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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 76

New Zealand in 1849

New Zealand in 1849.

In the beginning of the year 1849 I accompanied Sir George Grey in H.M. ship Inflexible page 39 on a visit to all the settlements already founded or projected by the powerful New Zealand Company, afterwards taken over by the Government. "Wellington," "Nelson," and "New Plymouth" had been established, and an excellent class of emigrants sent to them from England; but they were then comparatively small places, chiefly composed of wooden houses. The sites of Dunedin, in Otago Province, and of Christchurch, in the Province of Canterbury, were then unoccupied, excepting by a small tribe of natives and a few stock breeders; but the country gave promise of great facilities and scope for extensive farming, to which was soon added the discovery of gold in Otago, which attracted numerous miners and their followers, so that when I revisited the place in less than 20 years afterwards the wonderful energy and perseverance of the settlers had changed wide and desolate plains into cornfields, and formed towns at the seaports possessing fine stone-built churches and elegant public buildings in regular streets, with shops and warehouses, hotels, and other accommodations, more like those of an old country than one might expect to see in a colony so many thousand miles distant from the parent land in so short a space of time. Although very little of a botanist, in my rambles on the mountains of the Nelson Province I had the good fortune to discover some new varieties of plants, which I sent to the Royal Gardens at Kew, and found my page 40 name favourably mentioned as a collector in Dr Hooker's excellent book on the flora of New Zealand.