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1. - Is the climate really, as reported, on the average milder and less changeable than that of England?
I have not been in New Zealand long enough to report on
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the climate from my own observation; on first arriving, we certainly had too much rain; but rain here has not that chilling effect which it has in England; for several weeks past the weather has been beautiful. Those settlers who have lately come must think the climate perfection.
2. - What about is the present selling price of land, say within three or four miles of the settlement, and the general nature of the soil, as clayey or sandy?
Land is dear in Auckland; in and about the town it varies from £20 to £1,000 per acre, in the suburbs from £10 to £50 per acre; in the country twelve miles distant from £1 to £4 per acre; distant settlements, 7s. and upwards.
3. - what is about the present expense of clearing the land per acre - 1st of bush land; 2nd of fern?
Persons may go to any expense they like in clearing land. I expect to get as fine fields of clover as any in the world, at an expense of £1 per acre; the land does not want ploughing. A lucifer-match is the principal agent on the fern land; and whilst labour is so scarce, it would not pay to have anything to do with any other sort of land.
4. - What are the general materials used for building houses, and are they plentiful, and means for working them at hand?
Building is now very cheap; timber is to be had in any quantity; the Kauri pine is better than foreign deal. I am getting a capital wooden house built for about £150 (contract, £127); and there are several brick houses in the town, but the first settlers used wood almost entirely; bricks are now to be had in any numbers, and they are not expensive.
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5. - Can all the general fittings up of a house be obtained in the colony, or should any and what of them be brought over with the emigrants, and particularly as to pianos and musical instruments, and as to the probability of getting them repaired?
All the fittings-up of a house can be procured here; they are at this time selling at the auctions for about half the price you can get them in England, but the market is uncertain. It might be as well to bring a piano; there is a man who tunes very well, but I cannot speak as to the repairer.
6. - The same as to agricultural implements, saddlery, and harness?
These things, and agricultural implements, harness, &c, are dear, and if the settler means to set to work at once, he had better bring them with him; but if he means to look about him for six months, he might perhaps get them as cheap as at home.
7. - Can clothes be readily obtained; if not, what should be brought over?
A good stock of clothes will not be in the say; blue flannel shirts are worn in this colony (red in Australia); in the town people dress as they do in England: the servant maids and shop-boys are fond of white kid gloves; in the country, the blue shirt, the fustian or canvas trowsers is the general costume.
$. - Can good titles be made to lands sold, and can an emigrant buy directly from the natives without danger?
A Government title is the only good title you can now get, but we hope to have this matter altered shortly. Some persons get land from the natives, and the Government do not interfere.
9. - At about what ratio, as compared with England, is the
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ordinary expense of living in the colony?
Living in the town is about the same as in England. I cannot speak as to the country, but of course it is much less, as you must grow everything yourself.
10. - How is the fishing - 1st, of the rivers; 2nd, of the coast, simply with reference to its enjoyment as a sport? What are the ordinary species of game, and are they plentiful?
There are millions of fish; but sporting of all kinds is quite a dead letter in New Zealand. Pigeons, ducks, and wild pigs are numerous, but we are all too busy with our farms or our invoices to have a moment to spare to look after them.
11. - What are the nature of the roads; are they tolerably good between the important places?
The roads are first-rate where there are any; but the Government have a great deal to answer for in this matter. They sell their land on the condition that a certain share of the purchase-money is to be laid out in the making of roads, &c; they sell the land and take the settlers' money, and then leave him to get his road in the best way he can. There is but one opinion about this subject, and that is, that Government plunders us both of our land, time, and of our taxes.
12. - What is the usual rate of payment of labour per week, and is it generally considered in the colony a good plan to bring labourers out; and if so, what is the usual mode of binding them to remain with you?
Labour is from 15s. to 24s. per week. There are few good labourers in the colony; this is the greatest difficulty the emigrant has to contend with. You can bind a man to stay with
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you; but I should not advise any one to bring out his labourers with him, as he vail be almost certain to regret it if he does so.
13 - How are the clergy paid? by grants of glebe, or by stipends, or how? and may they farm more than eighty acres to which they are restricted in England?
The clergy have, I believe, no regular endowment. They are chiefly paid by the Church missionary society. I do not think the Bishop would let them farm.
14. - What is the general aspect of the country; is it well timbered, or the reverse; picturesque or not; and the rivers, are they ordinarily navigable?
There is no timber near Auckland; but within a few miles are splendid forests; from the town the views are very fine.
15. - Are European fruits and flowers plentiful or not?
Peaches, melons, and grapes, are in great plenty; apples are dear; everything European grows in the most wonderful manner.
16. - Are there any kind of beasts more than ordinarily destructive to lambs, &c.; or any birds or animals destructive to corn crops?
There are no destructive beasts or birds of any kind.
17. - Is the society good; and in the country what may be the distance a new settler would be likely to be from his nearest neighbour.
Plenty in the town; cannot say about the country.
18. - I suppose that where any other means of travelling than by foot are practicable, it is all done on horseback?
Foot and horse.
19. - What is about the per centage ordinarily to be obtained
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for money invested on doubted security?
I have lent money at £15 per cent, on as good security as any I could get in England; I believe I might have got £20 per cent. You may always depend on £12 per cent, on security undoubted. My present opinion is, that property in Auckland is as safe as property in London.
20. - At about what per year could a single person live, living comfortably but not at all luxuriously, and without embarking in any trade or profession?
A single man can live very well in Auckland for £100 per annum.
21. - Are any, and if any, what style of books to be obtained in the colony?
22. - Generally is the colony a good and pleasant field for emigration? and add any hints that may be useful for a person coming out; and what are the general nature of the difficulties he will have to overcome?
There is no doubt about the colony being a good place for an emigrant to come to; but should he not like New Zealand, it is easy for him to try Australia and Van Diemen's Land; ships are often going to these places. It is not every one who makes a good settler; he must have a good, contented, and hopeful disposition, with plenty of patience and industry. A person with these endowments has every chance of getting on at home, and if he is doing well, he had better let well alone.
The ship Cashmere, the property of Messrs. Willis, 3 Crosby Square, in which we came out, was well found in everything; we
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had plenty of water, and provisions of all kinds were in abundance and of the best quality. Of our captain I cannot speak too highly; the officers under him were also most efficient. I must say, in justice to Willis and Co., that they appear anxious to do all they can for the comfort of their passengers. A good deal depends on the passengers themselves, as to the voyage being disagreeable or otherwise, if there is no quarrelling amongst them; those who are not sea-sick may even enjoy the voyage.
The emigrant, if he can afford it, should put on board for the voyage all sorts of nice things, such as preserves of all kinds, almonds, and raisins, figs, &c, treacle, gingerbread, liqueurs, and a stock of candles. It is of great advantage on landing to have a good account given of you by your fellow-passengers; in two hours after the ship arrives at her port, everything which has occurred on board is known all over the town. A water filter may be found a great comfort, both on ship-board and afterwards in the colony.
Auckland is by far the best settlement in New Zealand. The authors of those accounts which have been written to the contrary have either been paid by the Hew Zealand Company for telling lies, or they have been ignorant of what they have been writing about. The soil of the Auckland district is, at any rate, equal to that of New Plymouth. We have half-a-dozen fine harbours, whilst New Plymouth has not one; we have ample protection against the natives whilst the New Plymouth settlers might be all eaten up for a breakfast by the natives.
At Wellington they have no land but that which is covered
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with wood, which is the same as having none at all, for no one in his sense would think of clearing timbered land, whilst labour is three or four shillings a day.
Nelson is well spoken of, but the land is rather inferior, and it has no harbour and no trade.
The Canterbury affair having failed, no one will think of going there, for some time at least.
Otago seems to be altogether out of the way; the climate is much colder than it is here; but from what I can learn, it must be a rich and beautiful district.
Auckland, April, 1851.