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NEW ZEALAND--SITUATION AND PRINCIPAL TOWNS.
SITUATION AND PRINCIPAL TOWNS--CLIMATE, SOIL AND OUTBREAK OF THE NATIVES--IMPORTANCE OF GEOGRAPHICAL POSITION--THE NEW ZEALAND COMPANY AND THEIR EFFORTS TO COLONISE--NEW ARRANGEMENTS MADE WITH THE GOVERNMENT--CONDITIONS--NEW ZEALAND CHARTER--THE ABORIGINES--CHARACTER, TRADITIONS, ETC.--IMPROVEMENTS INTRODUCED BY MISSIONARIES--ELEMENTS FOR EUROPEAN CIVILISATION--POPULATION--RESOURCES--AGRICULTURE AND SHEEP-FARMING--WOOL AND LONDON SALES OF IT--COMMERCIAL STATISTICS--IMPORTS AND EXPORTS.
THESE islands are included within the 34th and 48th degrees of S. latitude, and the 166th to 179th of E. longitude, and rendered memorable by Cook's visit to them in 1770. They are three in number; namely, Middle Island, the largest and most compact, and now called New Munster; Northern Island, now known as New Ulster, and Southern or Stewart's Island, the smallest, to which the name of New Leinster has recently been given. New Munster is separated from New Ulster by Cook's Straits, where the town of Wellington and Port Nicholson are situated, while New Munster is divided from her sister isle of New Leinster by Foveaux's Strait. 1
Auckland, the capital, is situated on the Western side of New Ulster, at the entrance of Waitemata harbour, and on the S. side of the Straits. It was at first proposed to have the town built at the upper end of the harbour, but the shoal water near the land, and the distance to which it would have
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NEW ZEALAND--SITUATION AND PRINCIPAL TOWNS.
been necessary to bring vessels from sea, were sufficient objections. At the back of the town stands Mount Eden, the town itself being in the county of Eden, the family name of the Earl of Auckland. The population of the county and parish of Waitematee, in the year 1843-4, and within an area of 24 square miles, was thus returned:--
European Males. 1,506 .. Females 1,016
Aborigines... 350 .. Females 250
[Totals...] 1,806 .. 1,266 -- Total 3,122
The population within the same limits is now supposed to exceed 6,000, among whom is a much larger proportion of aborigines.
Auckland certainly enjoys some general advantages in point of geographical position, but these are accompanied by defects as regards locality. Experienced residents avow that in its immediate neighbourhood it wants wood, and the fresh-water streams running downwards are few and scanty. The country round is thus far from being attractive to settlers, although, in a military point of view, the entrances are susceptible of good defence. The harbour is broken into several bays, on one of which, called Commercial Bay, the town stands, separated from Official Bay by Britomart Point, a projecting point of land upon which the church and barracks are erected. In Official Bay the principal officers' allotments of land are situated, and there they generally reside. Upon the ground above is the Government House--a long, low building of wood, raised upon a brick foundation. Unfortunately there is no landing-place, the shoal water extending to a considerable distance out, so that a boat cannot come close up to the beach unless at high water. It is on recent record that a ship, laden with coals, of which the inhabitants at the time stood in need, actually sailed out of the harbour because there was no chance of landing the cargo within anything like a moderate length of time.
The several bays, Eastwards, are occupied by various settlers following different pursuits. The one next to Official Bay is called Mechanic Bay, where there is a rope-walk, of some extent, the property of three brothers, who make cordage from the New Zealand hemp, and their demand is greater than their power of supply. The rope made by the natives is also much esteemed.
These bays have sundry beaches, but the rocks and projecting points which form them are highly picturesque. For some distance into the water they are generally crowned with flowering shrubs, while the ground between them rises to a general level, covered with fern, upon which, and the grass growing under it, the sheep and cattle thrive.
With all its defects in the eye of the European, the natives must never-
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AUCKLAND, PORT NICHOLSON AND NELSON.
theless have attached, in their own estimation, a more than ordinary value to this locality. The surrounding hills were formerly fortified, in the early idea of the natives, and are nearly all still seen encircled, near the summits, with a succession of trenches, many of which are dug to some depth and wearing the appearance of terraces, and in some instances as many as 5 and 6, one below the other, evidently indicating, on the part of the indigenous race, a firm determination, like that of the ancient Mexicans and Peruvians, to resist foreign aggression and foreign sway, while yet they neither knew the power nor the intentions of those who approached them under the flag of peace and in the fervent hope of bettering their condition.
It has been remarked that in the immediate vicinity of Auckland, wood is wanting. At some distance in the interior, but not further South, forests of the Kawrie tree (Dammara Australis) are met with, more particularly to the Westward, and about Manakau harbour, and up a creek in the harbour, above what is called the Centinel Rock, where there is a forest of a considerable size. Some of these trees, when measured at 4 feet from the ground, would square 3 feet 6, and even 7 and 8 inches, to 40 feet below the branches, perfectly erect and smooth; and this peculiarity is met with in many other parts of the islands. The Kawrie gum streams copiously from the stumps of the trees which have been cut down, covering the surface with the appearance of wax, and hardening in the air. This gum, now become an article of merchandise, is also found and by the natives collected in large lumps, sometimes embedded in the earth, on spots where the parent tree has long ago disappeared.
Port Nicholson is a large harbour of an oval form, and surrounded by high lands covered with trees. The entrance from the sea is long and narrow, and the navigation rather intricate. Here the first settlers sent out by the New Zealand Company arrived in February, 1840, and felt disappointed at the general appearance of the locality, and the few capabilities which it presented as an agricultural station. The town of Wellington stands upon the beach, extending near to the water's edge for a distance of about two miles; but, in consequence of other preferable localities having been since discovered, it does not increase in a manner corresponding to the expectations of the founders. Port Nicholson is 800 miles from the Bay of Islands, where the settlement of Kororarika, the first formed by us in New Zealand, stands.
The town of Nelson, in Cook's Straits, is built at the bottom of a deep bay, the entrance to which is narrow and at all times dangerous. It is also far out of the track of shipping, and the land around it by no means so inviting as that seen in many other parts of the Colony. The other settle-
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CLIMATE, SOIL AND OUTBREAK OF THE NATIVES.
ments founded by the New Zealand Company are New Plymouth and Otago.
From this brief sketch of the early settlements, it will readily be concluded that the selections of the first localities for stations, or towns, were not judiciously made. It must, however, be acknowledged that at that time the Colony had only been partially explored, and the threatening, if not hostile position which the natives assumed, so soon as they became fully acquainted with our intentions, added to the difficulties. 2 Since then surveys have been pursued with more caution and science, and it has been ascertained that the several lines of coast are indented with bays and inlets, more or less accessible, some of which possess great attractions. The climate has also been more carefully studied, and it is now admitted that in the localities at present inhabited by Europeans, the temperature seldom reaches higher than 80 deg. of Fahrenheit, or falls below 45, although on the tops of the highest summits snow is observable all the year round.
The valleys in the interior consist of a deposit of alluvial soil, in many
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IMPORTANCE OF GEOGRAPHICAL POSITION.
parts rich with, in most instances, a substratum of clay. Each island is intersected with mountains, the sides of which frequently show rich brown mould and aluminous earth, equally noticed on the tops of the lower hills; but on the whole there is a remarkable absence of natural grasses, nor are such extensive and level plains noticed here as may be seen in Australia; but there is nevertheless a large proportion of available land, and the pasturage found upon it is plentiful and highly nutritious. The climate favours every production, animal as well as vegetable, and is singularly congenial to the English constitution. There is, therefore, every reason to believe that the agricultural and pastoral capabilities of New Zealand are very considerable. Copper, sulphur, and iron are known to exist. Coal has also been discovered near Nelson, which, according to recent accounts, was tested by being used on board the "Inflexible" steamer, and although only obtained from the surface, was found to answer extremely well.
Looking prospectively, the position of these islands adds greatly to their importance. This fact was proved by the evidence and written opinions of many respectable persons in the Parliamentary Session of 1845, when the affairs of "England's youngest Colony" occupied a ten nights' debate, and covered more paper in the shape of reports and correspondence than any external topic ever did before. At a public dinner given to Lord John Russell on the 13th of February, 1841, Lord Ashburton spoke thus:-- "The position of the New Zealand Islands on the map--their climate, fertility, abundant harbours, surrounded with the seas most suited to the whale-fisheries, and, above all, the character of the native population, led him to anticipate that these islands were likely to become the great seat of wealth and naval power--in short, to be in the Southern Ocean what the British Isles were to the Northern."
New Zealand has often been called the "Queen of her own hemisphere," and no doubt in the course of time this new Colony will become the centre of a great maritime trade. The District of New Ulster is said to present the most eligible field for agricultural operations, and it besides affords greater facilities for internal communications, more especially with the seat of Government. The annals of no European Colonisation project furnish an example of so fair a beginning as that witnessed in New Zealand; but the results to be expected were paralysed, and in many instances defeated, through a variety of causes which it would take me out of my way to enumerate.
In justice I ought, however, to remind the reader that this was the first modern attempt at what may properly be called "Systematic Colonisation;" and through the active and prudent direction of the New Zealand
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THE NEW ZEALAND COMPANY AND THEIR EFFORTS.
Company, the germ of a society, containing all the elements of industry, intelligence and order, was planted in the midst of a savage people. 3 The Company's agents were the heralds of peace and the pioneers of civilisation, and, with a party of about 1,200 emigrants, arrived at Port Nicholson, as before stated, early in 1840; and although the locality was badly chosen, and great disappointments consequently followed, the nature and objects of the enterprise were generally approved of by the parties interested, and the means prepared to carry them into effect deemed adequate. The attempt to colonise New Zealand was a great--a philanthropic undertaking, but almost in the onset thwarted by a combination of errors and irregularities, which greatly impeded its progress.
The errors, it is lamentable to say, began at home, and were thus emphatically defined by a most respectable eye-witness, the Honourable Henry William Petre:-- "The disinclination of H. M. Government to introduce a system of Crown colonisation, or to adopt or sanction that proposed by the Association and the Company, coupled with the disavowal of British sovereignty over New Zealand, rendered titles to land precarious, and the establishment of law and order a matter of extreme difficulty. 4
These errors were aggravated, independent of something like a spirit of nationality, by the recollection on the part of the natives of irregularities committed by European individuals only a few year's before, and followed by a reckless system of speculations, carried on by land-jobbers, which eventually caused a general derangement in the affairs of the Colony, and entirely counteracted the beneficent ends with which it was undertaken, and led to a war with the natives. Without entering into
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NEW ARRANGEMENTS MADE WITH THE GOVERNMENT.
the particular claims and complaints of the New Zealand Company, all of which were submitted to Parliament during the last session, and very earnestly discussed, it may suffice to say that the disclosures exhibited a strange tissue of mismanagement here and misgovernment on the part of the Colonial Authorities.
Happily these errors have now been repaired, and the traces of these irregularities effaced; but, although the voluminous Parliamentary documents on this subject are in the hands of the public, and the discussion which ensued upon them is so recent, I should not be acting fairly were I to withhold the following tribute of praise, due to the authors and actors in the arrangements, which at the time appeared in the leading journal of the British metropolis.
"The papers relating to New Zealand, which have lately been laid before Parliament, are among the most interesting and encouraging that have yet been published with reference to that Colony. Appearing at this critical juncture, when the subject of systematic colonisation is in a manner forced upon the attention of Government, they derive additional importance from their immediate relation to that difficult question. The history of New Zealand is the history of a great design, defeated by the incapacity of those who have been entrusted with its execution. It is a history of petty jealousies, of personal quarrels, of Colonial-office intrigue, of rapacious avarice under the garb of religious zeal, of malice pretending to humanity, of civilisation triumphing by fraud over barbarian ignorance, of barbarian revenge wreaking itself in cruelty upon the weakness of its oppressors, of alternate neglect and meddling folly, of imbecile indifference and presumptuous misgovernment. The annals of European colonisation do not, with perhaps one exception, furnish an example of so fair a beginning conducted to so foul a conclusion. Certainly, with no exception, do they contain so lamentable a record of failure, produced by no external or unavoidable circumstances, but by the sole inherent corruption of internal organisation.
"No better proof can be given of this fact than the reaction that has taken place in the Colony since Captain Grey assumed its government. From that moment the prospect brightens and prosperity returns. Slowly, indeed, it has come back as yet, but its steady progress has not been interrupted. The present Governor found a savage population in open and successful rebellion, smarting under wrongs for the most part imaginary, and emboldened by the vacillating indecision of a Government without justice or judgment. He found a company, the head and origin of a once flourishing settlement, paralysed by acts of oppression. He found settlers expelled by pretence or sufferance of law from lands which they had bought and paid for. He found a soil but lately rescued from nature, returning again under her solitary reign. He found a bankrupt treasury, an unequal and suicidal taxation, a Legislature without confidence in itself, and a people without trust in their rulers. Such a complicated tissue of error had Captain Grey to unravel, so much to undo, and yet more to construct. His first proceedings were directed to the re-establishment of order and authority. He drove the native rebels from behind their wooden stockades, captured some of their chiefs and dispersed the rabble; and this he did without one act of cruelty, with very little severity, and almost without bloodshed. Then, having
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CONDITIONS OF THIS ARRANGEMENT.
given security to life and property, he took the wisest measures for restoring public credit, recalled the debentures issued by his predecessor, and remodelled the Customs. The hardest task he reserved for the last, after the more pressing dangers had been averted, and tranquillity had left leisure for mature consideration. This task was the adjustment of land-claims; a difficulty inconceivable by many who are not intimately acquainted with the internal history of New Zealand from the Treaty of Waitangi to the present moment."
While Earl Grey felt disposed to recognise the claims of the New Zealand Company to compensation for injuries inflicted, both at home and in the Colony, he, nevertheless, preferred to rest the Government concessions chiefly upon the expectation of public benefits, which it was considered the Company was yet capable of conferring upon the new Colony. In consequence, the authorities at home, after a full review of the case, consented to take it under their protection, and in a manner to maintain it in existence for three years longer, and also to supply it with funds and guarantee its debts; but it was furthermore declared, that if at the expiration of that period the prospects of the Colony should not be improved, the Company are to be dissolved, and the whole responsibility of colonisation to devolve upon the Government. 5
On this topic I shall merely add, that measures were adopted of a nature calculated to conciliate the native population, and insure their amalgamation with the settlers. The latest advices from New Zealand convey an assurance that the new plans, through the aid of the new local authorities, were producing most desirable results. The Governor had at length succeeded in adjusting and terminating the unsettled land-claims, which had for so long a time been a fertile source of complaint among the emigrants, and delayed the prosperity of the Colony. 6
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THE NEW ZEALAND CHARTER.
Under date of December 28, 1847, a series of instructions issued from Downing street, addressed to the Governor of New Zealand, and accompanying the new Charter of Government for that Colony. In organising the internal policy of the British settlement in New Zealand, Lord Grey's instructions proceed upon an enlarged and liberal view of the only secure basis of political institutions--the universality and identity of municipal rights. The origin of delegated power is fixed in the free deputation by the people. The country is to be distributed into districts, which are to assume the municipal constitution of the boroughs; the common affairs of which are entrusted primarily to a common council,
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ORGANISATION OF THE PROVINCIAL LEGISLATURE.
elected by the burgesses, and the council is to concentrate itself for active administration into the more compact body of a mayor and court of aldermen. The same common council is also to elect members who are to serve in a House of Representatives, which is to form one of the three estates of a Provincial Assembly. For this purpose the whole of New Zealand is to be divided into two or more provinces. In each Provincial Assembly, laws will be made for the province by the concurrent will of the House of Representatives, of a Legislative Council and of the Provincial Governor; which together constitute the Provincial Legislature. Such is the provision for the topical administration of affairs; but for a
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THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE ISLANDS.
more comprehensive administration of whatever relates to the whole Colony, it is provided that there shall be a superior deliberate body, to be designated the General Assembly of the Islands of New Zealand, to be holden under the Governor-in-Chief. This General Assembly will consist of the Governor, of a Legislative Council and of a House of Representatives--none to be of the Legislative Council who are not at the same time members of a Provincial Legislative Council; nor of the House of Representatives of the General Assembly, who are not also members of a Provincial House of Representatives. The members of Legislative Councils will be appointed by the Crown. It is intended to have a Governor and a Lieutenant-Governor for each province, besides the Governor-in-Chief: but, for the present, these appointments will be confined to a Governor and a Lieutenant-Governor--Captain Grey and Mr. Eyre. From these more prominent institutions will flow all subordinate powers in the Colony, judicial, fiscal, magisterial, or of whatever other nature they may be. The respective Legislatures will progressively mould these derivative organs of government into such forms as the exigencies of society will require. To a great extent it will be competent to those Legislatures so to mould even the institutions which the Charter itself creates, by regulating the elective franchise and the whole system of elections, municipal and legislative; care, however, being taken that no such enactments shall be either repugnant to the text or at variance with the spirit of the British Act or of the Charter.
It is thus to be hoped that a stop will now be put to further contention and confusion about the possession of lands. All public lands not actually cultivated by the aborigines are declared vested in the Crown; which is also to have the exclusive right henceforth of purchasing from the native tribes. But individuals, as distinct from tribes, are to be free, as heretofore, to dispose of their own property. The actual possession, colonial or native, of all lands is to be defined and registered now and henceforward. It is declared that the power of the Crown over land should never be employed for any purpose of patronage, influence or favouritism; nor shall it be at liberty to make a gratuitous alienation of any extent of land, however small, except with a view to public works, in which the whole society may have a more or less immediate interest. All other alienations of land by the Crown are to be on the terms offered at public auction; the surplus of the land revenue to be applied towards the introduction of manual labourers from this country; the natives to be tolerated in their own institutions, usages and peaceful practices.
The Charter contains 14 chapters, of which the one relating to the aborigines has already been inserted under the head of "Labour Ques-
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THE ABORIGINES--THEIR APTITUDE FOR RURAL EMPLOYMENT.
tion in Australia." After the abstract above given, the remainder would be too long and tedious for insertion here.
It is well known that the aborigines of New Zealand are the finest race of uncivilised beings yet discovered by our navigators. They have shown themselves to be good sailors and fishermen, as well as intrepid combatants. 7 They are, in fact, thrifty, being disposed to labour hard for any article of dress or domestic use which they may be desirous of possessing. For instance, if you require their services to carry a load, break ground or cut down a thicket, show and promise them an article of apparel, or some bauble likely to please their fancy. Exhibit to them money, the current value of which they perfectly understand, and before they undertake the job offered they will often naively tell their employer to place the remuneration bargained for in sight; which done, they begin their work and carry it on with zeal until completed. To this suspicious mode of acting, so common among all Indians in the presence of those whom they hold to be their oppressors, the natives have been prompted to resort, in consequence of their having sometimes been defrauded of their just earnings by evil-disposed persons, after the task assigned to them was performed.
I have been assured by persons who have been brought into contact with several tribes, that the New Zealand aborigines feel a kind of independence and self-possession, indicating a strong mind and a resolute spirit. Philosophically and impartially considered, our late quarrels with them prove this fact. Their stature and physical strength being generally above the ordinary race of mankind, may tend to produce that self-confidence which they naturally possess; but it is at the same time lamentable to reflect that this valuable race of men is fast wasting away. From inquiries made, it has been ascertained that the greater part of the native population is now located in the Northern division of the Colony, and generally
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TRADITION OF THEIR ARRIVAL IN THESE ISLANDS, ETC.
dwelling upon the coast; but it may be safely assumed that, if any reliance can be placed upon their own traditions (and they pretend to trace their ancestry back to sixteen generations), their numbers are fast dwindling away, either by amalgamation or through the ordinary causes attendant upon savage life when placed in juxta-position with European civilisation. 8
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EFFECTS OF AMALGAMATION AND DELICIOUS INSTRUCTION.
The process of amalgamation, seconded by religious instruction, is no doubt producing great changes in the habits and condition of the indigenous New Zealanders, and bringing them in from the wilderness. Their utility, arising out of the assistance which they render to the European settlers in their rural undertakings, has already been alluded to, and there is every reason to hope that through good example, strict justice and the agency of religious feelings, the remaining tribes, as they break up among themselves, may be induced to melt down and become blended with the general population. Christianity is fast spreading among them, and the custom of tatooing their faces, for which the New Zealanders have always
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IMPROVEMENTS INTRODUCED BY MISSIONARIES.
been so remarkable, and to which custom they have hitherto attached a kind of national importance, is entirely discontinued by those who have been converted. 9 The use of the native mat, made of the fibres of the Phormium tenax, is fast giving way to the European blanket, notwithstanding to this cause they themselves attribute the increase of disease and death among them, alleging that a lighter covering brings on diseases in the chest, to such an extent that, according to their own statistics, the proportion of deaths is now three times greater than the births.
Proper treatment and suitable tuition are alone wanting to render this class of human beings useful. The repulsive system, which in gone-by days we followed in our "American Plantations," is not adapted to the indigenous population of this hemisphere. The missionaries are already doing good service among the islands. "The temporal condition of the natives," says one of them in a recent letter, "is likely to be much improved by the cultivation of wheat, which is becoming general among them. It will furnish them with a marketable commodity, with which they can procure various articles of foreign manufacture, besides giving them that addition to their ordinary food which they require. The introduction of sheep among them is also most desirable; but hitherto, in the few trials which have been made, the natives have not evinced a disposition to take care of them, from a want of habit and example, and because they do not yet comprehend that the sheep is valuable for anything else than its flesh, while fish is a principal part of their food."
Her Majesty's ship "North Star," Captain Sir E. Home, Bart., lately visited the principal places in the islands, and on leaving Port Nicholson and sailing for Cook's Straits, after rounding Cape Terawhiti and passing several islands, the vessel moved on to the anchorage off the island of Kapiti, high and thickly wooded, and surrounded by a group, in the season used as a whaling station. On the opposite shore to Kapiti is the "pah" of the chief Waikani, which the officers visited, and were astonished at the progress Christianity is making there under the judicious care of the Rev. Mr Hadfield, of the Church of England, whose ministers, assisted by a few Wesleyans, have the entire spiritual charge of the aboriginal tribes. The officers were so much interested with the history and
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A CHURCH BUILT BY THE ABORIGINES.
appearance of the little church there, that a description of it was made a leading feature in their Report, from which I shall borrow the following passage:--
"The church is built of timber and the sides of bark. The length is 72, the width 36, and the height inside 31 feet. It is well floored and has nothing striking in its exterior appearance; but the simplicity of the ornaments and native taste, which has been displayed within the building, would render it creditable to any nation. It was designed and built by the natives of the pah: the ridge pole is one piece of timber, which is supported at equal distances from the ends by the uprights. The sides are supported by trees having the slabs cut off, the flat side within forming a pilaster; the rafters and binders are the same--all that is required to support and strengthen the building is shown. The timber is coloured with red ochre and white, the colours chiefly used by the natives of New Zealand, and laid on in the most elegant and intricate scrolls, for which they are remarkable. The spaces in the walls between the pilasters are filled with reeds, black and yellow, which is done by wrapping a riband of flax spirally round the reed, and holding it in the smoke over a fire, the part not protected by the leaf is permanently blackened. It would require some power of description to do justice to this church. The timber used in the construction is of the tree called totara. The tree which forms the ridge pole is from its size of great value to the natives, being fit to make their largest-sized canoe. It was a present from the neighbouring tribe at Otaki, who had been for many years their most inveterate enemies.
"Mr Hadfield had for some time resided during alternate weeks with the two tribes, and when those of Otaki found the purpose for which the building was intended, they cut the tree, dubbed it into its present form and took it to Waikani as an offering of peace, which peace has ever since continued. There are schools in this pah for children and adults, which do Mr Hadfield the highest honour. Whiti (a native son of Rere, an old man, chief of the pah) was a monitor at the Sunday school; in which there were not less than 350 persons, mostly adults--many were aged men. The school is composed of both sexes and all ages. It is divided into seven classes, taught by natives, one to each class. They take places by challenging; he who does not know the word or question giving place to him who does. Mr Hadfield resides with them in the pah. Here it is not unfrequent to see a child hearing his grandfather say his catechism."
After giving this description of the church at Waikani's pah, as well as of the manner and the auspices under which it was erected, the "North Star" Report continues thus:-- "The principal pahs here are Otaki, Westward, Waikani, where we were, and Porirua. Te-Rauparah, the most intelligent and powerful chief of the Southern parts of New Zealand, is the chief of the first and Rangiaeta the principal chief of the latter, which is a considerable whaling station, a short distance Eastward. The tribes here are numerous, well-armed and well-disposed, but aware of their power."
Having already dwelt at some length on the character and capabilities
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POPULATION AND RESOURCES OF THE COLONY.
of the New Zealand islanders, in my remarks on the "Labour Question in Australia," I need not add more. From all that has been said, it will appear evident that, with such elements as these, European civilisation, well-directed, might do much, and unquestionably the geographical situation of these islands, their numerous harbours and natural resources, are calculated to raise this new Colony to ultimate importance. The value of the natives is thus described by one whose high position there enabled him to form enlarged and correct opinions. "There are some--perhaps many persons--who look on the New Zealanders themselves as impediments to the prosperity of British settlers in that country. To such persons I would say that the best customers of the settlers in New Zealand are the natives. They are purchasers of a large amount of blankets, clothing, hardware, tobacco, soap, papers, print, arms, ammunition, boats, small vessels, canvass and other articles, for which they pay in ready money, in native produce (such as flax, pigs, fish, potatoes, com, &c.), in land, or by their own labour. The amount of native produce consumed by the settlers is really surprising; and a similar practice will continue while peace prevails, because the native is heedless of the value of time, and can sell his produce at prices considerably lower than those which can be afforded by the settler's. In conclusion, it is my deliberate conviction that the prosperity of the Colonists of New Zealand will depend on the prevalence of amicable relations with the aboriginal race."
In a despatch, dated Auckland, May 12th, 1846, and addressed by Governor Grey to Lord Stanley, it is assumed that "the amount of European population then resident in the islands was 12,000, and that of the natives 120,000;" but the Governor at the same time observed "that these estimates are not founded upon accurate returns, and probably each of them, more especially the latter, far below the population which they respectively indicate." 10 According to more recent accounts, the total European population is estimated at 17,000, and that of the natives at 140,000. In the same despatch, the Governor gives the following opinion on the growing resources of the Colony:--
"Since the termination of the war in January last, the receipts of Customs have continued rapidly to increase, and a trade of great importance is rising up between the European merchants and the native population. There seems no reason to doubt that this trade will very rapidly increase in extent and importance: the natives are now very generally purchasing small vessels for the purpose of trading; they are extremely anxious to procure articles of European clothing, and luxuries generally;
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AGRICULTURE AND SHEEP-FARMING.
and they possess abundant means of paying in produce for all such articles as they may require. Indeed, the consumption of British goods in these islands will soon become so considerable as to be an object of importance to British merchants, whilst the valuable products which are given in exchange for them will also prove highly advantageous to British commerce and industry. In illustration of this, I need only state that the principal articles of consumption here are woollen goods, the wool for which is chiefly grown in Australia, carried to England in British vessels, manufactured there and brought to New Zealand in British ships, where it is exchanged for timber, flax, copper, and wool in its raw state, which are again carried in British vessels to England. Thus in each stage of these employments an impetus is given to some branch of British trade."
Amidst their hardships and disappointments the settlers displayed a strenuous exertion and an inflexibility of purpose, which enabled them to triumph over the difficulties by which they were beset. The return of peace afforded them fresh encouragement, and the last year's experience has convinced them that the aborigines may be rendered a useful race, from whom, with proper treatment, a considerable amount of useful labour may be obtained; an advantage upon which the prosperity of any new Colony must mainly depend. They were able and willing to work for a reasonable remuneration, and, in the neighbourhood of Auckland and Wellington, were seen actively employed upon the roads, and in squaring stones for houses and bridges, as well as in rural labour. In the districts of Wikani, in Cook's Straits, they already possess corn-fields and garden-plots; and from other parts bring in to the settlers vegetables, fish, poultry, &c.
In a Colony like New Zealand, it will be readily understood that the first settlers made agriculture and sheep-farming the foundation of their future success. Sheep and cattle were soon obtained from the contiguous Colonies, and how far the new locality suited them is thus described by the Honourable W. Petre, in his interesting little work already quoted.
"What the cattle and sheep do feed upon I am unable to say. They browse to a great extent on the young shoots of various trees and shrubs, and find great abundance of agreeable and nourishing food, even before any grasses spring up. The rapidity with which they fatten is very remarkable. On my return from Sydney I was struck with their condition, although the period of my return was just the end of winter. The cattle landed lean from on board ship became fat in a short time, without the least care on the part of the owners, as they are invariably turned loose to shift for themselves. The weight of some oxen has reached 900 lb., and I know of no cases in which they have been fed artificially. A great number of sheep have also been imported from New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, and they have thriven well."
Dr Martin, lately a member of the Legislative Council of New
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WOOL, AND LONDON SALES OF IT.
Zealand, affords more recent and corroborative evidence of the truth of the preceding assertions, in these words: 11 "The pasture is certainly not the same as in New South Wales. We have not the same apparent amount of grass, nor such extensive and level plains, but our pasture is, notwithstanding, of a description far superior and more nutritious. On our very poorest pasture, sheep, cattle and horses not only thrive well, but even fatten in a short period, and the quality of our beef is far finer than that of any of our neighbouring Colonies. Cattle and sheep-grazing will, I am confident, become in a short time a favourite and a profitable occupation both with our native and European population."
A large share of the early attention of the settlers was devoted to the growth of wool, and how far they have succeeded, although surrounded by difficulties and disasters, will be best seen from the following particulars:-- At first the importations of wool from New Zealand were blended with those from Australia, but in 1844 they were returned separately, and in that year, that is, the fourth of the Colony, they amounted to 12,533 lb. In 1845 they rose to 26,030 lb., but in 1846, owing to incidental causes, receded to 24,070. Under all circumstances this will not, however, be considered a bad beginning, more particularly as in the interval shepherds had become scarce and the industry of the settlers directed to other pursuits. The results thus obtained nevertheless prove the capabilities of the Colony for rearing sheep.
The wool thence imported is found to possess all the properties which constitute a good quality, and consequently in our market it has realised nearly the same prices as that of the Australian flocks generally, from which the stock was originally procured. The difference, if any, has arisen from the New Zealand wool not being equal in condition to that grown in New South Wales, which may arise from incidental causes. Our house lately sold the fleeces of two flocks, purchased at Sydney and pastured within the township of Wellington, which produced from ls. 4d. to ls. 6d. per lb., prices which could not fail to prove satisfactory to the grower. Some weeks ago I had samples of wool submitted to me for inspection, from the flock of the Honourable Mr Petre, now on the spot, which, I am bound to say, were of the most promising character. I have, in fact, had demonstrative evidence of the good condition of the sheep, a fact which can be easily determined by their fleeces being what is termed "full of yolk," which unquestionably proves the healthy condition of the
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COMMERCIAL STATISTICS, IMPORTS, EXPORTS, ETC.
animal. The following are the prices obtained for New Zealand wool at the London sales in the year 1846.
In thus opening to the British merchant the resources of this new region, teeming with mineral and vegetable wealth, and already partially inhabited by a population sprung from our own loins, and seconded by the natives ready to take our manufactures in exchange for the produce of their soil, I should not be doing justice to the energies and perseverance of the New Zealand Colonists were I to omit noticing their progress in other respects. This task I shall best perform by adding a summary of the latest statistical facts, published by authority, which will at the same time show the growing importance of this recent acquisition in a general point of view, and mark its commercial and financial progress.
In the early stages of the Colony the settlers, of course, stood in need of larger imports than they could pay for in the produce of the soil. They were in fact establishing themselves, and consequently required extras, which, in one shape or other, they brought with them from England or ordered out after them. In 1841 they were only in a situation to ship, in return, to the value of 3,267l.; but in 1845 their exports rose to 30,724l.; and that this proportionate progress has been fully sustained is proved by the fact that the returns for the first six months of 1846 exhibit a sum equal to 19,434l., which, with the successive improvements, by the end of the year, it was confidently expected, would considerably exceed 40,000l.
In 1841 spars constituted the largest item exported, being returned at 500l.; but in 1842 sperm oil is quoted at 1,984l.; an evident proof, in the infancy of the Colony, of the productive capabilities of the surrounding
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COMMERCIAL STATISTICS--IMPORTS, EXPORTS, ETC.
seas. In 1844 copper ore took the lead, being returned at 6,800l.; sperm oil at 2,214l., and manganese at 1,865l. In 1845 Kawrie gum is at the head of the exports, to the amount of 12,847l., and next copper ore, rated at 9,125l. In the half-year ending July, 1846, copper ore takes the lead, being 436 tons, valued at 8,420l.; while sperm oil receded to 2,505l., and Kawrie gum to 1,261l.
From 1841 to 1844 the Revenue averaged 45,000l. per annum, and in 1845 rose to 52,746l., of which, however, 38,745l. come under the head of "Receipts in Aid;" while the Expenditure, in the same year, was returned at 38,841l. The European population, at the present time, may be rated at 20,000l.