AGRICULTURAL AND HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY OF AUCKLAND,
THE Committee of Management in presenting the Report which they were requested to draw up at the General Meeting of the Society on the 18th of May, have thought it necessary to make some preliminary observations of a general nature, before entering upon subjects of a more specific and practical character, and to extend their Report to a greater length than was at first intended, that it may not only serve as a Manual to the newly arrived Settler, but afford information from authentic sources to intending Emigrants; and place them in possession of facts which may not only decide them in their choice of New Zealand as the most suitable field for emigration, but prepare them for what they may expect on their arrival in the Colony.
They would therefore, briefly advert to the very great advantages New Zealand offers to the British Farmer in the varieties of its soil, so well adapted to the growth of European grains, roots, and grasses; in a climate, which is a milder type of the more favoured portions of their own country; and whose fertilizing showers, and genial sunshine cause a vigour of vegetation that is truly astonishing, and render a return for judiciously conducted labour not a chance, but a certainty. Where artificial grasses flourish throughout the winter, and where the natural herbage affords food for stock during the whole year.
Another advantage presents itself in the immense extent of water communication, provided by the numerous estuaries, rivers, and creeks, which pierce as it were the whole Island, by whose means, the transmission of produce, and the reciprocal interchange of commodities, can take place without the intervention of roads; since the slow progress made in long journies by wheeled carriages, renders agricultural produce in many of our Colonies of little value but for the consumption of the grower.
The Natives too, so different in habits and character from those of our other Colonies in this hemisphere, are found most useful in a variety of ways. They are not, as has been very justly observed, "a race of wild and excitable men clad in mats, and armed with tomahawks and spears, but on the contrary, a quiet, joyous, good-natured set of people; somewhat indisposed to continuous labour, but working stoutly enough when the wages offer'd are high enough to tempt them; and almost always partially (especially on Sunday) clothed in European apparel, except the shoes." They build houses of native materials for the settler, both commodious and comfortable, they furnish him with cheap labour in assisting him to clear his wild land, and they supply him abundantly, at a moderate rate, with pork, fish, and vegetables. The writer above alluded to, goes on to say, "The money procured by the sale of produce, or by labour, with the purchase money paid for lands bought by Government, is
immediately expended on articles of European manufacture, shirts, trowsers, blankets, &c. The newly acquired tastes which they thus gratify, serve to create and increase an actual dependance of the Maories upon the British Settler, without interfering in any way with their personal freedom. This circumstance, coupled with their sense of our superior knowledge and resources, gives ample security against the possibility of any outbreak. They are very honest, except those who have mixed with the depraved and profligate of our own population. There is scarcely a man amongst them (except those who were grown men when the efforts of the Missionaries commenced in these parts) who cannot both read and write. How far they comprehend their now religion, it is hard to say; they certainly understand it so far as to know it to be inconsistent with the system of violence and rapine that formerly prevailed."
The noble forests also, which generally clothe the hills, afford timber of various qualities for the purposes of ship-building, and the construction of houses, furniture, and implements of every description. Coal is found in various parts of the Colony, with lignite and peat, as well as limestone, and where that is deficient, the extensive banks of shells which abound on the shores of the rivers and creeks, offer an excellent substitute. Strata of brick-earth are deposited in every part of the Colony, and clay suited to the manufacture of earthenware of superior quality.
New Zealand also presents advantages to the Settler, which scarce any newly formed Colony ever possessed, in the ease with which stock, grains of every description, and other necessary articles can be imported from the neighbouring Settlements in Australia; so that these indispensible requisites, instead of accumulating by the slow progress of natural increase, can be procured to any extent at a moderate cost, and thus enable the Farmer at once to commence his operations on any scale his means may permit; most of the absolute necessaries of life can also be procured from the Natives without importing them.
This Colony further possesses advantages of no small value to the respectable Settler in the provision which has been already made for religious instruction under the zealous administration of the Bishop of New Zealand; so that it may be confidently hoped that in the course of a few years not a settled district in the Colony, however remote but will possess its Church and Minister. The same zeal seems to inspire the other denominations of Christians for the erection of places of worship. Thus a foundation has been already laid for institutions which tend more than any other to the true advancement of a country; for it has ever been found that a religious population are contented and industrious.
The difficulty of obtaining education on sound principles has been adduced as a draw-back to the emigration of families. This objection has been already met, by the formation of a School at Waimate for the lower branches, and of St. John's College at the same place for the higher branches of education, under the patronage and general superintendance of the Bishop, which is of itself a sufficient guarantee for their efficiency.
The new system of Colonization, by which, not only the inhabitants, but the customs and institutions of an old established Society are sought to be transplanted, is now about being carried into effect in this Colony; a system calculated to smooth the rugged path of emigration, to soften the breaking asunder of social ties, and render it little more than a change of residence to another hemisphere.
To a numerous class in Great Britain, whose delicacy of constitution renders a removal to a milder climate imperative for the preservation of health, New Zealand may be strongly recommended. The extreme equability of its temperature, and genial mildness, have been proved by experience to be most beneficial to persons so circumstanced, and who, instead of wasting their time in unprofitable idleness in foreign countries, might here occupy themselves in employments suitable to their means or inclinations.
The Committee in concluding these prefatory remarks would strongly impress upon the minds of the settlers the great probability that exists of not only a market being opened for the sale of their produce in the Australian colonies, where the withdrawal of convict labour and the uncertainty of the climate render the cultivation of grain both expensive and precarious, and often makes them entirely dependant on other countries for the supply of that article, but of a large home consumption in supplying the various establishments engaged in preparing the native Flax for the European market; the workmen in the mines, which are already opened and are likely to be opened in various parts of the Island--the numerous parties employed in cutting spars for the royal and commercial navy--and the whaling gangs scattered along the coasts of both Islands. The mind of the Farmer should be feelingly alive to these prospective advantages, and however remote they may appear, they should ever serve as a beacon to direct him in his course, and animate him to contend with, and finally overcome the difficulties by which he must necessarily be surrounded in the arduous task of cultivating a new country, where doubt and uncertainty of remuneration are too apt to paralize exertion.
THE CENTRAL DISTRICT.
The central district of the North Island, which extends from Kaipara to the Lake of Taupo, seems to present a more eligible field for agricultural operations than any other part of the colony, for not only does it include the two great basins of the Waiho and the Waikato, which are occupied by plains of vast extent, but it offers a most extraordinary facility for internal communication by means of the harbours, estuaries and rivers, which radiate from Auckland, the Capital, as a centre, and all of which may be navigated either by boats or canoes to near their sources, and between most of which very short portages intervene, over which from time immemorial the natives have dragged their canoes without difficulty.
The Waiho or Thames, whose mouth is about 40 miles distant from Auckland, communicates with it by means of the Gulf of Houraki or Frith of the Thames, it is navigable by boats of some size for 70 miles as it winds through the great plain, nearly to the native settlement of Mata Mata. The Peako is somewhat nearer, and
runs through the same plain nearly parallel to the former, and can be ascended to within a short distance of the same place. The Waikato can be reached through the medium of two short portages on either side of the harbour or estuary of Manukao, which bounds the south side of the peninsula on which Auckland stands, its extreme navigable point and that of its tributary, the Waipa, which traverses a succession of plains of very rich soil, may be about 150 miles from Auckland. The estuary of Kaipara lies to the North, and one of its rivers, the Kaipara, extends for 50 miles to within 14 miles of the head of the Waitemata, on the southern bank of which Auckland is situated, both of which points can be reached by boats of some size. The Wairoa, its chief tributary, can be navigated by vessels of 300 tons for 60 or 70 miles, and boats can ascend for 50 miles farther. The Otamatea in like manner for 30 miles, and the Oruawaro for 12 miles, both can carry boats a considerable distance higher.
This slight sketch will suffice to show what advantages accrue to the settler from this easy and extensive water communication, by which he can transmit his produce either to the central depot at Auckland, or to any part of the circumjacent country, and with the same ease receive his necessary supplies, for there can be little doubt, as the country becomes peopled, that British enterprize and capital will cover these portages with rail roads, for which they are naturally adapted, being either very level or sloping in inclined plaines.
DISTRICT OF AUCKLAND.
The country in the district of Auckland is of that undulating character which marks the lower series of the secondary sandstone formations, with table lands and corresponding vallies, so that the sections formed by the shores of the estuaries and rivers which indent it, --the Waitemata--the Manukao--the Tamaki and part of the gulf of Hauraki present a succession of argillaceous sandstone cliffs of different heights, with intervening bays receding inland-- the country lying between these great estuaries varying in breadth from 15 to 3, and at the portage of the Tamaki only 3/4 of a mile, affords over its surface flats of considerable extent and declivities practicable for agriculture, the bottoms being always occupied by a small stream, --generally bare of wood or covered with patches of small sized trees suitable for fuel or fencing, --and rising in gentle elevations to the mountain ranges to the west and south, which are of a different geological formation and are universally covered with forests of gigantic trees.
In various parts of the above described tract, hills shoot up in the form of truncated cones of various elevations, the highest about 500 feet, which are the remains of extinct volcanoes, each having a well defined crater and a base of some extent covered with loose fragments of vesicular lava and scoria, or immense masses of more compact lava "cropping out" at various points, the interstices however, permitting the growth of a variety of shrubs and trees. The whole of the above-mentioned country, with the exception of the volcanic land is well watered by natural streams, and water can be procured at all times in abundance by means of wells,
The amount of land available for agriculture in this district is about 120,000 acres, of which 36,000 have been surveyed and laid out in country sections of 100 acres, as yet only 4,096 acres have been sold, one part lying between the Waitemata and the left bank of the Tamaki, but the greater portion extending into the large plain, bounded to the north by the right bank of the above-mentioned river, to the west by the Manukao, and to the east by the gulf of Houraki, the hills lying along the basin of the Waikato form the southern boundary, to this there is convenient access from Auckland by wheel carriages for more than sixteen miles. A large extent of level country, but partially explored, lies to the south-west, watered by fine fresh water streams. There is also a considerable tract about being laid out on the north shores of the Waitemata.
NATURE OF THE SOIL.
About one half of this district, consisting of undulating ground, is covered with fern and various shrubs, chiefly the tupaki, and possesses a soil of a rich yellow clay mixed with sand and charred vegetable matter, owing to the frequent burning of the fern, which when broken up and exposed to the air, soon pulverizes into a fine rich loam, varying in depth from one to two feet, easily labored, but from the excellency of the subsoil, it may be cultivated to any depth required. The subsoil consists of a red and yellow clay, mixed with ferruginous sand. The substratum is formed of a soft blue and yellow argillaceous sandstone.
One fourth of the district presents a more level surface, being covered with dwarf manuka, fern, and a variety of small shrubs and tufts of grass. Its soil consists of a whitish clay mixed with sand, more adhesive than the former, yet, when broken up and exposed, soon pulverizes; the subsoil, white clay and red ferruginous sand, substratum, the same as the former. It is not so rich as the first mentioned soil.
The remaining fourth may be considered different from either of the former, being generally situated near the volcanic hills of a varied surface, the hilly portion being covered with fern and grass. The soil consisting of a dry red volcanic formation to a great depth, the greater part covered with scoria, and where it is only on the surface, the soil is a rich red loam, very fertile; another portion covered with trees and shrubs, shows a rich mould of a volcanic nature to a depth of several feet, mixed with red sand and small calcined stones, resting upon a substratum of concrete. Another small portion lying along the banks of fresh water creeks, covered with evergreens and tree-ferns, affords a rich friable clay, mixed with ferruginous sand, resting on a substratum of a soft yellow and red ferruginous sand-stone.
It is thus seen what a variety of soils are offered to the agriculturist, each adapted to some particular production, and favorable to some peculiar mode of agriculture.
The climate never subject to any great, or sudden vicissitude of temperature, permits the growth of every European grain and grass, which, exempted from scorching winds and chilling frosts,
flourish in a most luxuriant manner. The winter season offers no check to vegetation, as the artificial grasses and clovers grow throughout the year, and the genial and gradually advancing spring just pushes on grain-crops of European origin sufficiently to he ripened about mid-summer, when six or eight weeks of dry weather can he assured to complete the harvest. Maize is gathered later, but is generally safely secured. Hay can be cut and stacked with equal certainty in the early summer, as this district is never visited by those heavy thunder storms which do so much damage in Europe.
CLIMATE FAVORABLE TO HEALTH.
From what has been said of the climate as regards the productions of the soil, and its equal temperature, it may be readily imagined that it is favorable to the health of its inhabitants; the heat never enervates, nor does the cold drill so as to affect the human frame, and although at some periods there is much moisture in the atmosphere, yet it is unaccompanied by cold, and in no part of the world can individuals of temperate habits, using common precautions, enjoy greater bodily vigour.
DISEASES OF THE CLIMATE.
There may he said to he no endemic diseases, intermittents, and bilious remittents, are unknown, and common continued fevers are of rare occurrence. Of course diseases common to Europe occur here, but they are of a mild type, and readily yield to appropriate remedies; and although there is no immunity from the fatal effects of true phthisis to persons arriving in the Colony in an advanced stage of the disease, yet experience has proved that a tendency to it may be checked, if not wholly eradicated by a residence in this part of New Zealand. It may be safely asserted that in none of our Colonies have so many persons been congregated together as in Auckland and its vicinity, partaking more or less of the hardships incident to settling in a new country, and have suffered so little from disease. In corroboration of this, it may be stated, that out of about 700 immigrants who have landed here since October last, a period of ten months, only two adults and five infants have died, all of whom were in a weak state of health on their arrival.
Houses are built by the natives for the settler in the bush of a species of rush called "Raupo," which is found in abundance in all the swamps, this being cut and dried is neatly tied with strips of "Koradi" or native flax, to a frame-work of wood, and the roof is thatched with a tough species of grass; they are sometimes very tastefully lined with reeds. They can he built of some size, are very warm, and when divided into apartments, and furnished with floors, doors, and windows, are extremely comfortable. They will last with very little repair for three years. Their price varies according to size and finish, from 30s. to £5, or even £12; much caution however, is required in using fire, as they ignite like tinder, and are burnt to the ground in a few minutes; it is therefore advisable to have the cooking house at some distance from the main building, and to have a good stone chimney.
Good weather-boarded cottages of kauri, containing two apartments, can be built for £50, and so on in proportion, and bricks are also to be had at a very moderate price.
EXPENCE OF CLEARING LAND.
A general description of the land, comprising the surface of the country around Auckland, has been taken notice of, in alluding to the variety of soils; it is now necessary to give a more detailed description, in order to point out the best means of clearing and bringing them into a state of cultivation, and when this is done by contract the prices are as follows:--
First. Woodland, which is thickly covered with trees of moderate size. There are two methods usually employed, one is to cut down the wood leaving the stumps to perish by natural decay, or nearly so, by which, in the course of a year or two, they are easily rooted out, or at once to uproot them, and as it depends much on the size, the closeness of the trees and the perfect manner in which the work is performed, no precise sum can be stated, but including chopping, collecting, burning the refuse wood, ploughing, harrowing and bringing the land into a state of good tillage, it varies from £8 to £16 per acre; but it must be remembered that a great portion of the wood is useful for fuel and fencing, and that the soil is always of the best description, being a rich friable loam, especially suited to the growth of wheat.
Secondly. Land covered with small fern:
£ s. d.
Mowing the fern and preparing for the plough
0 6 0
Two ploughings, 30s. each
3 0 3
Removing and burning roots
1 0 0
Harrowing and rolling
0 12 0
4 18 0
The soil is generally a light loam or sandy clay, well adapted to barley, grasses, and clovers.
Thirdly. Land covered with small Manuka. The price of clearing this land varies considerably, for instance, where it has been burnt some time previously it may be cleared for the plough at £1 per acre, but in other cases, where it is much encumbered with a species of long tough grass, it costs from 30s. to £2. Of course we allude here to the Manuka which does not require uprooting.
£ s. d.
Clearing for the plough
1 10 0
Ploughing and crossploughing
3 0 0
Ploughing for seed
1 0 0
Collecting and burning bushes and tufts of grass
0 4 0
Harrowing and rolling
0 10 0
6 4 O
The soil of this description of land is superior to the former, but adapted to the same crops.
Fourthly. Fern and Tupaki land. The clearing of this variety is expensive in proportion to the quantity in which each kind is found,
and the ploughing and harrowing will be in the same ratio. That is, where there is the greatest quantity of Tupaki, so will it be found most expensive in clearing, and where fern is most abundant--more expensive in tillage, but as the greater quantity of the latter is found where the former prevails, the two extremes are given.
£ s d.
Where in least quantity, clearing per acre
1 0 0
Fallowing and crossploughing
3 0 0
0 15 0
Collecting and burning the fern root
0 10 0
Ploughing for seed
1 0 0
6 5 0
£ s. d.
When in greatest quantity, clearing per acre
3 0 0
Three ploughings at 30s.
4 10 0
Two ditto at £1
2 0 0
1 5 0
Collecting and burning the fern root
0 15 0
11 10 0
This description of land is generally a rich deep loam, suitable for grain, green crops and grasses.
Fifthly. Volcanic land. This is situated adjacent to or around the bases of the volcanic hills, and is too much encumbered with scoria for general cultivation, and the expence of clearing it must depend entirely on that particular, the stones however may be employed in making durable fences, if however completely cleared it is light and rich, and well suited for gardens and vineyards. The expense of a wall of 5 feet high is from 6s. to 7s. per rod of 6 1/2 feet.
In making the above statements, the land is supposed to be well worked, and under as good tillage as a farm in England, and putting in the seed is included in the harrowing. It may be mentioned also that the same charge is made for the second as for the first ploughing, as it generally requires as much labor, and that the calculations are made at the price for which a team of bullocks can be hired at present, and that land thus cleared can be afterwards worked by three bullocks or two horses in a plough.
There is another mode sometimes practised by giving the land two deop ploughings in the Autumn and letting it remain fallow during the winter, and in spring putting in a crop of potatoes or oats, then giving it the following Autumn a good crossploughing and harrowing, burning the fern root on the ground, it will then be prepared for a crop of wheat or barley in the beginning of winter or following spring; this mode is applicable to fern land.
Where however a farmer and his family provided with a team of bullocks undertake clearing and preparing new ground, the expence will be trifling in proportion to the labour and skill employed in the task.
It would appear that a farmer so situated could break up in one year, in many parts of this district, from 70 to 100 acres of land, and prepare 20 acres for crop.
The Committee however would state, as a general rule, that all newly broken up land should lie fallow during either the winter or summer, or should be prepared for other grains by a crop of maize or potatoes, by this means the sourness incident to all unbroken land, particularly fern land, will be removed, and the soil either pulverized by exposure to the atmosphere, or comminuted by the roots of the above named plants, will be ready to receive either wheat or barley, and. will amply repay the time thus apparently lost.
Several kinds of fences are employed in the district, when put up by contract and the materials wholly furnished by the contractor, the prices at present are as follows:
Two rail fence, five feet high
Three ditto ditto
One rail and a ditch 3 feet by 4 feet
Two do. ditto ditto
Two rails with palings
Where wood is found by the farmer, the prices of the undermentioned fences are as follows:
Two rail fence and ditch 3 feet by 4 feet
One rail and ditch 5 feet by 4 feet
These fences, when made of durable wood and the posts charred, will last for several years. The posts, if possible, should be made of puriri, a wood much resembling English oak. The one rail and ditch 5 feet by 4 feet may be recommended as the best fence. Stonefences are built of 5 feet high at from 7s. to 8s. per rod.
All the clay lands of this district are especially suited to the growth of wheat, and all the samples of this valuable grain which have been as yet produced, have been of very superior quality, but having been only partially sown, and in very small quantities, no average of the return per acre can be yet given.
As the soil and climate of this part of New Zealand seems peculiarly adapted to the production of malting barley, which it may be remarked cannot be grown with any certainty in New south Wales, nor even in Van Diemen's Land, the attention of the farmers is particularly directed to it, as it will probably become one of the staple exports of this district, as well as being manufactured into malt in the colony itself, since the temperature of the greater part of the year will permit brewing to be carried on.
Long wool of fine quality it is presumed can be produced from the facility with which pastures can be formed in the low grounds for sheep of the Leicestershire breed, and in the high lands for the South Down variety.
As no other grass but rye grass (lolium perenne) has as yet been sown in this district, the Committee do not feel themselves authorized to report on the best methods of forming permanent pastures, until the usual meadow grasses are imported from England, which they recommend to be immediately done. They suggest the following varieties as most suitable, viz.: -
These are the grasses generally found in the meadows in England.
Maize is already a very important article of New Zealand produce, being cultivated largely by the Natives. It is generally a certain and abundant crop, not only being excellent for horses, pigs and poultry, but it might be used for domestic purposes as in America. It is generally sown on newly broken ground, the outlay on which it will often repay in favourable seasons, returning from 50 to 70 bushels per acre. As however there is much manual labour expended on it, doubts are entertained whether its cultivation, except under the above circumstances, would be profitable, as the Natives will always undersell the settler. It may however be exported to New South Wales when the crop fails there.
The patatoe is one of the most valuable productions of New Zealand, it grows here to as great perfection as in any part of the world, but the varieties cultivated by the natives, with few exceptions, are indifferent from their seldom changing the seed, but some imported last year from Van Diemen's Land, called the "Red Derwent," have returned an abundant crop of very fine quality. The Committee would therefore recommend this variety to be procured, as they feel convinced that they may yet become a very important export to the Sydney market, if carefully selected and well packed.
The New Zealand potatoes having only fallen in disrepute there from their indifferent quality; it might be well also to endeavour to procure some of the most approved sorts from England.
ASPECT AND SHELTER.
As much of this district is of an open character, particular attention should be paid if possible, to aspect and shelter, the best is from N. E. to N. W., as the prevailing and coldest winds are from W. to S. Where natural shelter is deficient, hedges and screens of wood should be planted, and a species of mimosa, commonly called the "Black, or King George's Sound Wattle," seems best adapted for that purpose, it grows very rapidly from seed, to the height of twenty feet in three years, is ever-green, and its bark is said to be useful in tanning. None of the native trees except the karaka, a species of laurel, seem adapted to the above purpose.
The white thorns which have been brought into the district, have thriven well, and contrary to their habits in Europe, grow from cuttings. The furze thrives equally well.
FATTENING OF CATTLE.
It is quite astonishing how cattle and horses fatten in the bush on the natural herbage, for not only are there a variety of grasses and succulent herbs intermixed with the fern, which generally clothes the surface, but the tops of the young fern are greedily eaten by stock, as well as the leaves and twigs of many trees and shrubs. Bullocks turned into the bush on their landing from ship-board, have been known to increase several hundred pounds in weight in a few months, and heifers born and bred in it, of two years and a half old, have weighed eight hundred pounds.
They do not require any shelter during the winter, nor to be brought into the yard to feed, as in Great Britain. They are also liable to fewer diseases. Here there is a manifest advantage to the dairyman and grazier in this district; they have not as yet (whilst the country is still open) a necessity for forming artificial pastures, though they would doubtless repay, nor have they occasion to undergo the labour and expence of making, or storing hay, as in the Canadas, for winter consumption; but should it be found necessary to feed the young stock at night, they can always command plenty of green food by sowing Cape barley in the autumn.
The quantity of milk given by cows fed in the bush varies according to the season; but when in full milk, they may yield from eight to ten pints. This quantity would be increased on artificial pastures.
The formation of dairies may be urged on the farmer as one of his most profitable investments; the butter, cheese, and bacon, made from pigs fed on the refuse butter-milk, would find a ready market, either here or in New South Wales.
DANGER TO CATTLE FROM TUPAKI.
It is necessary to warn the settler against the danger cattle run from eating too freely of the young succulent shoots of the tupaki, a shrub found in abundance on the best land; cattle just disembarked generally suffer from it, as they eat all green food, most greedily.
The animal is much distended, or "blown," as after a surfeit of green clover in England, and the brain seems to be affected; but whether from the poisonous nature of the plant, or from grasses eliminated during the fermentation of the indigested mass, it is difficult to say; probably both combine to produce the symptoms. It is customary in these cases to keep the animal in constant motion, and sometimes to bleed; but the same remedies as for "blown cattle" should be employed.
To guard against losses in this way, it is suggested that cattle should be kept in enclosed paddocks for a few days after their arrival.
It seems however, to fatten them after they have been some time in the bush, and it is a fact worthy of notice, that out of sixty head landed last May, all of which were turned into a district abounding in tupaki, and on the leaves of which they freely browzed, not one has as yet been lost, arising most probably from the young shoots not having sprouted at the period of their being turned into the bush. A strong coarse grass which also abounds, is said by some to be equally dangerous.
PRICE OF LAND.
The price of country sections varies according to the locality, the quality of the land, and the competition that those may cause, but it seldom rises above the upset price of £1 per acre; and considerable tracts belonging to "Land Claimants," have been offered for sale at from 5s. to 10s. per acre.
PRICE OF LABOUR.
At present good farm servants may be engaged at the rate of £18 to £20 per annum with board and lodging, and a man and his wife, for the same period, from £25 to £27 with rations. Labourers 2s. 6d. per diem without rations. Steady carters and bullock drivers, from 4s. to 5s. per diem. Smiths and carpenters 5s., and masons 4s. per diem. Female servants and dairy maids from £12 to £15 per annum.
It is not anticipated that wages will rise for some time, from the great abundance and cheapness of all the necessaries of life.
The seasons in the central district of New Zealand may be arranged as follows:--
The spring comprizes the months of September October, and November, with a mean atmospheric temperaturo of 56° 48', it is rather windy, with showery weather, but the sun is often very powerful and vegetation rapid.
The summer includes December, January, February, and part of March, the mean temperature being 67° 00. The thermometer ranging from 84° to 56°, it is dry, particularly during January and February, but the surface is refreshed by copious dews, and the heat is tempered by sea breezes from the north east.
The autumn extends from the middle of March to the end of May. The weather is mild and pleasant, with occasional showers, and strong breezes from the S. W. The mean temperature is 59° 03', and the sun is sometimes powerful
The winter comprehends June, July, and August, with a mean temperature of 50° 40'. The thermometer standing sometimes at mid-day as high as 64°, and for a few nights descending as low as 32°, when a thin pellicle of ice is formed on standing water, and the ground is covered with a slight hoar frost, but this is immediately melted by the morning sun, and hardy vegetables are never affected by it. Rain often falls heavily at this season, to the extent of one inch and a half in twenty-four hours at the periodical gales, which blow from E. to N. E., and N. W., at, or about the full and change of the moon; these never last for more than two or three days, and the wind veering round to W. and S. W., the weather clears up, and the air is dry and bracing. Agricultural operations are scarce suspended during this season.
The coolness of the nights is a feature peculiar to the climate of New Zealand, this is most agreable to the feelings during the summer, although it may tend to retard the maturation of the more delicate fruits. It arises probably, from the unclouded state of the heavens at night, permitting a great radiation of heat upwards, and consequent cooling of the serial strata in contact with the earth, and of the earth's surface itself, and causes those refreshing dews which prevail in the summer months.
Fogs are rare, and never last for more than two or three hours in the morning.
Hail storms are very rare, and as they only occur in the winter, do not injure vegetation.
Snow never falls in this district, nor has it over been seen on the distant mountain ranges within sight of Auckland.
Thunder storms seldom occur, and only in the winter, and no recorded damage has been done by lightning.
The winds blow in this district during two thirds of the year, from W. to S. W., and S., and often very strong, but as these do not blow during the summer, they do not affect the growing crops, nor when ripe cause them to shed their seed. The prevalent winds during the remainder of the year are from E. to N. W. It may be remarked that the westerly winds seldom rise until ten o'clock A.M., and fall in the evening; they may be said to be the sea-breezes from the Western Pacific, and may be reckoned very salubrious on the score of health, as they are more frequent than from any other quarter.
LENGTH OF DAY.
On the longest day the sun rises at 15 minutes before five o'clock, and sets at 15 minutes past seven o'clock, giving 14 1/2 hours of perfect light.
On the shortest day, at 15 minutes past seven o'clock, and 15 minutes before 5 o'clock, giving 8 1/2 hours of light. The twilight at both periods being about 40 minutes.
SOWING AND PLANTING.
The very short time that has elapsed since agricultural operations have commenced in this part of New Zealand, has scarce permitted accurate observations to be made as to the proper seasons for sowing
and planting the various grains, grasses, &c., but we shall proceed give a summary of the experience of those individuals engaged in agricultural pursuits.
WHEAT may be sown in the autumn and winter, but June and July are thought to be the best months. It should always be sown deep, in drills, and then rolled; by this means, it is prevented from being washed out by heavy rains, and the soil retains moisture better during dry weather. It is fit for reaping in December or January.
BARLEY. Malting barley should be sown in August, or the early part of September, and reaped in the end of January, or beginning of February. --Cape barley from March to September; at the former period for cutting green, at the latter for making hay.
OATS may be sown in July, August, and September, for the like purposes.
MAIZE should be planted in the latter part of September, or during the whole of October, in rows three or four feet apart, and one foot in the row, or in clumps of five, at four feet distant, it is ripe in March, should be then pulled, the husk removed, and hung up in benches, or kept in a raised wattle shed, exposed to a current of air. Pumpkins may be sown in the intervals of the rows, or clumps, after they are earthed up.
GRASSES AND CLOVERS may be sown every month in the year, except January, February, and March, which are too dry.
POTATOES should be planted in August for an early crop, in September and October for the main crop; these are fit for taking up in December, January and February, They may also be planted in February, if moist, for a late crop, to be taken up in May and June, but it is doubtful whether this crop will repay. A crop is sometimes put down in April, to be used in August or September, but as they, are apt to be nipped by frost it can scarce be recommended.
TURNIPS may be sown in June, July, August and September, for late winter and spring crops, in October for summer, also in April and May for early winter crops, and those may be sown in ground from which potatoes have been raised.
MANGEL WURZEL may be sown in July, August, and September; it attains an immense size in this country.
HOPS. There can be little doubt but hops will succeed here if cultivated on a large scale, by competent persons, as some roots planted two years since in the Government garden here produced a plentiful crop of flowers last season, and seem to thrive wonderfully,
No country in the world seems better adapted to Horticulture than New Zealand, the alternations of shower and sunshine that characterize the climate for a great part of the year, cause a most surprising vegetation. All the common fruits and vegetables of Europe flourish in great perfection, and some of the southern climates grow vigorously in the open air,
There are planted at present in this district, peaches, nectarines, apricots, almonds, figs, lemons, oranges, olives, vines, plums,
cherries, mulberries, pears, apples, quinces, walnuts, filberts, and the loquat (mespilus Japonicus). These are all in a healthy state, and many give promise of fruit this season. It is doubtful if the orange will ripen its fruit, or the olive, both of which however are in a thriving condition. -- They may be planted in June, July, and August, and care should be taken to support them for the first year with stakes until firmly rooted.
The immediate formation of orchards cannot be too strongly recommended. They should contain peaches, apples, pears, plums, and figs, their produce would not only be agreeable adjuncts to domestic economy, but the apple and pear might be exported, and probably both cider and perry might be made for home consumption, or for the above purpose.
The vine plants brought from Sydney in October, 1840, have already produced grapes, and others procured from different sources and planted subsequently in gardens, have thriven surprisingly. The cultivation of the vine on a large scale is a subject that might be enlarged upon, but as it is expensive, and the return tardy, it is not likely to be attended to in the infancy of a colony, but it should not, be lost sight of, and it is to be hoped that some enterprising and competent person may yet undertake it, for there can be no doubt that the volcanic lands in this vicinity are well adapted for vineyards, and that good wine might be made from their produce. In the mean time, the experiments carried on in the gardens will show what success may be reasonably anticipated, and ultimately lead to the formation of extensive vineyards.
The goseberry, red and black currant, have been planted, but it is probable that the climate of this district is not adapted to them; as a long continued high temperature would seem to be unsuited to their habits; being natives of northern climates, they do not thrive; but probably means may be found to cultivate these national fruits. The same may be said of the raspberry, unless planted in a very moist and shady situation. The strawberry has afforded fine crops in some gardens, but the soil in general appears unsuitable, they generally run too much to leaf. The Cape gooseberry (physalis edulis) is almost indigenous, growing wild in every part of the country, but if cultivated in gardens and trained would grow to a greater size and prove a valuable fruit for domestic purposes. It bears nearly throughout the year.
MELONS of several varieties have been grown in the open air, tho' late in coming to maturity, they were of delicious flavour, but if some were raised in frames in the early part of the spring, and planted out, they would be much earlier and have a longer season.
RHUBARB, raised from seed, grows luxuriantly, but has not yet arrived at its full growth, it gives promise of being very fine.
The common culinary vegetables of Europe grow in this district in a manner that cannot be surpassed, but much judgment
is required ia selecting the periods for sowing and planting. It may be stated as a general rule, that no seed need be planted in the months of January and February, as the dryness of the season and the attacks of the insects will render the labour futile. The results of the experience of three years are now furnished.
CABBAGE. Every variety of cabbage may be sown from April to November, but those planted out in the early summer make little progress until invigorated by the autumnal rains. If however seed sown in summer escape the ravages of caterpillars, &c., they will be fit for planting out in April. With good management they may be produced almost throughout the year.
BROCOLI and CAULIFLOWER may be sown in the latter end of April for a spring crop. They may be also sown in June and July and planted out in September, and will be ready for use in the summer. The spring crop is particularly fine.
PEAS may be sown from June to December, but the late sown crops are uncertain; they are sometimes sown in April, but as they flower in June, they are apt to be nipped by the hoar frosts, they do however sometimes succeed at that season.
BEANS may be sown in May and June, when a foot high, it is best to cut them down close to the ground, they will then flower in September, and produce plentifully; if again cut down, they will bear again; they seem to be biennial in this climate; they may also be sown in September and October.
KIDNEY BEANS may be sown from September to November, they bear plentifully, and a species (haricot blanc of the French) produces abundantly, and might be used in their dried state with advantage, as in the south of Europe, in soups and stews, they are very nourishing and palatable; the scarlet runner does not generally succeed well, but a species, the Lima pole bean, introduced from South America, grows well in a rich soil and in a sheltered situation, and is a very delicious vegetable, being used as the broad bean; they may be sown in the early part of November, and trained on poles.
CARROTS may be sown from April to September, but not later with advantage, as they are apt to run to seed; they grow to a very large size.
TURNIPS may be sown during the same months as the carrots.
ONIONS, LEEKS, &c., may be sown for main crop in September and October. The potatoe onion, which thrives admirably, ought to be planted in June. A species of eschalot, which has almost become indigenous, being cultivated largely by the Natives, grows throughout the year.
SPINACH and BEET may be sown from April to October, but not later with advantage.
LETTUCE may be sown from April to the end of November, they grow during the whole winter.
RADISH, CRESS, &c., may be sown as the above, and grow to a great size.
GOURDS, PUMPKINS. The varieties of these vegetables may be sown in October and November, they grow to an immense size, and as they keep during the winter, are a very useful article for domestic purposes.
VEGETABLE MARROW. This delicious vegetable may be sown from the 1st October to the 10th November; an abundant crop is produced in the summer, when other vegetables are scarce, and the plants cease bearing for a time, but revived by the rains which, usually fall in the autumn, they often continue bearing until the month of June. There have been several varieties introduced from North America under the name of " Squash, " which are very fine.
CUCUMBERS may be sown in rich soil in the same months as the above, and follow the same course, but by the use of hot beds, they might be produced earlier.
TOMATAS should be sown in a rich soil, and in a sheltered situation, in October and November, and to ensure their early ripening, they should be trained to a trellis, they grow to a great size, and continue bearing until affected by frost.
CAPSICUM. The seed of this plant should be sown at the same time, and under the same circumstances as the above. They bear plentifully, and appear to be perennial in this country.
POT HERBS. These grow luxuriantly during the winter, and are mostly perennial. Sweet basil however, requires to be sown in October every year, the rest may be propagated by cuttings, from April to August.
It would be tedious to enumerate the variety of flowers that flourish in this district. It may suffice to say, that in addition to those cultivated in the open air in Great Britain, many grow here throughout the year, which there require the protection of a greenhouse. Hardy annuals may be sown at any time except during summer, which is too hot and dry. Tender annuals in September, almost every variety of ornamental shrubs grows from cuttings.
From the difficulty that exists of procuring sound seed, the Committee would urge the necessity of raising all seeds in the Colony. It is not merely requisite to select fine plants, but to sow them expressly for that purpose, so as to ensure the ripening of the seed before the appearance of the caterpillars in December, these troublesome reptiles seem principally to confine their attacks to the pods and seed vessels of the different vegetables; through which they cut their way, and devour the contents. It may be well therefore, to sow seeds at an early period of the year for the purpose of preserving them, and those that are raised by transplanting, as the cabbage, &c., should be planted out in the winter.
It may be strongly recommended in the formation of a garden, to trench the ground at least two feet deep, in order to bring up the subsoil, which, when so brought up and exposed, seems to be as favorable to vegetable growth, as the upper soil itself, this is more particularly necessary where fruit trees are planted.
DIFFICULTIES OF CULTIVATION.
The difficulty of bringing a virgin soil into a state for successful cultivation, must be great in every new country, but it is probably
less so in this district than in other parts of the Colony at present located, chiefly from its more level surface, and the absence of large trees; although some passages in a recent publication on New Zealand, would lead the public to suppose otherwise:
It is to be regretted that the author should have expressed such decided opinions, with such imperfect knowledge of the subject, for had he witnessed the easy manner in which the fern is uprooted by a strong plough and a good team of bullocks, he could never have described the primitive and laborious method employed by the natives, as the sole means of eradicating it.
The difficulties a new settler has to encounter, independant of his ignorance of the climate and other essential matters, but which, it is hoped the information contained in these pages, will materially lessen, are chiefly the want of good public roads, and of materials for fencing. The first however, is much diminished by the extensive water communication, and that during the greater part of the year, practicable, although somewhat circuitious routes may be always found by following the summits of the ridges, indeed, a road is projected to the settled part of the district, and partially commenced, and the abundant supply of material in the scoria, which lies quite adjacent, will render its construction easy.
The second can also be obviated by the formation of ditches, and ultimately by white-thorn hedges, which grow vigorously in this climate. Each succeeding settler will also have the benefit of the experience of those who proceeded him, and thus avoid the errors into which they may have fallen. Of course, as he is compelled to locate himself at a greater distance from Auckland, the only place at present, from whence he can procure his stores, get his agricultural implements repaired, and other minor wants supplied, his difficulties would appear to increase, but already incipient villages are forming, containing artizans; each succeeding year, will add its stock of knowledge to the information already obtained, and agricultural and horticultural operations will assume a statistic form by which the doubts, the hesitations, the losses of time and capital, will not only be diminished, but at length almost removed, and the newly arrived Immigrant will be enabled at once to commence his labours, with the full assurance that he will be ultimately rewarded in proportion to his energy and perseverance.
IMPORTATION OF SEEDS.
As a sufficient quantity of seed has not as yet been grown here, to supply the wants of the settlers, the Committee would recommend the following to be imported:--
Wheat of varieties, but chiefly white wheat. Malting barley. Cape barley. Oats of superior quality. Red and white Clover. French Clover (trifolium incarnatum). Sainforin. Lucerne. Vetches. Rye and Meadow grasses. Field Peas and Beans. Mangel Wurzel. Field Turnips. Varieties of Potatoes. Every kind of Garden Seeds and Potherbs. The seeds of pip, stone, and small fruits--of forest trees--of the hawthorn and furze. Vine cuttings of hardy varieties; Choice fruit trees, especially the Fig, Plum, Pear, and Apple.
Cattle and Horses of very superior breeds can be obtained in any number from the neighbouring colonies, but it would be desirable, that Sheep of the Leicester and South Down breeds should be introduced, from being more suited to this country than the Merino and other fine wool sheep of New South Wales.
IMPLEMENTS OF AGRICULTURE, &c.
Articles of this description most required are strong ploughs and harrows for breaking up and clearing wild land, also wheel and Scotch ploughs. One-horse carts, with extra wheel boxes and axle-trees. Drill ploughs. Small drill machines. Strong spades. Forks and mattocks, and all the most simple and little bulky implements for economizing manual labour. Axes and common carpenter's tools. All the more simple gardening tools. Steel hand mills. Zinc milk pans. Cheese presses and vats, and other articles which are of obvious use to a settler.
PRICES OF STOCK.
Working Bullocks, per pair
£30 to £40 0 0
Good draft and saddle horses, each
35 to 50 0 0
Milk Cows of choice breeds
12 to 18 0 0
10 to 15 0 0
Sheep (Merino's) each from
1 to 1 10 0
Sheep (Licester and South Down) for breeding, each
2 0 0
NEW LAND REGULATIONS.
The New Land Regulations came into force in November last, by an Act of the Imperial Parliament. It has placed the disposal of land on a settled basis, and has provided for a regular supply of immigrant labour in proportion to the land purchased for cultivation by the appropriation of one half of the proceeds of the sales for that purpose.
It is unnecessary to discuss the merits of the question, whether the price of £1 per acre be fixed too high or too low, or hazard any opinion farther than to state, that if the Emigration Fund be judiciously administered, it will have the effect of keeping the price of labour moderate and obviate the evil of extravagant wages, which have heretofore tended so much to prevent the capitalist from embarking in agricultural speculations.
The Committee would however particularly advert to the clause by which country sections that have been once exposed to public competition and not sold, are open to purchase by private contract at the upset price, as being particularly advantageous to the newly arrived settler; this arrangement is very important, for instead of the tedious and vexations delay, to which he was formerly exposed in waiting for the periodical sales of land, he can be placed in immediate possession and at once commence operations. It may be mentioned in support of this, that some gentlemen lately arrived, with Land Orders, selected and were located on their land in less than three weeks after their disembarkation,
The Committee think it necessary to offer an opinion as to the classes of persons most likely to be benefitted by emigrating to this colony.
Capitalists, with from six to ton thousand pounds, could invest a portion of their capital safely, at nearly treble the rate of interest they receive in Great Britain, and employ the remainder in the purchase, cultivation, and embellishment of an estate.
Practical Farmers, with from one to three thousand pounds, would be certain of success, by a judicious employment of their money, after a few years of exertion, they would become independant proprietors.
Small Farmers, or Yeomen, arriving here with from two hundred to five hundred pounds, would also succeed, if they could labour their land by means of their families.
The mild, yet invigorating climate of this Island, would seem to render it a suitable place of retirement to the civil and military officers of the Indian presidencies, who, finding a residence in the East incompatible with health, are yet fearful of returning to Great Britain, the rigour of whose winter, their constitutions could scarce withstand. They could purchase farms partially cleared, whose further improvement would be a source of pleasant occupation, and until their arrangements could be completed, they could have comfortable houses, both in the town and suburbs, at a moderate rent.
The Committee also feel themselves justified in recommending gentlemen of small fortune, and retired military and naval officers, possessing a small capital, independant of the allowance they receive from Government, to emigrate to this Colony. After a few years of exertion and self-denial, they would find themselves placed m a comfortable and independant position, and could dismiss from their minds all anxiety for the future provision of their families in the extensive field of employment a new Colony offers.
Farm Servants and Labourers of sober, and industrious habits, would never fail of having employment at fair wages, and in time might become proprietors themselves, by the purchase of small portions of land, which are always in the market.
Steady, and well conducted Female Domestics, would always find places, where their treatment and wages would be much better than in Great Britain.
A few steady Mechanics, such a Carpenters, Smiths, &c., might from time to time, find employment, but at present the supply exceeds the demand. The same may be said of Tradesmen in the Grocery and other lines of business.
But there is one class of persons to whom the Committee would address a warning voice, young men educated to no particular profession, and without capital, who might be tempted to embark for this Colony, in the hope of obtaining employment, these will invariably meet with disappointment, even those brought up to mercantile pursuits, are equally useless here, the principals themselves conducting the affairs of the few mercantile establishments the wants of the Colony require. The cultivation of the soil, and the manufacture of its natural productions for export, are the only legitimate
occupations of the inhabitants of new colonies, and none ought to be invited, nor are required, unless they bring with them the means of doing one or both.
In conclusion, the Committee would earnestly impress upon the mind of every Settler, or intending Emigrant, that whatever his means or his opportunities, he can alone command success by industry and prudence, and in most cases by much self-denial; but that by pursuing this course steadily, and by avoiding hazardous speculations, which have caused so much distress in the Australian Colonies; he may expect to enjoy in the course of a few years, not only all the comforts, but many of the luxuries of life, in a healthy and delightful climate.
A TABLE of the Mean Temperature of the Air at Auckland during the Years 1840, 1, 2 and 3.
A TABLE of the Mean Temperature of the Air at Auckland during the Years 1840, 1, 2 and 3.
This Table contains the results of Observations made during three years, with an external Thermometer placed in the shade and exposed to a free current of Air.
It may be mentioned that the difference of Temperature of the Thermometer ia the shade and in the sun is from 22° to 30° even at mid winter,
A TABLE of the Weather, enumerating the Showery, Rainy and Dry Days in the Years 1840, 1, 2 and 3.
A TABLE of the Weather, enumerating the Showery, Rainy and Dry Days in the Years 1840, 1, 2 and 3.
In this Table are given Observations on the Weather during three years.-- The Showery days note the slightest shower that fell during 24 hours. --The Rainy days, rain of three hours continuance. -- The dry days were, with very few exceptions, bright and sunny.