1858 - Stones, W. New Zealand, (the Land of Promise) and its Resources - [New Zealand Settlements and Land Regulations] p 42-63

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  1858 - Stones, W. New Zealand, (the Land of Promise) and its Resources - [New Zealand Settlements and Land Regulations] p 42-63
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[New Zealand Settlements and Land Regulations]

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An interesting discussion on the subject of New Zealand ensued, in which the Chairman, G. Moffatt, Esq., M.P., Mr. Ridgway, Mr. Simmonds, Mr. Hawes, and Mr. Sydney took part.

The time allotted for reading the preceding paper would not admit of the Author entering upon details, it is therefore given as it was originally penned and delivered, but the opportunity is now taken of adding a few particulars of the peculiarities of each of the six provinces into which the colony of New Zealand is divided; the emigrant will thus be enabled to decide for which province his previous mode of life may have more especially prepared him.

To each brief notice is appended the land regulations of the respective provinces, for it should be observed, that as some parts of New Zealand were colonized by Associations under various Charters or Acts of Parliament, the Act of Vict. 15 & 16. c. 72, which conferred a constitution upon New Zealand excepted from its interference the privileges previously specially granted; thus it arises that different land regulations obtain in the several provinces.

A few tables of statistics are also added, as being likely to be of interest to the intending emigrant.

The constitution of New Zealand is very liberal, permitting each province to elect its own council and superintendent, and manage its local affairs, the laws passed requiring only the sanction of the Governor before being acted upon. Moreover, the following thirteen items are placed beyond the control of the Provincial Councils, and must be legislated upon by the

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General Assembly of the colony, composed of the Governor and Legislative Council, and a House of Representatives, viz., Customs -- Courts of Law -- Coin and Paper Money -- Weights and Measures -- Postal Service -- Bankruptcy and Insolvency -- Beacons and Lighthouses -- Port Charges -- Marriages -- Crown and Native Lands -- Native Disabilities -- Criminal Law -- Inheritance.


The northern portion of the North Island constitutes the province of Auckland.

At an early period of our acquaintance with this interesting country, those pioneers of civilization, the Church and Wesleyan Missionaries, formed establishments at various stations in this district, and the intercourse between Europeans and natives thus commenced led to the subsequent settling down of many seafaring people amongst the native inhabitants, a very large proportion of which population is contained within the boundaries of this province. Hence it occurs, that the oldest European residents, and those most acquainted with the native character and identified as advocates of native interests, are to be found in Auckland.

From the many fine rivers which intersect this province, its coasting trade is large and gives employment to a great number of sailors, and for the same reason, mechanics and shipwrights accustomed to the building and repairing of boats and small vessels find ready and remunerative work.

The numerous extensive forests of noble trees in the Auckland district provide a very large source of occupation in the hewing and sawing of wood, and this labour is exceedingly profitable; in the year 1856, the timber exported from New Zealand (nearly all being from this province) amounted to 3,440,883 feet, in addition to the immense quantity consumed in this and the other provinces of the colony, for house and ship building purposes and firing.

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The position of Auckland, the capital of the islands, and the seat of Government, containing in itself and suburbs, about 6,000 inhabitants, was selected in 1840 by Captain Hobson, the first governor, as the site for the metropolis of the colony. It is a remarkable instance of the sagacity of Captain Cook, that he should have pointed out the neighbourhood of the Thames as the most eligible locality for an English settlement in Hew Zealand, and although several other places had comparatively large European populations before Auckland had a single resident, yet its natural advantages are so great as to have caused it to speedily surpass the older settlements.

This may be partly attributable to its peculiar and central position with reference to the West Coast. The extreme narrowness of the North Island at this part rendering access from Auckland to the important and fertile districts of Waikato, Manukau, and Kaipara, easy, and the distance round by sea, to these ports, which have dangerous bars, being long, this internal access is very important. Moreover, by means of the Manukau harbour, Auckland enjoys rapid communication with New Plymouth, and all the ports on the western seaboard.

From the circumstance of this province being heavily timbered, and containing so many rivers, it is, speaking generally, more adapted for arable than pasture farms, hence agricultural labourers, smiths, and millwrights, and all "sons of the soil" are certain of receiving advantages offered by few other places.

Although not essentially a wool producing district, the quantity of that valuable staple is on the increase in this province. The absence of wide extended plains renders its progress, in this respect, not so rapid as the southern portions of the island. Many intelligent settlers are, however, of opinion, from the nature of the soil, that artificial grasses can be cultivated with great success, and that thus Auckland may hereafter compete with the other settlements as a wool exporting country. To those who contemplate adopting Auckland, as their home, the following extracts from the

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pamphlet of T. S. Forsaith, Esq., will not be the less ^ interesting because they are of domestic and social character.


"Almost everything necessary to comfort and convenience may now be procured in Auckland; but not always of the best quality. Although cheaper than Wellington, Auckland is by no means a cheap place of residence: certainly not more so than an English town of the same size. House-rent and servants' wages are at least double what they are in England. But there are no taxes, rates, or dues of any kind. Clothing of all kind is also, of course, dearer in New Zealand than in England. But wines, spirits, and groceries are, for the most part, cheaper. Bread and butchers' meat are about the same. The fish caught near Auckland, although of but moderate quality, is plentiful and cheap. Vegetables are also abundant; during the summer of 1852 there were brought to market by the natives, in canoes alone, upwards of eleven hundred kits of onions (about twenty tons); upwards of four thousand kits of potatoes (more than one hundred tons); besides corn, cabbages, and kumeras. Peaches grown by the natives, and sufficiently good for culinary purposes, are very abundant and cheap. During the present summer upwards of twelve hundred kits were brought into Auckland by canoes alone. Those who cultivate a garden are well supplied with peaches, strawberries, apples, figs, and melons; while plums, pears, gooseberries, and cherries are by no means uncommon, although less abundant than the former.

"In so small a community, much amusement cannot of course be expected. Once a week, during the summer, a regimental band plays for a couple of hours on the well-kept lawn in the government grounds. With the lovers of music, and with those who are fond of "seeing and being seen," The Band is a favourite lounge. Three or four balls in the course of the year--a concert or two--an occasional pic-nic or water party

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--a visit to the island of Kauwau--a trip to the Waikato, or the Lakes of Rotorua--are among the few amusements which aid in beguiling the lives of the Auckland fashionable world; while dissipation, in the milder form of temperance and tea-meetings, school feasts, stitcheries, and lectures, suffices for the recreation of the graver portion of the Auckland world. To sportsmen, the place offers few attractions: the Annual Race Meeting is the great event of their year. Of hunting there is none: and wild ducks, pigeons, and curlew, afford but indifferent sport for the gun. Riding, boating, cricket, and bush excursions, are the favourite out-door amusements. Once in the year, nearly the whole of the ball-going portion of the community are brought together at a ball given by the Queen's representative, on the anniversary of Her Majesty's birthday. Invitations are issued to nearly two hundred; each successive governor taking for his guidance the list of the last preceding reign--making such additions to it as his judgment, taste, or fancy may suggest. As a general rule, strangers are well received, but a false step at starting is not easily recovered; and those who care for social position would do well to provide themselves with a suitable introduction."

The following extract from the Auckland Land Act will explain the liberal terms upon which land can be obtained in this province.

The Superintendent shall, from time to time, divide such portions of the Waste Lands as are about to he offered for sale into the following or such of the said classes as he shall think fit, viz.:--

1. Town Lands. 2. Suburban Lands. 3. General Country Lands. 4. Credit Lands. 5. Land for special settlement; and may from time to time vary, alter, and annul such division, and make a new division thereof: provided always, that the total quantity of land which shall be notified as open for sale as Credit Land, shall not exceed two hundred thousand acres (200,000) in the whole.

Town Lands and Suburban Lands, excepting such as shall be reserved for public purposes, or for any purpose in this Act specified, shall be offered for sale by public auction at an upset price,

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to be fixed by the said Superintendent, with the advice and consent of the Executive Council.

The purchase-money of each allotment of land, sold at such sale, shall be paid by the purchaser thereof, or his agent, to a receiver of Land Revenue as follows, namely, one-fourth of the price thereof, at the time of sale, by way of deposit, and the remaining three-fourths at any time within one calendar month after the sale. In the event of the second payment not being made to such receiver within the said period of one calendar month, the sale shall be void, and the deposit forfeited.

The Superintendent shall, from time to time, notify a certain day on and after which any country land will be open for sale. On and after that day, any person desirous of purchasing any of the same shall send in a written application, during office hours, under a sealed cover, directed to the Commissioner, or to his Deputy, at such place as shall be stated in such notification.

All Credit Land shall be open for sale at the price of ten shillings an acre, and shall be disposed of only to persons willing to purchase the same, subject to the conditions hereinafter contained, for the occupation and improvement thereof.

Any person upwards of sixteen years of ago, desirous of making a selection of Credit Land shall, on application to the Commissioner or his Deputy, in Auckland, or to such other person in the colony of New Zealand, as shall be appointed by the Superintendent to receive the same, be entitled, upon payment of a sum, after the rate of one shilling an acre, by way of deposit, to receive a land order, in a form to be from time to time prescribed by the Superintendent: provided always that no person shall be entitled to any such land order for more than eighty or less than forty acres of land.

After five years' bona fide occupation, and the payment of the rent reserved by the lease, the lessee shall be entitled to a grant from the Crown in fee simple of the land contained in such lease, on payment of the price thereof, as aforesaid: provided always, that if the purchase-money, and all the rent due be not paid within six calendar months after the expiration of the lease, the land therein comprised, together with all improvements thereon, shall be sold by auction, by order of the Superintendent, after two months' notice given in the "Provincial Government Gazette," and in two of the newspapers published in Auckland; and the proceeds, after deducting all sums due in respect of the said land, and all expenses incident to the sale thereof, shall be paid over to the lessee forfeiting the claim, or to his appointee or representative: provided that in default of such sale, by direction of the Superintendent within twelve (12) calendar months after the expiration of the lease, the governor may direct the sale of such land upon not less than two months' notice, given in such wise as he may think fit.

It shall be lawful for the Superintendent, from time to time

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to declare, by proclamation, that a certain block of Land therein described shall be set apart and reserved for certain Immigrants expected to arrive from the United Kingdom, or elsewhere, other than the Australian Colonies.

Such land so set apart and reserved shall be sold exclusively to such Immigrants, upon the terms and conditions hereinbefore prescribed respectively, in reference to Town and Suburban land and to General Country Land and Credit Land, as the Superintendent may from time to time think fit.

It shall be lawful for the Superintendent at any time to revoke any such Proclamation, and the land therein comprised shall thereafter be open to be classified and dealt with as though the same had not been set apart and reserved as aforesaid: Provided always, that the validity of any act which shall have been done under such proclamation before the revocation thereof, shall not be affected by such revocation.

As it is expedient that persons emigrating at their own cost from the United Kingdom and elsewhere, other than the Australian Colonies, should be permitted to acquire land free of cost in proportion to their expenditure on Emigration, it shall be lawful for the Superintendent, from time to time, to appoint Emigration Agents in the United Kingdom, or elsewhere, with authority to grant Land Orders to persons intending to emigrate and settle in the Province of Auckland; and any such Agent at any time to remove: Provided always, that no person shall be entitled to demand any such Land Order as a right, or be entitled to receive any land whatever free of cost, in respect of any such expenditure, unless he shall have obtained, previously to his emigrating, from some one of such Agents of the said Province a Land Order as herein provided.

Such Land Orders shall be granted according to the following scale, namely,-- for any person eighteen years of age and upwards, forty acres; and for any person upwards of five years and under eighteen years of age, twenty acres: Provided always, that in any case in which a child under eighteen years of age shall accompany a parent, the order shall be granted to the parent and not to the child; and in any case in which a servant shall be brought into the Province at the sole expense of a master, the allowance shall be made to the master and not to the servant.

Every such Land Order, when so signed as aforesaid, shall be in force for five years from the day of the arrival stated in such note, and if no selection be made within that time, such Land Order shall be null and void.

When any person in respect of whom any such Land Order shall have been granted, shall within the said five years have been absent from the Province of Auckland more than twelve calendar months in the whole, such Land Order shall be null and void, and all right to land selected under the same shall cease and determine.

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Every Naval and Military Officer, whether on full or half-pay, and every Non-commissioned Officer and Private, Marine and Seaman, whether belonging to her Majesty's Service or to the Service of the East India Company, who may retire or obtain his discharge from the service to which he may belong, or who having retired or obtained his discharge for the purpose aforesaid, has not selected Land under any former Law or Regulation enabling Naval and Military Settlers to select land free of cost, shall he entitled (in lieu of an allowance in respect of money expended in passages, as hereinbefore provided, in respect of Settlers emigrating from the "United Kingdom and elsewhere) to receive from the Commissioner a Land Order enabling him to acquire Land free of cost after the following rate:--

Commissioned Officer 400 acres.
Non-Commissioned and Warrant Officer 80 acres.
Private Soldier, Marine, and Seaman 60 acres.

For the purpose of encouraging persons qualified to teach in Common Schools to settle in the Province of Auckland, every such person who shall produce to the Superintendent a certificate signed by the Chairman of the Board of Education of the said Province, established under the provisions of the Education Act, 1857, that such person is qualified to teach Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and English Grammar, such person shall be entitled to receive a Land Order for the selection of 80 acres of General Country Land.

No such Land Order shall be transferrable, but the Teacher to whom the same shall be granted shall be entitled to a Crown Grant of the Land selected by him under such Land Order at the expiration of five years from the date of such Order, upon proof to the satisfaction of the Superintendent that such Teacher has been engaged during the whole period of such five years in teaching youth within the said province, in a common School in connection with the said Board of Education.

By the mail received on the 8th November, Mr. Ridgway, the agent for the Province of Auckland, was informed that sawyers and mechanics are receiving 16s. and 18s. per day, and labourers on the road 5s. and 7s. per day.


This is the smallest of the New Zealand provinces; and although enjoying a splendid climate and most fertile soil, from the unfortunate circumstance of its being entirely destitute of good and accessible harbours, it is never likely to equal in importance its more favoured rivals.

The whole province is more adapted for agricultural

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emigrants than for those who may prefer pastoral or mercantile pursuits.

Gardens filled with luxurious flowers and fruits, and all kinds of vegetables; small farms, rich in oats, wheat, maize, and every description of grain, and teeming with cattle, pigs, and poultry, impress upon the mind of every visitor the desirableness of New Plymouth as a residence for those whose constitutions limit their ambition to an easy life upon a moderate competency, and for all such who desire to live quietly, upon their own properties, with little care or anxiety and with everything flourishing around them, this province may be safely recommended.

The province derives its name from having been originally settled by a colony of Devonshire emigrants, a large district having been purchased from the New Zealand Company for that purpose, by some west country gentlemen. New Plymouth has always been distinguished for the respectability of its settlers, a fact which may be traced to the circumstance of its origin.

LAND PECULATIONS.--In this settlement, land is sold by auction at an upset price of 10s. per acre, in lots of from 40 to 240 acres.

PASTORAL LANDS.--Until applied for to be purchased, all the waste land is open for pastoral purposes. There are three classes of runs: those under 1,000 acres; those above 1,000 and under 5,000 acres, and those of greater extent. The rent is as follows:-- For runs under 1,000 acres, 20s. per 100 acres.

For runs above 1,000 and under 5,000 acres, 2d. per acre for the first 1,000 acres, and 1d. per acre for the remainder.

For runs above 5,000 acres, 1/4d. per acre for the first and second years, 1/2d for the third and fourth, 3/4d. for the fifth and every subsequent year.


This province is situated on the north side of Cook's Straits, and was the first settlement made by the late New Zealand Company, in 1840, in which year the first detachment of colonists landed there under the charge of Colonel Wakefield.

The harbour of Port Nicholson, on the shores of which, Wellington, the capital is situated, commended

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itself to the Company for their selection, partly on account of its central position, and also from the fact that very few Europeans were at that period located in this part of the country, and the land thus remaining unalienated by the native owners, was deemed more easy of purchase by the Company's Agents.

The early emigrants suffered extreme hardships and difficulties, arising from various causes, --disappointment at finding the immediate neighbourhood of Wellington but little available for their purposes, --disputes of the Company with the natives, and subsequently with the British Government, respecting the land, and the consequent delay to the settlers of the recognition and assurance of their titles to the allotments they had purchased from the Company.

Although the land in the immediate vicinity of Wellington, is not largely available for pastoral or agricultural purposes, yet the portion of the province towards Wanganui, on the north-west, and the Wairarapa valley at the head of Palliser's Bay, on the north-east are very fertile, and the yearly increasing value of the exports of wool and grain, demonstrates the steady advance of the province in solid wealth.

In this province is also included the Ahuriri District, (in Hawke's Bay, on the eastern coast) of which the principal township is Napier, and this is reputed to he the most valuable sheep district in the North Island.

The seasons, it will be remembered, are at the reverse periods of the year compared with the English seasons; thus spring commences in September, and it is high summer in December; winter, which falls in June, is more distinguished by heavy rains than by any extreme cold.

English fruits thrive well in the Wellington province and many others, natives of more southern climates, luxuriate in the open air.

The number of sheep and horned cattle is becoming large, and the breeding of horses receives great attention; and we may here observe, that from the mildness of the climate, stock may remain out of doors all the winter without requiring artificial food.

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In this province, carpenters, brickmakers, shinglers, sawyers, ploughmen, persons accustomed to a dairy, and able labourers, find good and continuous employment.

Wellington is more subject to strong winds than the other provinces of the North Island; but these are considered bracing to the constitution rather than detrimental to the health of the colonists. This province has also been visited with several earthquakes since its foundation, for which reason, as a precautionary measure, the houses continue for the most part to be built of wood. These shocks have been attended with hardly any loss of life and not much destruction of property, and have not tended in any way to retard the progress of this most flourishing colony.

A glance at the table of exports will shew that in the production of wool, Wellington at present occupies a high position; as this will probably for many years be the main source of wealth in the province, it will be interesting to look at the rapid progress which has been made during the last few years, and to augur from the past the future advancement of the settlement.

In 1845, the total number of sheep in the province was 12,002; in 1855, the number was 193,701; and allowing for the natural increase, may now be estimated at 280,000, an increase of twenty-three fold in the space of fourteen years.

The following land regulations were in force at the date of the last advices. The question of adopting a measure in all respects similar to the Auckland Waste Lands' Act, was then receiving consideration, and without doubt, in a few mails, free grants of land will be offered by the Provincial Government of Wellington to emigrants from England.

LAND REGULATIONS. --The upset price of land is 10s. per acre.

Where application is made by more than one person on the same day, the land is submitted to competition at auction, at an upset price of 10s. per acre, at which auction those only whose names have been registered as applicants, are allowed to bid.

Depasture licences shall be issued on the payment of a fee of £5.

Licensed runs may be at any time sold, if declared within the boundaries of agricultural or small farms--the licensed occupier

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having only a pre-emptive right over eighty acres around his homestead.

Rent for a run shall be computed upon the acreage, according to the following uniform rates, viz.:-- For the first four years of occupation at the rate of one farthing per acre per annum; for the next five years at the rate of one halfpenny per acre per annum; for the remaining five years, at the rate of one penny per acre per annum. The rents are due during the month of January in each year. For licences issued after 30th June, only half-a-year's rent is charged.


The province of Nelson, on the south side of Cook's Straits, and opposite to Wellington, its distance from which across the Straits is about 130 miles, is the northern province of the Middle Island, and was founded by the New Zealand Company immediately after Wellington.

Nelson, the capital of the province, is situated at the head of the inlet called Blind Bay by Captain Cook, and being surrounded by a chain of high hills, is sheltered from the winds which prevail in Cook's Straits.

There is not much available land close to the city, but at the head of Queen Charlotte's Sound, the rich and extensive valley of the Wairau, the scene of a bloody conflict between the natives and the early settlers, affords valuable stock runs, which the colonists have not been slow to take advantage of, it being computed that already nearly 350,000 sheep and 10,000 cattle are depastured thereon.

The horses bred and exported from Nelson are much valued.

Some portions of this province are eminently suitable for pasturage, and others for farms, and its many deep inlets furnish ready access and water-carriage to its various parts.

Limestone, of good quality, is found in this province, and coal has been worked to a moderate extent for household and steam purposes. For the latter purposes it does well when mixed with English steam coal.

Copper promises to become a valuable article of export, rich specimens of ore having been obtained from

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the Dun Mountain within a few miles of the city of Nelson, but the prosecution of the mining has been interfered with by the superior attractions of gold, the search for which precious metal, discovered in several places in the Nelson province, now engages the attention of more than two thousand of the population.

Mechanics of all kinds, farm servants, and boatmen, find in this province a ready opening for their industry, and it can only be their own fault if steady men do not speedily improve their position in life.

The following extract from a pamphlet, descriptive of Nelson, published by the Editor of the "Australian and New Zealand Gazette," may be perused with advantage, applying as it does, generally, to all the sheep farming districts throughout the entire colony:--

"All live stock do remarkably well on the natural herbage of the country. They are kept out of doors all winter without artificial food or shelter, and are very free from disease, except scab in sheep, which has been introduced from Australia. The remedies commonly used are strong tobacco water, in which the sheep are dipped, and spirits of tar, with which the diseased parts of the sheep are spotted. Corrosive sublimate, or arsenic, are also occasionally employed. In the Nelson Province the sheep farmers grow their own tobacco, and swim the sheep through large tanks of tobacco water. The sheep are of the colonial Merino breed, imported from Australia. They clip from 3 1/2 to 4lb. of washed wool, and ordinary fat wethers two years old weigh about 60lb. The natural pastures can be stocked only at the rate of one sheep to two or three acres; but in the older settlements of New Zealand, where good land has been laid down with English grasses, and enclosed in paddocks, it is said that five sheep to the acre can be kept the year round. Owing to a more temperate climate, the wool grown in New Zealand is stronger and longer in staple than that from Australia, but is at present inferior in firmness of fibre. This inferiority is, however, fast being removed by the importations of pure-bred Merinos.

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"The autumn is the most convenient time for lambing, as there are then no small lambs in the way at shearing time. The largest increase and the strongest lambs are, however, thought to be obtained by spring lambing. Settlers commencing with a small flock of ewes allow them to lamb at any season of the year, and sometimes have three lambings in two years. Much caution is required with newly landed sheep and cattle, owing to the prevalence of a wild bush, called the 'tutu,' which, if eaten in large quantities, will kill them. Sheep, in New Zealand, are not subject to be fly-blown and infested with maggots, as in England, except when wounded or injured.

"The profits of sheep-farming depend very much upon the scale on which it is carried on. The expense of first forming a station is considerable, and for the settler commencing with only 500 or 1,000 ewes, it is up-hill work for several years. Beyond his increase, the owner will get little, if any, profit, after paying all expenses, until his flock amounts to 5,000. With that number and upwards, he may expect to obtain a yearly profit of 25 per cent., under ordinary circumstances, from the wool and increase together. If his flock gets the scab, of course the profit will be much lessened. The cattle are of the mixed breed, common in Australia, but are being much improved by recent importations, especially from England. A recent writer thus reviews the state of affairs:--

"'The sheep farmers are making their fortunes at a pace which astonishes themselves and everybody else, and the more prudent among them are expending every sixpence they can scrape together in purchasing as much of their runs as possible, at 10s. per acre. Wool, at 2s. 2d., --with an average clip of 4lbs. per fleece, pays very tidy interest on the capital invested; and if we only had a certain market for wethers, all would go on swimmingly. Here, however, is the great difficulty, and we must soon come to boiling down to ease the runs of their surplus stock; and with boiling down the process of sowing English grasses must be carried on.

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In this way we shall weather the storm till all the present sheep-farmers have made their fortunes, and their successors will require to employ capital, where the pioneers used colonial experience, endurance, and wear and tear of thews and sinews. By that time things will have found their commercial level, and sheep-farming, after the expiring of the existing leases, will pay, like all other pursuits, a reasonable interest on capital employed--and no more: the days of 25 and 30 per cent, will end with the present generation.'"

The following are the Land Regulations now in existence in this province:--

LAND REGULATIONS. --Lands are classed under five heads-- town lands, suburban, rural or fit for agriculture, pasture, and mineral lands. All lands will be sold by auction at an upset price to be fixed by the Board: for rural lands, however, between the limit of 10s. to 20s. per acre, and for pasture between 2s. 6d. and 10s. per acre. All sales are to be advertised beforehand, with full particulars.

Pasture licenses for sheep and cattle runs are obtainable to the extent of 30,000 acres. The applicant must pay a deposit of £15 for 15,000 acres; £30 for 20,000 acres; and £50 for above this extent. The rent is 1/2d. per acre for the first seven years, and 1d, for the remainder of the term.


The province of Canterbury was founded by the Canterbury Association, and comprises about one-third of the Middle Island, being bounded by the Otago province on the south and the Nelson province on the north.

A great range of high mountains runs along the western portion of the province, and from these mountains the land gradually falls away to the eastern coast, forming vast plains.

The promontory known as Bank's Peninsula, consisting of a series of volcanic mountains, juts out from about the centre of the province, and contains the valuable harbours of Lyttleton and Akaroa.

The extensive grass plains we have referred to, constitutes the great peculiarity of this province, and for its grazing capabilities, Canterbury is assuming a prominent position.

The want of firewood occasionally causes incon-

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venience, there being scarcely any timber on the plains, although Bank's Peninsula and some portions of the province, near the mountains, are well wooded.

Canterbury is also subject to high winds, and at night in the winter frosts are experienced and heavy rains prevail, with occasional falls of snow, which however speedily melts, except upon the hills.

The principal port is Lyttleton, (Port Cooper) whence goods are conveyed to Christchurch, the capital of the colony.

Its increasing export of wool indicates the satisfactory progress of this province, where agricultural labourers, shepherds, smiths, wheelwrights, and persons accustomed to stock and farming operations generally, may obtain situations immediately and at good wages.

Those shocks of earthquakes which have extended to this province, have been so very slight as not to cause damage.

During the last few months, the population of Canterbury has been largely increased by emigration from Britain. The Hon. J. E. Fitzgerald, formerly superintendent of the province, returned to England in the early part of the present year, having at his disposal a large sum of money for the promotion of emigration. The plan pursued is to assist, by loan, persons who are able to pay only a portion of their passage-money. The selection of the emigrants devolves upon Mr. Fitzgerald. From his knowledge of the resources and requirements of the country, and the labour which he bestows upon his mission, no doubt the results will be signally beneficial to the settlement. Upwards of 1,000 emigrants have been despatched since Mr. Fitzgerald's arrival in England.

LAND REGULATIONS. --The Waste Lands of the Crown in the Province of Canterbury are divided into "Public Reserves," "Town Lands," "Rural Lands," and "Pastoral Lands."

Public Reserves are made by Government, but land once reserved for public purposes cannot be alienated again except by Act of the Legislature.

Town Lands are sold by auction, at an upset price, to be fixed by the Legislature.

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All the lands in the towns of Lyttelton and Christchurch have been sold. There is a small quantity of Town Land still unsold in Akaroa, and Timuru is but just brought into the market; in the latter the upset price is £12 for the quarter acre section.


This province, one of the most rapidly increasing wool-producing settlements, comprises the most southerly part of the Middle Island, its east and western limits being the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Foveaux Straits divide the main land portion of the province from Stewart's Island; and its northern boundary is the Waitangi River, which separates it from the province of Canterbury.

The range of mountains, known as the Hew Zealand Alps, which runs through the Middle Island, stretches its vast spurs into this province, giving rise to a great variety of scenery, while several lakes in the interior add their placid enlivening- beauty to the prospect.

The chief rivers are the Waitaki, the Taieri, the Clutha or Molyneux, the Mautura, the New River, and Jacob's River, the five latter being navigable to some distance for small craft and boats.

There are several extensive plains in Otago, of which the Inch Clutha is unquestionably the garden, possessing excellent soil and timber in quality and variety. The Inch forms an island in the Clutha, access to it being by means of boats.

The Taieri plains were early located by the first settlers and are well cultivated; the yield averages forty-five to fifty bushels of wheat per acre, without the aid of those auxiliaries so needful in Great Britain.

More southerly are the Tokomariro plains, which being more remote from Dunedin, are depastured rather than devoted to the growth of cereals.

These fine and extensive plains offer great encouragement to persons of small capital, being free from fern, which requires a great deal of labour to eradicate from the soil.

This province is not so restricted as the nature of its

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original foundation would perhaps indicate; all suitable settlers are welcomed and facilitated, and the climate is admirably adapted to the constitution of Europeans, here being no extremes of heat and cold; the summers being as far removed from the heat of Australia as the winter from the cold of Canada.

Education of youth receives special and marked attention in Otago.

LAND REGULATIONS. --The land is naturally divided into agricultural and pastoral. That most suitable for agricultural purposes can be purchased in any part of the province, at the low price of 10s. per acre.

Flax and grass land can be got in any quantity, and is the only kind cultivated now; it is cleared at a much less outlay than bush land.

NOTE. --It is a rather singular circumstance, that in the only instance in which a name of native origin has been given to a province, the matter should have been so managed as to introduce an error into the native language, the only native use of the letter "g" being between the letter "n" and a vowel, in the nasal combinations nga, nge, ngi, ngo, ngu; now the English spell the name of this province, Otago, introducing the "g" between two vowels, and giving it a power totally foreign to the native idiom.

Copy of a Letter from MR. BIRCH to the Author.

Dear Sir, ---Having travelled over the district known as the Bluff Harbour, I am happy to be able to gratify your wish for some information respecting that port and the surrounding country.

In the latter end of 1856, I was induced by the reports circulated in Dunedin relative to the Bluff, to avail myself of an offer to form one of a party of four, to take the opportunity of investigating the capabilities of the district.

We sailed from Dunedin in a small coaster, furnished with a month's provision, and started under most favorable auspices; but had not proceeded far on our voyage when, being overtaken by a heavy gale, we sought

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shelter in one of those small harbours for which New Zealand is so famous.

During our short delay here, we visited the neighbourhood, and 700 hundred acres of land at this refuge have since been purchased by one of our party. Resuming our voyage, we were again shortly obliged to run into a small land-locked basin, the Wikani, where we remained wind-bound nearly a fortnight.

Having reference to our rapidly diminishing stores, our party resolved to undertake the journey overland, although the path was unknown.

Partly by toilsome walking on the seashore, and partly by cutting our way through the bush, and after enduring some degree of privation from having accidentally lost our small stock of provision, we emerged from the forest, with a grateful feeling of relief, although still at a distance of forty-five miles from the great point of our destination, the Bluff.

The country we now entered upon was entirely devoid of timber for many miles, (it has since been taken up for sheep runs) and wearied with our fatiguing journey we at length reached a shepherd's hut, whose inmates regaled us with tea, pork and potatoes, to which good fare we did ample justice.

Here, two of our party of four halted, on account of sprained ankles; two of us, however, continued our journey.

The country over which we travelled was in every respect admirably adapted for either agricultural or pastoral purposes. The river Mautura, which is accessible to this point by vessels of one hundred tons, here joins the sea.

Crossing the river, we toiled on over sand hills for seven miles, until we came to a hard sea beach, along which we travelled until our arrival at the Bluff.

This is the southernmost headland of the Middle Island, and confers its name upon the harbour, which is certainly the most magnificent port in Hew Zealand; vessels of any tonnage may anchor here in security without danger from rocks or shoals.

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The country, immediately surrounding the harbour, being hilly and covered with bush, does not indicate the extended plains which lay beyond. After sojourning in this spot for two days, a spot fit subject for the poet's pen and artist's brush, we visited the head of the harbour and thence proceeded to the New River Ferry. The New River is at the entrance of Foveaux Straits, and impressed us most favorably.

Seventeen miles beyond the New River is Jacob's River, on which is situated a thriving settlement, Invercargill, situated about nine miles from the ferry, at the head of an arm of the sea. Vessels of about sixty tons come to within a mile of the village. The settlement is called after Captain Cargill, the present superintendent.

The land apportioned for the township is a beautiful flat, surrounded by forests; the upset price for a quarter acre section is £8.

We remained here for a month, and then returned overland to Dunedin, between which latter and the Bluff, there is now a weekly post.

The route from Invercargill to Dunedin lays across the Mautura Plains, surpassing all my powers of description; but lest you should suppose I am indulging in a "traveller's" exaggeration, I would refer you to a letter written by an Emigrant, in No. 364 of the "Australian and New Zealand Gazette."

With respect to your other enquiry, on the point of diminished time now occupied in sailing between Great Britain and the colonies, I may inform you that the vessel I arrived in was the first wool ship from Otago, the "Srathallan," and we made the passage in eighty-four days from port to port.

I am, dear Sir, Yours truly,

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