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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 69

Letters Letters

page 7

Letters Letters.

The following is a copy of the letter laid before the Executive of the New Zealand Exhibition, re the proposed New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition to be held in London:—

J. Roberts, Esq.,

President of N.Z. Exhibition Commission.

Sir,—I beg to submit for your perusal the following scheme, which, if it meets with your approval, I shall be glad to further explain:—

The people who visited the Colinderies in London last year, and the New Zealand Court in Paris latterly, agree that the representation of this Colony was so very meagre that it would have been better even to have abstained altogether, as was done in Paris in 1878, when, with the exception of some excellent wood ware sent by Guthrie and Larnach, New Zealand was not even allotted a space—this exhibit had to be housed by me in the New South Wales Court.

In fact, in all the great displays made by the British colonies New Zealand has been ignored. The importance of such exhibitions, more particularly in Europe, is obvious.

Capital, population, skilled labour, both for farming or manufactures, are wants which need to be supplied. The best, cheapest, and most efficacious way to arrive at so desirable an end is to strike a straight and decisive blow in London.

It should be done now, when we have here gathered in one centre some of the choicest products of the colony.

I have spoken already to some of the leading exhibitors, who are willing to enter into the scheme, which is:—
1.To apply to the Government to vote a sufficient sum of money to pack and convey the exhibits to Europe, to defray the cost of a small but effective staff to accompany the goods and see to the proper display of them.
2.A suitable site can readily be got in London, either at South Kensington or in the Colonial Institute, to hold a purely New Zealand show. The site will be granted free.
3.Lectures, illustrated by means of limelight pictures of the scenery, should be given periodically at night,
4.Maps and concise pamphlets containing the latest statistics relating to farming, mining, &c., be printed and distributed gratis to all visitors.
5.A land and emigration bureau should be open during the Exhibition, where people could arrange for the lease or purchase of farming lands, or secure passages to and from New Zealand.

From the feeling evinced by exhibitors on this proposed scheme, I feel confident that even in addition to the valuable goods shown here a larger number of exhibits would be secured free, but we should have to purchase gold, wool, and I dare say, other articles.

Still I think that an advance of, say, £20,000, would cover all expenses—I say advance, because the charge for admissions, sale of privileges, &c., would recoup the outlay.

The ultimate benefit to the colony is too obvious to need comment. I shall be glad to undertake this scheme if approved of.—I am, &c.

Jules Joubert.

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The following appeared in the Dunedin "Evening Star" of January 24th:—

M. Joubert's Scheme.

The following letter in reference to M. Joubert's scheme re a New Zealand exhibition in London speaks for itself:—


Dear Mr. Joubert,—I had wished to say a few words to you regarding your important scheme for bringing New Zealand more prominently before the world, before leaving Dunedin; as pressure of business prevented me, I take the opportunity presented by being weather-bound in this charming mining centre to write to you on the subject. There can be but little question that an exhibition such as you propose, if carried to a successful issue, would be of material benefit to the colony; and I only express the opinion of everyone in saying that if it is to be a success it could not be left in better hands than yours. Nor is anyone better qualified to judge of the means and influences that should be brought to bear in order not only "to deserve" success, but "to command" it. In undertaking an exhibition in London, however, you are doubtless fully aware that you pass into quite another sphere from that of your victories in Calcutta, Adelaide, and Dunedin. An exhibition in towns of the size of these last named—and we might even include Melbourne—meets, so far as experience proves, with a reception from the citizens that almost makes it, so to speak, a "civic institution"; and, when capably managed, and with a due regard to economy, carries the elements of success in the interest evinced from the outset by the people in whose district it is to be held.

An exhibition in London, however, is a totally different affair. The saying "that Londoners are sick of exhibitions" is no doubt a catch phrase that may be thrown at you; but I cannot agree with it. I believe the people of the colonics are more tired of them than Londoners, and the chief reasons why the "Healtheries," and the "Colinderies," &c., have been successes are because Londoners are getting educated up to good shows where novelties are introduced—where they can be sure of hearing good music, and where the attractions for promenading, little teas and suppers, &c., are of a high-class order.

But here comes the rub. The very fact that the good people of the British capital are so educated is at once your surest guarantee of success on the one hand, of distinct failure on the other. Success, if the undertaking can present features new to London, together with the good "stock pieces"—good music and outside attractions; failure, if merely an exhibition of New Zealand products, without any great attractiveness outside of the exhibits themselves.

The attention that the colonies are exciting in England is one distinct element in favour of your scheme; the position of Lord Onslow in this colony and the Old Country is another weighty adjunct; the ability and popularity of Sir F. Dillon Bell will he extremely valuable; and lastly, the fact that the country you seek to advertise is unquestionably the scenic colony of the Empire, and might become the granary of Australasia, is an element making your position extremely strong, more especially when the attractions that the Maoris and South Sea Islanders present to Englishmen is also considered.

To suppose that holding a small exhibition of New Zealand products in London, with the expenditure limited to £20,000, would be a success, you will doubtless agree with me, is absurd. It would profit the colony so little. I imagine, that the £20.000 would with difficulty come back to it; and yet I think that with co-operation (i.e., fitting in this exhibition with another), and the securing of powerful assistance in London from the commencement, a great benefit to the colony would accrue.

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It is more than probable that another of those pleasant musical "fairs," like the Colinderies, will be projected in London ere long. So soon as the decision is come to it will be comparatively easy for the A gent-General to apply for the space required for the New Zealand exhibits, and if at the same time Lord Onslow can be induced to represent the matter so as to secure the requisite interest of royalty and the Colonial Office, etc, the undertaking will be launched auspiciously. It then remains for the Colony to strengthen your hands (for I could not suppose any other hands hut yours will have charge of it, and in order to do this there must be a genuine effort made by all parts both of North and South Islands to join in the movement. No interurbian jealousy, no provincialism, but an effort that shall sink all petty spites for the good of the whole Colony. All the industries must be faithfully represented, and the details carried out. Flax, for example, should be shown in the growing state if possible, and the process of dressing traced through all stages. In the grounds there should be a genuine Maori village. And if it were possible to reproduce a portion of Whakarewarewa, for instance, with an artificial geyser, it would attract a large amount of interest. The South Sea Islands might be represented too, since New Zealand is the nearest important centre to the principal groups, and is so materially interested in trade being developed with them.

It is part of your scheme as published to have an inquiry bureau. I would make this bureau a very important feature of the Exhibition, it ought to be made a regular rendezvous, and while having comfortable chairs and tables for the use of people wishing to make enquiries, there should be various offices as well, notably an emigration, a land, and a tourist office.

In the first and second there should be officials, furnished with full particulars of the cost of living in the Colony, the price of farms, conditions of lease and purchase, etc., eve. In the last one there should be some one capable, not only of giving the requisite information—such as maps, guide-books, etc.—to enable people to find their way to New Zealand and to adequately describe the scenery and attractions of the Colony from a tourist, farming, health-seeker's, and miner's point of view, but also able to let them know the cost, to give them the required tickets, secure them passages, issue them drafts, ete, etc.

In his able speech at the Agricultural and Pastoral Asssociation of Canterbury's show last November, Lord Onslow remarked:—"I see there is to be a Tourist's Court in the Dunedin Exhibition, and I notice also that Messrs Cook and Son have taken New Zealand in hand, and for the future the man who you most want to see here is the commercial man, who requires rest from his labours for a time, and who will be glad to come out to New Zealand if he can only know the time it will take him, and what it will cost. I think you may be sure such a man will advertise your Colony, and he will send his sons, and his friends will send theirs... What is wanted is something more like modest 'Murray' which will show the people where to go and how to get there."

No one who has an acquaintance with travel and travellers but will endorse these words. People unquestionably want to know the time, want to know the cost, and then want to have trouble taken off their hands, and their tickets given them without any worry about securing berths, etc, etc. You have been pleased to say that Thomas Cook and Son helped materially towards your success with the Calcutta Exhibition. You likewise know how the New Zealand Railway Commissioners behaved towards them regarding the Exhibition in Dunedin. Possibly they might reconsider the wisdom of such treatment in the event of this exhibition being held in London; or if not, perhaps the people of the colony might take the matter up. But in any case we need not review that page 10 question here. Our efforts in every other direction have been crowned with success; and as you are personally acquainted with the heads of the firm in London (where the railway people co-operate with us a little more graciously), I think that when they know you had the matter in hand, there is but little doubt they would do their best to assist.

As regards the 'modest Murray,' you have probably seen my attempt to make a substitute for that valuable class of guide book in this colony in in 'Brett's Handy Guide to New Zealand,' which is just published. In addition to this, however, a large map of New Zealand, such as is at present in the Tourists' Court, Dunedin, together with those bird's-eye view maps of the North and South Islands in the vestibule of the art gallery, with wood photographs of the scenic resorts, the farms, homesteads, mining claims, etc., etc., also pamphlets folders, etc., for distribution, would be essential in order to have the court completely what it should be. It would be advisable also for the Union Company to send a model of one of their steamers, and the railway authorities a specimen carriage, and the coach proprietors a model coach, so that sceptical people might see for themselves the means of locomotion round and in New Zealand. Long as this letter is, it is necessarily sketchy, but if there should he anything in it which can in any way be of service to you and aid your endeavours to benefit the colony, it will be a matter of satisfaction to

Yours, etc.

G. Ernest Bilbrough,

Chief Representative of Thos. Cook and Son in New Zealand.

The "Otago Daily Times" contained the following letters on December 31, 1889.

To the Editor.

Sir,—The proposal I put forth to hold a purely New Zealand Exhibition in London has been termed a "bold scheme." I fail to see anything approaching boldness in it.

Exhibitions are now mere business ventures. This is the age of advertising. The greater the ad. the greater the profit. Advertising is the commercial translator, or rather synonym for "blowing"—a system of advertisement which has in some instances proved eminently successful to some of your neighbours.

No one will for a moment dispute the fact that this Colony possesses all the requisites to make it a most thriving country in every respect. All it wants is judicious advertising. That is what I propose should be done.

The next question arises—the cost. On this point I must beg to differ from you. The cost of an exhibition depends in a great measure on the basis upon which it is started, as well as the amount of sympathy it enlists. No better example of this can be given than the cost of the present Exhibition as compared with the Melbourne Centennial. If this is an age of advertising it is also an age when co-operation systems prevail in all public as well as private undertakings. Aide toi et Dieu t' aidera is the motto I have long pinned my faith on.

One of the characteristics prevailing in this community (due no doubt to the origin of its inhabitants) is "clanship' Whether this extends further than the limits of Otago remains to be proved.

In order to sound the public opinion on the "scheme," I have had a thousand copies of it printed, posted to all parts of New Zealand with a short circular inviting criticism and soliciting co-operation.

Within the last fortnight I have received some scores of replies—the largest majority favourable, some indeed most flattering, and even those who somewhat dissent from the proposal are, like yourself, acting with caution, advise further consideration and offer suggestions which I may at once acknowledge most gratefully; these suggestions will meet with due consideration when the time comes to go into details.

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It would take too much of your valuable space to enter now into details; principally those referring to revenue and expenditure of this proposed exhibition in London; suffice it to say that I have gone most carefully over the cost, and provided we can secure a suitable locale in either the Colonial Institute or the South Kensington Museum I am prepared to guarantee that the sum I have named (£20,000) will more than cover the outlay.

As to making a display worthy of this colony, and which would attract the attention of the British public, one need only look at what has been done here on a very, very small scale indeed to feel quite convinced that when a call is made for a National Exhibition every province in New Zealand will respond right cordially.

I am quite aware that in going to Loudon we go as New Zealand only; but from what I have already heard on the subject, I feel quite confident that we should have enough to cover an area exceeding that of the Dunedin show, exclusive of foreign element.

In conclusion, I may tell you that I have written to London, and ere long may receive by cable sufficient information relating to either South Kensington or the Colonial Institute, also what chance of success the scheme would have.

It is most gratifying so far to see that there has not been one dissenting opinion as to the principle, though several correspondents, as well as your leader in to-day's "Otago Daily Times," may tend to throw a sprinkling of cold water on it. Still you all agree that the principle is sound, that the results will undeniably benefit the colony. The details, I think, might be left to those into whose hands the Government in their wisdom will place the management.

If my share of the work does not go further than propounding the scheme, I shall be much gratified to think that in so doing I have in a small way requited the many courtesies and genial hospitality I and mine have received since we landed in this glorious country of yours.—I am &c.,

Jules Joubert.

To the Editor.

Sir,—Some thoughts are; suggested by your leader of this morning on the proposed New Zealand Exhibition in London, especially in reference to the cost.

I have recalled a circular issued some five or six years ago to the people of Australasia by Mr R. E. N. Twopenny, in which he advocated the holding of an exhibition of purely colonial (Australian and New Zealand) products in London as a means of attracting capital and labour to these Southern Seas, by reason of the display to be made there of the great natural products of the Southern hemisphere. That circular struck the keynote and originated the most successful exhibition held in London, and Mr Twopenny may be considered the father of the Colonial and Indian Exhibition of 1886. But there were croakers in those days who stated that the cost would be enormous and the recoup would never equal the expenditure, just as your leader implies that the taxpayer of New Zealand will have to pay about £100,000 instead of the £20,000 asked for by Mr Joubert. Fortunately there were public spirited men who, under the leadership of his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales took the project up, carried it through successfully, and had a credit balance at the close of upwards of £5000.

If you can get the support of the Prince of Wales, and an influential committee appointed to supervise details in London, there will then exist no reason against the financial success of a purely New Zealand Exhibition in the metropolis of the world, where an exhibition of your mineral re- page 12 sources will attract the capitalist with money to develop that wealth, and the miner with muscle to win it; where your exhibits of wool, if sent in magnitude, will more than repay their cost; where your frozen meat and dairy produce can be tasted in dining rooms set apart sole y for cooking New Zealand beef, mutton, and fish; where 'he magnificent timbers shown in in the Government court here; also he manufactured articles of furniture to be seen in the different provincial courts, if sent to London, will open up the biggest market o hese natural products, and will be one huge advertisement for your colony, costing practically nothing beyond the expenses of freight and management for the exhibits sent. As the co-operation of all concerned in any of the industries of New Zealand will provide the exhibits and the show of minerals, wool, beef, mutton, and fish (frozen and preserved), with samples of grain, photographs of the comfortable homesteads, the magnificent stock of horses, cattle, and sheep will attract to the colony that class of settlers you wish—name y, those with a little money and plenty of brain and muscle power to develop the resources of he colony.—I am, &c.,

H. J. Scott.

[What we said was that Parliament must be prepared for an outlay of at least £100,000, but that if successful the enterprise would very possibly leave a profit as the receipts in that case would be very large.—Ed. O.D.T.]

The following letter is taken from the Wellington "Evening Press" of January 3rd, 1890:—

The New Zealand Exhibition in London. To the Editor.

Sir,—My attention has been called to a letter upon the above subject signed "Discretion" in a recent issue of your valuable paper. It seems to me somewhat remarkable that anyone should be found presumptuous enough to so emphatically pronounce upon a scheme with the main features of which (to say nothing of details) he was entirely ignorant. The proverbial angel might well have feared to tread on such uncertain ground.

"Discretion" considers that to advertise our own dear country and its wealth of resources at Home would be "to forward the characteristics of ridiculousness with which we are already viewed by our sister colonies, and, indeed, by the world at large." Even with the help of a formidable array of dictionaries I have not been quite able to fathom the profound depths of wisdom doubtless conveyed in this remarkable sentence. One thing is clear. "Discretion" is altogether unaware that while New Zealand has spent pounds, sister colonics have spent thousands in advertising them-selves at Home. It is only the misleading croakings (which would be positively wicked in the falseness of the impression they give outsiders, did we not know that they arise merely from an undue accretion of bile) which bring the colony into contempt and ridicule abroad. And, thank goodness, there are now signs that all the mists of dismal misrepresentations are not sufficient to blind the eyes keenly watching us from abroad to the solid, though humble, prosperity of our people.

But, sir, taking "Discretion's" doleful view of our condition as the correct one, what are the chief-in fact the only—remedies? Why these:—
1.An extended market and increased prices for our products.
2.The introduction of foreign capital to furnish work for our people; whether that work is found in the mine, the factory, or the field is immaterial.page 13
3.An increased population, provided the emigrants forming that increase come with the amount of capital necessary to establish themselves here.

Now, I appeal to any man of common sense who possesses some knowledge of the world whether these three objects cannot be better attained by a judiciously planned and properly conducted New Zealand Exhibition in the very heart of the world's market than by any other method. Is it then truly "unveiled hypocrisy" to scheme for such worthy ends as these?

Can our wool, our frozen meat, flax, timber, or minerals be brought before purchasers in any better way than by showing well prepared samples at their very doors?

Take our dairy produce alone. Even "Discretion" will not deny that here in New Zealand we can make butter and cheese which can compete, if given a fair opportunity, against the world. Yet our whole annual make of butter would not supply London's wants for half a day (vide statistics in Insurance and Finance Journal of June 1st and London Gazette for September and October). Nor can all our dairy factories in one year make enough cheese to keep up with the demand in London during four days. Surely we have, still unproductive, vast tracts of land fully equal to that already being grazed. What is wanted but capital and practical farmers and graziers to quadruple our output and to make our dairy products command the top prices at Home? If "Discretion" can project any practical scheme to achieve these ends, less costly and more efficient than a New Zealand Exhibition in Loudon, with exhibits to attract attention, working dairies to serve as illustrations, a Government intelligence bureau to secure the sale or lease of our lands, an efficient and well-equipped lecturer upon New Zealand, a New Zealand restaurant where the ablest French chef that money can procure will serve up nothing but New Zealand goods in the very best style—if he can beat this colossal cheap advertisement, let him do it, and I for one will heartily support him.

Finally, that M. Jules Joubert, who proposed the scheme, should be entrusted with its execution is only natural, for he has demonstrated that he can do what no colonial Government has yet been successful in doing—he can fun exhibitions at a profit.—I am, &c.

Wm. Freeman Kitchen.

The following letter appeared in the "Evening Star," Dunedin, on Feb. 10, 1890:—

Mr Joubert's Scheme. To the Editor.

Sir,—It would be a thousand pities if the suggestion which emanated with Mr Joubert—that an exhibition of New Zealand manufactures and products be held in London under the sanction, and with the aid of, the Colonial Government—should be allowed to lapse for want of a careful analysis as to what would be the practical results of such an enterprise.

It is doubtless admitted that at the Indian and Colonial Exhibition New Zealand took anything but the important place in that representation which she was capable of doing, and I would unhesitatingly assert that an exhibition such as Mr Joubert suggests, with a minimum of risk and the surety of a maximum of practical result, cannot fail to commend itself to each colonist, after examination. It would appeal alike to the monied class and the mechanic, and do greater good than years of service of agents in the cause of imigration, and appeal to a more substantial class. The best result would be obtainable by the Exhibition being a New Zealand one pure and simple, without amalgamation of interests with any other page 14 colony or colonies. It would need powers to denude for the time being the contents of our museums, showrooms, and workshops in the interest of a high colonial cause.

We complain of our dairy interests and consignments not meeting with fair play; the same with our meat traffic, extending even to flax. Our cheese, butter, and meat are openly sold as the products of other countries, notably of Britain and America. It will establish the fact that an article bearing a New Zealand brand is equal to and superior in cases to the products of other countries.

It will tend to bring practically under the notice of shipowners and others the value of our coals for the supply of coaling stations in the Indian Ocean. It will aid the fruit industry. It will establish known information as to our New Zealand timbers, and with the kauri create a possible large demand for manufactures where absence of knots, etc.. is a great feature, as in the case of piano tops for subsequent ebonising; and with our woollens I believe that quite a demand was established during the Indian and Colonial Exhibition for the rugs of pure wool. But these are only sample cases of where a direct trade would be benefitted. New Zealand would undoubtedly reap a harvest from the establishment in such an exhibition of a systematised land bureau, conducted by a government officer well acquainted with all the Crown lands open for settlement, who could render information upon the subject, supported by large photographs of the districts and general scenery, and accept applications from intending settlers under any of the Land Settlement Acts who could assure them of the land they select being reserved pending their taking possession. This office would do more real good in a practical immigration cause than lecturers who would induce people to emigrate upon uncertainties. And those with means would feel assurance in determining to throw in their lot with those of this colony when they had the opportunity of negotiating for the land before leaving England, and with the surroundings and proofs of fertility which the Exhibition would be capable of illustrating. For this cause alone—the cause of a practical immigration and land settlement scheme, inducing an influx of vigorous colonists—Mr Joubert's scheme stands with glowing recommendations.

I would contend that such an Exhibition could be established and conducted with little or no subsequent loss so far as the immediate £ s. d. is concerned, and certainly with a happy result out of all proportion to the expense incurred. I suggest that the opinion of each member of the Legislature be obtained, and it would then be as certainable what probability there would be of the scheme being matured and accomplished if brought before the House during the coming session.—I am, etc.,

T. O. Kelsey.