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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 78



Similar arguments were used in favor of devoting, say, an afternoon a week in strictly fishing districts to outdoor seaside pursuits, as was done in France. As showing the national importance of fishing, it was pointed out that in Japan the fishing population numbered three millions; that the fish caught around the British [unclear: Islos] were worth ten millions starling a year at 2d per lb; while the yield of the North Sea—an area about the size of France-was estimated at twenty-five millions sterling. It was shown by diagram how enormously more important fishing should be to New Zealand than to France, seeing that we have nearly three times the total coast line, and that whereas New Zealand has 400 miles of coast for every 10,000 square miles of page 67 land France has only 75 miles of coast to the same area. It was mentioned to at the asylum fishing boat at Puketeraki had caught as much as 100,0001b weight of fish in a single year, worth, say, £800, and equal to the yield in flesh of a farm of, any 1,000-acres. It was pointed but that this harvest was inexhaustible, and could be much more fully gathered in if fishing were systematically pursued with a fuller knowledge of apparatus and methods and proper observation of fish and their habits. As an illustration it was pointed out that the introduction of improved crayfish pots last year had greatly increased the catch at Puketeraki. The fishing instruction in France embraces learning to swim, learning all about a boat and how to sail and pull it, the use of the compass, taking bearings, the making of all kinds of nets, etc., and it was pointed out that at most of our fishing ports instruction in these

Fig. V.

Fig. V.

Graphic chart showing approximately the proportions of coastline to land in New Zealand, France, and New South Wales respectively. The small squares, 100 miles a side, each represent 10,000 square miles of territory. New Zealand is represented to the left as a country 1,000 miles long by 100 broad. The length of coastline is practically doubled by indentations, as represented by the ten-square diagram. The small squares above France and New South Wales show for those countries the average extent of coastline for 10,000 square miles of territory viz.—75 and 25 miles respectively, compared with 400 miles of coast for the same area in the case of New Zealand.

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matters could be undertaken by old men whose knowledge would otherwise die with them. The doctor said that if he had six sons at a seaside school, and each one was destined for a profession, he would wish them first of all to have their senses and powers trained in these practical local matters. Our modern tendency was to centre all attention on books, and to leave out of account the development of the being in relation to his surroundings, forgetting that any square mile of coast was an epitome of the whole world.*

In concluding, the lecturer regretted very much that he had not had the opportunity of evoking from the practical teachers present their views on the fundamental issues that had been brought into prominence during the course of the present controversy on Education. In a matter of this kind, in which the profession felt almost as much interest as the teaching profession itself it would be a great advantage if members of the two professions could meet and confer from time to time with a view to broadening their interest and knowledge mutual ground. Whatever benefit might result to teachers and doctors from intercourse, he was sure that a great boon would be conferred on the generation. As creative agents, the and responsibility of teachers could scarcely be overstated. School- could directly exercise more influence over the destiny of the race than the members of any other profession. This fact made it imperative that we should leave no stone unturned that would the efficiency and status of teachers, or that would improve the conditions system of education in our colony.

* The recent exhaustive report on Education, issued by the New South Wales Commissioners, emphasises the importance attached in France to fostering and developing agriculture and fishing by giving instruction in these directions in all suitable localities. With increased knowledge and improved methods skilled open-air industrial pursuits are made more attractive and lucrative, and the tendency of population to swarm into towns is checked. The following is an extract from the report of the Commissioners :—"It may be said of the French people that they endeavor to adapt their teaching to the particular needs of the community. Nature study with them follows the natural surroundings and natural phenomena. Lessons on the life of a sailor and a fisherman must be given in all the elementary primary schools on the coast Agriculture there, while not entirely abandoned, makes way for ideas regarding sea occupations. . . . Teachers have taken up the work with great enthusiasm. In twenty-one out of the maritime departments in which elemetary nautical teaching is given, the instruction seems to have already borne fruit." If this aspect of education is worth attention in France and New South Wales, it should be infinitely more so in an insular country like New Zealand, with its extensive indented coast-line, and inexhaustible harvest of the sea.