natives were worshipping the Christian's God. This was a marvellous result of such a brief period of labour, and proves conclusively to most minds the great advantage derived by Britain from the efforts of our Missionary Societies to evangilise the heathen, thus paving the way for settlement by the white race. Without such operations and the pacifying Christianising influences of the Missionaries, it would not have been possible for settlement to have been established. And when it is considered that the native population did not exceed 120,000, the triumphs of the Cross of Christ in winning one-third of the entire race in the brief space of fifteen years, to outward conformity, at least, must be looked upon as a mighty growing of the word of God! Sad, indeed, that these triumphs of the Cross should have been so largely undone in later years by the vile traffic in waipiro (fire water), which, to the page 13 eternal shame and disgrace of Britain, appears to have gone almost hand in hand with the heralds of the Gospel. It has been said, with a great deal of truth, that the very ships that took the Missionary and the Bible took also the devil, in solution, in the shape of grog. Would that I need not have made this reference. After this digression, I now come to the notable
Treaty of Waitangi,
which was made with the natives 5th February, 1840. Immediately on his arrival, Governor Hobson invited all the principal chiefs to meet him at Waitangi (Weeping Water). Great preparations were forthwith made, a suitable platform erected and sheltered by a marquee, from which floated gay bunting, and at the appointed time a strange procession marched to the place of meeting. First come the half-dozen mounted constables or police (who had accompanied the Governor), these dismounted to make fast their horses to the wooden platform. Then come two companies of marines, with knapsacks, rifles, gaiters, &c., followed by the jolly tars, or bluejackets, with wide breeches, and clothing generally loose and comfortable, the whole forming, together with the warship Herald, in the Bay, a representation of the power and organisation of the white man not before realised in these parts. The marines and bluejackets form into lines, along the centre of which, while arms are presented, walks the newly-appointed Governor, Captain Hobson, in the uniform of a commander of H.M. Royal Navy; blue trousers, with long broad stripe of delicate gold lace, swallow-tailed coat with gay epaulettes, cocked hat bedecked with more gold lace, the whole eclipsed by the full-dress sword, with its scabbard of gold. His Excellency's suite accompany him, in the persons of Mr. Busby (late British Resident), Lieutenant Shortland, R.N. (the new Colonial Treasurer), the new Police Magistrate and Attorney-General, the Collector of Customs, and two other gentlemen, all specially got up for the occasion, either in uniform or in the glories of dress coats, white waistcoats, black stocks, and bell-toppers. The procession is completed by the Missionaries of the Church and Wesleyan Missionary Societies, and several Roman Catholic Priests.
This august assembly now formally seat themselves on page 14 the platform, around which are congregated the great chiefs, who sit, according to their usage, upon the ground in front. The dresses of the Maories are various, from the flaxen mat to the gaudy blanket brought by the white man (Pakeha), and while a few have indulged in tweed suits, and others are crowned with well-worn, if not battered stove-pipe hats, the many are in full native costume of flax robes, feathers, and greenstone ornaments. A few Europeans and Pakeha Maories complete the great gathering, and all are anxious for the ceremony to commence. The Rev. Henry Williams, of the Church Missionary Society, attends as interpreter to His Excellency, who now stands up and opens the proceedings with a few kindly remarks, which are translated to the natives. The deed embodying the treaty is then read by the Governor, and duly interpreted; and forthwith the important discussion commences. One old warrior chief arises, and lays aside his finely-woven robe, appearing with a short petticoat of plaited flax, and harangues the assembled multitude in their own tongue. He describes Her Majesty the Queen as a great woman chief, living many days' sail away over the big waters, whose enormous canoes have great white wings like the wings of the albatross, which sweep the seas. Her tribe consists of vast multitudes of warriors, and peoples whose faces are white but whose hearts are strong. Her people are so clever that they can make beautiful mantles or mats (pointing to the high coloured blanket), and colour them with all the bright colours of the rainbow, or make them white as the snow on Tongariro Mountain. They have big quarries of hard black stone, from which they make hard sharp axes, swords, nails, and muskets; they have large quantities of fire arms, and great piles of gunpowder. This mighty chief has sent her warriors and her priests over the great waters to make peace with the Maori, and to offer them protection from other peoples who may come across the big waters, and who speak strange tongues, for first her people came and lived with them and taught them many things and were friendly, and now this great chief has been sent to them to make a lasting peace. She says to them by the mouth of this great chief she has sent, "Give me your land and I will give it back to you. Call me your head, and your land will remain with you." This is Kapai (good). This mighty chief will send her people, who are page 15 strong, with their belching guns, as big as the flaming torch of Tarawera, she will protect the Maori from the other white chiefs who come in their big canoes. She only asks the shadow of the land, the land itself will remain with them. They must accept her offer and be friendly. He stops in his walk, his gesticulations cease, and with great dignity he assumes his robe and his seat. Before he is fairly seated a young agile chief springs to his feet and opposes the proposition; he pictures in his figurative language the stout gnarled puriri tree (a very hard wood) with a cut made in it, into which is inserted the wedge, then whack, whack with the mallet, and the tree splits with a loud crack. So will it be with the Maori if he gives even the shadow of the land to so great a chief and so strong a tribe—they will only come and take all. Speaker after speaker follows till the day is nearly gone, and no result seems likely to be achieved. Then stands up one of the missionaries and reminds them of the long time he has been with them, and the number of friends he has made among them, and urges them to accept this good offer, which, instead of making them powerless, will add to their power. When he has finished, another chief rises, and, addressing His Excellency in a most excited manner, vows that they will never consent to part with their lands. The manner and gesticulations of this chief seem so determined and defiant that the next speaker taxes him with incivility to the Governor. Thus charged as an offender, and still excited, the chief leaps on to the platform and extends his hand in friendship to Governor Hobson. This is received with a roar of delighted mirth from the natives and loud cheers from the Europeans as His Excellency gravely rises and shakes hands with the chief, and then announces that he will allow three days for the chiefs of the tribes to discuss the matter themselves, and make up their minds. The argument that they were only parting with the shadow of the land took effect, and the next day the Governor was informed that the chiefs had come to a favourable decision.
The assemblage forthwith gathered again on and around the platform; the rolls of parchment were produced, and the celebrated treaty of Waitangi was executed with the sign manual of fifty of the biggest chiefs in the presence of 400 lesser chiefs. Of the fifty, but one, Waka Nene, signed his name; the rest affixed a cross or placed page 16 a representation of a portion of their tattoo marks instead of a signature. Subsequently the number of signatories was increased to 512 within six months, and thus British law was formally brought into force in New Zealand. It is not within the scope of my sphere to follow up the most interesting history of the gradual settlement of the country, nor to review the progress of the civilisation of the natives, and certainly not to trace the rise of the sad war between the Maories and Europeans, nor the black details and horrors of the years of its continuance. I gladly pass from the bare mention of such as these to my theme.
Extent of North Island.
The colony of New Zealand includes the whole of the islands embraced between the 33 and 53 degrees of south latitude and the 162 to 173 degrees of east longitude. The north island, of which I am particularly to speak in this lecture, contains with its adjacent islets 44,468 square miles, or 28,459,580 acres of land, or not quite so large as England and Wales, but half as large again as either Scotland or Ireland. It has a coast-line of 2,200 miles. The total length from the extreme northerly to the extreme southerly point is 515 statute miles. The Island is as a whole hilly in character, in parts even mountainous, but there are large areas of plain and comparatively level country, available either now or when cleared of forest or indigenous growth, for agricultural purposes. The land available for agricultural purposes is roughly estimated at 13,000,000 acres. Hilly as the land may be, it is eminently suited to the growth of English grasses; and wherever there is any soil, no matter how steep the grade, these will flourish, and thus provide pasturage for cattle and sheep. The area of land available purely for pastoral purposes is estimated at 14,200,000 acres.
The country is splendidly watered by countless rills and streams, known as creeks by the colonists, apart altogether from the rivers. The Waikato river, rising in Lake Taupo, drains a large tract of country, and ranks as the largest river, is navigable for small steamers for 100 miles, and empties itself into the Manakau Harbour. The Thames page 17 river has its source north of the lake named, is navigable for fifty miles, and flows into the Frith of Thames. The Wanganui and Manawatu rivers are also considerable streams, being navigable for many miles, and empty their waters into Cook's Straits in the South.
The principal mountains are Tongariro (an active volcano), Ruapehu, and Egmont.
Hot Springs and Lakes.
The most remarkable feature of the North Island is the numerous hot springs which occur over a length of 300 miles, and more notably in the district known as the Thermal Springs District, in the vicinity of Lakes Taupo and Rotorua, but these will be more fully dealt with in my lecture on the Tourists' Paradise.
Notwithstanding the extensive coastline, good harbours are not numerous. The principal are the Waitemata in North, on which Auckland is situated, and Port Nicholson, in the South, on which the capital city of Wellington is located. The other harbours are chiefly bar harbours, of which Manakau is the most important. There are also open roadsteads at New Plymouth, Napier, and Gisborne, which are supplemented by harbour works erected at considerable cost.
The population, exclusive of Maories (which number 42,000, all save 2,000 being in this island), is as made up to April, 1891, 281,455.
The temperature, as shown by the records of three observatories (taken at 9.30 a.m. daily), situate at Auckland and Wellington, being seaports, and at Rotorua, being inland, shows the remarkable equilibrity of the page 18 climate, the mean temperature in the shade for the year 1890 being respectively 6odeg., 55.8deg. and 54.3deg. The highest temperature recorded was respectively 82deg., 82deg., and 85.5deg., while the lowest readings were 4odeg., 32deg., and 26deg. respectively, the extreme range being 42deg., 50deg., and 59.9deg. It will thus be seen that although the average was greatest at Auckland, the range of temperature was least. The mean maximum temperature in the shade for the three hottest months of January, February, and March, taken for four years ending 1890, showed 73.8deg. at Auckland and 69.2deg. at Wellington—figures which for equilibrity will, I think, compare favourably with England. The rainfall, taken for a period of three years at the same observatories, shows the follow-ingaverages: Auckland 40.8inches, Wellington 39.2 inches, and Rotorua 47 inches respectively for the year; while the number of days on which rain fell were respectively 170, 168, and 139. It must not be supposed that even this comparatively small number of days were what maybe called wet days, as every day is recorded on which rain fell, and often it was but a shower or two. Averaging these statistics for the whole island for this period of three years ending 1890, we find that only on 159 days in each year was there any fall of rain at all, leaving 206 days in each year absolutely fine.
The salubrity of the climate is further demonstrated by a brief reference to the death rates, which, however, I give for the whole colony, extending over a ten years' period, ending 1890, the average being 10.3 per thousand per annum, whereas the other Australasian colonies have varied from 11.2 to 22.9, showing a very much higher average. In England, Scotland, and Ireland the death rates per thousand were for the nine years ending 1889 respectively, 18.9, 18.8, and 18, the average being 18.5 for the entire period, an advantage on the comparison of 8.2 per thousand per annum for the entire period. It is only fair, however, that some allowance should be made for the larger proportion of younger people included in our population when compared with that of Great Britain. This allowance has been computed at 2.28 per thousand per annum, which, deducted from the margin of page 19 8.2, leaves 5.92 per thousand per annum as the net balance in favour of New Zealand's climate. If we look specially at the death rate in children under five years old, it will be found that in New Zealand it is much lower than in either of the other Australasian colonies, and only about one-half the rate of England. It is to this fact principally that we are indebted for our low death rate. Notwithstanding also the fact that large numbers of persons suffering from phthisis are constantly arriving in the colony, the number of deaths from this cause is considerably less than in any of the other Australian colonies (save Tasmania), and is little more than half the rate of England. In my own experience I have known many who came to the colony apparently to die of this fell scourge, but owing to the remarkable climate have become strong and healthy, and appeared by their robust health to have entirely outgrown the trouble.
From these figures I think it will be admitted that the colony bears the palm for salubrity of climate. Fog is almost unknown. I speak, of course, by comparison, and what would be termed a foggy day in New Zealand would hardly be specially remarked in England. The charm of our climate consists in the bright clear days of delightful sunshine, followed even after our most scorching summer days by clear cool nights, when you hardly need to throw off the blanket on your bed. In the North Island frosts are very few, and usually of very short duration. During the months of May to August occasionally two or three chilly mornings exhibiting a beautiful white frost early in the day occur. The genial sunshine that follows speedily disperses the same. A brisk winter's day with such a frost, a clear blue sky overhead, and everything dry underfoot, by 10 a.m. is most enjoyable. The hottest weather I have ever experienced in New Zealand has not affected me so much as your weather usually occurring in the dog days of July, and this is purely on account of the great relief afforded by our delightfully cool nights.
Capabilities of Soil.
As to the capabilities of the soil, New Zealand is pre-eminently a grazing country: wherever there is light and moisture (and both are pretty general) all English page 20 grasses flourish, and the growth is all but continuous throughout the whole year; at any rate, this may be safely said of the North Island. Wherever the indigenous growth of bush or fern is cleared away grasses will grow and take possession of the soil; indeed, white clover will even overcome the fern. It is not an absolute necessity that cattle should be housed for several months during the winter as in England, as stock will live, though in varying conditions, on what they can pick up when turned out. In order, however, to get the best results from dairy cows, it is advisable to put them in at night for perhaps three or four months during the winter.
Land under Grass.
The figures which I shall now give speak volumes as to the vast extent to which our English grasses have been introduced into the colony. In March of this year we had no less than 7,403,881 acres in sown grasses, being an increase on the year of 437,663 acres. Of this grand total 3,327,755 acres had been previously broken up and presumably been under grain or other crops, while 4,076,126 acres had not been ploughed, a large proportion being land on which the bush had been fallen or partially fallen and burnt off. These totals are exclusive of land put down specially for hay, 46,652 acres.
Areas under Grass compared.
The marvellous advantages of this fine colony cannot be better emphasised than by a comparison of this item with like totals in the other Australasian Colonies. I will not, however, weary you with figures, but state, proportionately, the fact that the acreage in sown grasses in New Zealand is no less than eight times greater than the entire area so sown down in the whole of Australia and Tasmania. Compared with these vast colonies, New Zealand is but one-thirtieth the size, but when grazing capabilities are taken into account, the importance of the latter is vastly altered. Owing to conditions of climate Australia is generally unsuitable to the growth of English grasses, and indeed the produce of even the natural grasses of these colonies is much less per acre than that of the sown grasses in New Zealand. So noticeable is this that it has been estimated that the productiveness page 21 of New Zealand grass lands is about nine times greater than the like in Australia, so that the lands of this colony covered with grass may be considered equal for grazing purposes with an area nine times as great in the adjacent colonies.
The Dairy Industry.
A consideration of these facts and figures leads us up very naturally to consider one most important side of the grazing industry, that of the dairy. Twenty-two years ago I found this department in an embryo condition. Settlers in all parts of the colony had an enormous produce of butter and cheese, but were dependent on local markets only, and the result was most unsatisfactory, as the prices obtained for a long time during the summer months were highly unremunerative. With the development of modern science, however, a change has rapidly been evolved, until now, by the aid of machinery, co-operation, and the splendid means of transit to the vast markets of Britain, the trade is assuming something like permanance. The growth of this important industry may be realised by comparing the produce of the year 1881 with that of 1891; the former resulted in 3,178,694lb cheese, and 8,453,815lb butter, while in the latter year the totals were respectively 6,975,698 and 16,310,912, being in the aggregate quite doubled in the decade. It may also be specially noted that of last year's total 1,969,759lb butter, and 4,390,400 cheese was made in factories, thus ensuring uniformity as well as superiority.
As to value of our exports in the year 1880, butter and cheese of the value of £1,033 was exported, while in the year ended March 31, 1892, no less than £287,102, viz., butter £189,102, cheese £98,000, was entered outwards, and these figures show an increase of £80,000 on the previous year. So that in this industry alone, and with a practically unlimited market, we have a colony specially adapted to supply or assist in supplying the same. By our co-operative factory system, with cream separators and machinery to do all hand work, we get the best possible results in quality and quantity, with the least possible labour to the farmers. It is only necessary for the settler to feed his cows well and milk them regularly, delivering his milk at the factory, when the cream is extracted by centrifugal process. In some cases these page 22 factories use the skim milk to feed pigs, but in many cases the farmer gets a price for his new milk and a return of the skim milk after passing through the separator, so that it is available for feeding calves and pigs on his own homestead. As to the quality of our dairy produce, the fact that both cheese and butter from our sunny land has realised the highest quotations in the London market speaks for itself. There are doubtless immense possibilities in store for this grand industry, and thus the door is wide open for those who are prepared to follow a farmer's life "to go in and possess the good land" which is before them.
New Zealand is also a country well adapted for fruit growing, as is evidenced from the large attention that is being devoted to the planting and cultivation of orchards. Every year quantities of fruit, such as apples, pears, plums, and even peaches, are allowed to fall from the trees and rot on the ground, or are used for feeding cattle and pigs, which might be turned to better account if arrangements were made for exporting in good order to the markets of this land. I am glad to say that some of the attempts recently made to place our fruit in prime condition on the London market have been crowned with success, and much encouragement has been taken as the result. When it is considered that tropical fruits, such as the orange, lemon, guava, &c., can be produced in the northern part of this island, as well as all manner of stone and soft fruits known in the old world, it will be seen what a range of possibilities are before those who have ready hands and willing hearts. The total number of acres returned as used for orchards in 1891 being 17,047 acres, an increase of 9,270 on the year. Not only are there possibilities of sending home the fruits of our orchards by means of cool chambers, but science is doubtless coming to our aid by processes of evaporation, whereby the full flavour of our fruit may be retained in a dry condition. Also our jam and fruit preserving factories are using large quantities, which in the future will find their way to English homes. Thus will the wonderful productiveness of our glorious country be made available for the support of millions both directly and indirectly.page 23
Is an indigenous product of New Zealand, and is found in the provincial district of Auckland, and in no other part of the world. It is met with over a vast area of country, much of which has been denuded of the Kauri forests, which, hundreds of years ago, have covered the country. These giants of the forest have exuded the gum, which in the course of generations has become embedded in the ground, and now is available for the support of our diggers and settlers. The mode of digging is by the use of long-pointed spears, which are struck down into the ground till the gum deposit is met with, when the same has to be dug out, perhaps from a depth of two or three feet. A large population has been supported for many years by means of this industry, as must be evident when I state that, during the year 1890, 7,438 tons of this gum was exported, the value of which amounted to over £378,000. Of course, the time will come when the supply will become exhausted; but, although croakers have been prophesying this for years, the value for the year quoted exceeded by nearly £50,000 that of the previous year, and this notwithstanding that the total quantity was slightly less. The demand for this commodity has increased, and consequently prices have advanced, our American cousins taking over a quarter of a million pounds worth in the last year. The total quantity raised exceeds 134,000 tons, and the value was £5,394,000.
The colony abounds in magnificent forests, which have furnished immense quantities of splendid timber, the falling, cutting, and sawing of which have furnished remunerative employment for large numbers of our population. Besides supplying all local requirements, there has been a large export trade, which has steadily increased year by year from £71,000 worth in 1881 to over £181,000 worth in the year 1890; while the total value of the produce of our timber for the last year was roughly £833,000. The Kauri pine of the Auckland provincial district is, perhaps, the most valuable of our timbers, which, however, I must not stop to enumerate.
I shall reserve other information on our vast industries, such as wool, frozen meat, grain, gold, &c., till I come to deal more particularly with the South Island.page 24
These are most liberal, and so adapted that all classes may be able to acquire land for their use and benefit. The man of moderate means may purchase the freehold for cash or on deferred payments, or take up an area under perpetual lease on most favourable conditions, while the poor man has the option under the homestead system of acquiring a small farm without any payment whatever for the land. The capitalist may purchase for cash at the lowest possible price, but he must apply in the same way, and at the same time, as the man with less capital, who may wish to take up the same on deferred payment, and as the man who requires all his cash to work and stock his land, who may wish to take it up on perpetual lease. Suppose, then, three selectors made their applications on the same day for the right to occupy the same piece of land; the matter will be decided by ballot, which, it will be admitted, is equally fair to each. Deferred payment selectors have from five to fourteen years in which to pay for their land, by equal half-yearly instalments, or they may exchange the title to a perpetual lease if so desired. Under this latter system selectors obtain an indefeasible title with perpetual rights of renewal, and thus they have all the advantages of freehold tenure with the value of their improvements secured, without requiring to sink their capital in buying the land. The annual rent by law established is 5 per cent., or is. in the £ on the capital value. Under the homestead system any person of the age of eighteen and upwards may select from seventy-five to fifty acres, according to quality of the land, and on fulfilment of the conditions—which are a five years' residence, the erection of a house, and the cultivation of one-third of the selection if open land, or one-fifth if bush land—the Crown grant is issued. It must be borne in mind that this latter system renders it impossible for any able-bodied industrious family to be destitute, while it affords a substantial reward for thrift, energy, and perseverance.