1902 Encyclopedia > New Zealand

New Zealand




NEW ZEALAND consists of two large islands, the North Island and the South Island, of another much smaller one named Stewart Island, and of islets around the coast. The colony includes also the Chatham Islands and the Auckland Islands. New Zealand extends from 34° 25' to 47° 17' S. lat., and from 166° 26' to 178° 36' E. long. The Chatham Islands lie between 43° 25' and 44° 20' S. lat., and 176° 10' and 177° 15' W. long., and are about 365 miles eastward of Cape Palliser, Cook Strait, New Zealand. The Auckland Islands, which are uninhabited, lie between 50° 30' and 51° S. lat., and 165° 55' and 166° 15' E. long. The whole group comprised in the British colony of New Zealand is situated in the South Bacific Ocean, and is nearly antipodal to Great Britain. The area of New Zea-land is about 100,000 square miles, or one-sixth less than that of Great Britain and Ireland. The area of the North Island is about 44,000 square miles, or 28,000,000 acres; that of the South Island is about 55,000 square miles, or 36,000,000 acres; and Stewart Island has about 800 square miles, or 512,000 acres. The Chatham Islands and the Auckland Islands are of inconsiderable dimen-sions. The North and South Islands together extend over twelve degrees of latitude, and vary from 46"miles to 250 miles in breadth, the average breadth being about 140 miles. The North Island is in area about three-fourths that of England and Wales. The South Island is larger; its area is about equal to that of England and Wales.

Mountains. The mountains in the North Island occupy about one-tenth of the surface, and are covered with dense forestscontaining an almost inexhaustible supply of fine timber. In the northern half the mountains are not so frequent as in other parts, and do not exceed 1500 feet in height, with the exception of a few extinct volcanoes between 2000 and 3000 feet high. In the centre there are some higher volcanic mountains. Tongariro (6500 feet) is occasionally active. Buapehu (9100 feet) and Mount Egmont (8300 feet) are extinct volcanoes. The main range of the island, beginning to the eastward of these mountains, is at its greatest height 6000 feet. The plains in the North Island lie chiefly on the western side of the range. Mount Egmont is surrounded by an extensive and very fertile district. Nearly four-fifths of the South Island is occupied by mountains. The greater part of them is open, well grassed, and adapted for pasture. The Southern Alps, as they are called, run close to the west coast the whole length of the island. Mouriu Cook, the highest peak, is 12,349 feet high, and has many glaciers. Its summit was for the first time reached in March 1882 by the Bev. W. S. Green, a member of the Alpine Club, and his two Swiss guides, Messrs Kaufmann and Boss. The main range is crossed at intervals by low passes. Extensive agricultural plains lie on the eastern side. The rugged western slopes are rich in mineral wealth. On the south-western coast there are several fiords or sounds; long, narrow, and deep, surrounded by snow-capped mountains from 5000 to 10,000 feet in height. The scenery, especially in Milford Sound, is sublime.

Rivers. There are countless running streams of the purest water throughout New Zealand, but not many rivers of depth and size. The Waikato is the chief river in the North Island. Its tortuous course is over 200 miles long, and it is joined by a fine tributary, the Waipa, at Ngaruawahia. The Waikato rises in the central part of the island, and flows into the sea on the west coast south of the Manukau. The Wairoa, discharging itself into Kaipara harbour, is large and deep, and is navigable for vessels of considerable tonnage. In the South Island, the chief river is the Clutha, rising north of Lake Wanaka, and 220 miles in length. It flows into the sea about 50 miles south of Otago Harbour, and a calculation has been made that it discharges 1,088,736 cubic feet.of water a minute. Rivers in New Zealand have bars at their mouths, and are, with two or three exceptions, only navigable for small craft. Owing to the height and the preci-pitous nature of the mountain ranges, the rivers, especially in the South Island, are subject to sudden and dangerous floods.

Lakes. The lakes in New Zealand are a characteristic feature. Lake Taupo, in the central part of the North Island, covers an area of about 250 square miles. In its neighbourhood, and in a line between it and White Island, in the Bay of Blenty, which is in constant volcanic action, there is the famous Lake District with its wonderful collection of geysers, sulphurous springs, palatial terraces, and lovely natural baths, formed as it were of tinted marble, and full of warm transparent water of a beautiful blue colour. Nor are these waters only astonishing to the sightseer. Their curative properties in cases of rheumatism, scorbutic and tubercular diseases, cutaneous eruptions, and nervous affec-tions are well established. In the South Island there are numerous lakes, some of them of considerable extent, Lake Wakatipu covering 112 and Lake Te Anau 132 square miles. These and many others embosomed in the Southern Alps are scenes of great natural beauty, abound with objects of interest, and present strong attractions to the explorer and the tourist. Coast- The coast-line is over 3000 miles. Cook Strait separates llne- the two large islands, and Foveaux Strait separates the South Island from Stewart Island. Both straits greatly facilitate inter-navigation. The coastal features of the northern part of the North Island are remarkable. The waters of Auckland Harbour on the eastern side and of Manukau Harbour on the western side approach each other within a mile. A great number of natural harbours are included between the North Cape and Cape Colville. The harbours on the west coast of the North Island have shift-ing bars at the entrance; but Manukau, Kaipara, and Hokianga are excellently surveyed, and can, with due caution, be safely entered. Inside they are spacious and fine. Auckland and Wellington have excellent natural harbours. The South Island on its north side, from Cape Farewell to Cape Campbell, is indented with numerous good harbours; and on the eastern coast, Port Lyttelton, Akaroa, Port Chalmers, and the Bluff are all available for large vessels. On the south-western extremity the coast is iron-bound, but there are several deep fiords surrounded by lofty and precipitous mountains. Anchorage can rarely be obtained there, except at the head of remote coves. Northward there is Jackson's Bay ; and between it and Cape Farewell, a distance of 300 miles, there is an open and exposed coast, with seven or eight small bar river harbours at intervals.

Stewart Island is only 120 miles in circumference, and has several excellent harbours on its eastern side. There are some anchorages on the western side, but they are rather exposed to the prevailing westerly winds.

Meteorological statistics are collected at Auckland, Climate. Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin; and observa-tions of rainfall, temperature, and wind-direction are re-ceived from thirty other stations. From the data thus obtained an isobaric map and a report are prepared for each day; and weather warnings are telegraphed to any part of the coast when necessary. A system of inter-colonial weather exchanges has been agreed upon, and telegrams are daily exchanged between Sydney and Wellington.

In the Handbook of New Zealand (1883), Dr Hector makes the following observations :—

"The climate resembles that of Great Britain, but is more equable, the extremes of daily temperature only varying through-out the year by an average of 20°, whilst London is 7° colder than the North and 4° colder than the South Island of New Zealand. The mean annual temperature of the North Island is 57°, and of the South Island 52° that of London and New York being 51°. The mean annual temperature of the different seasons for the whole colony is in spring 55°, in summer 63°, in autumn 57°, and in winter 48°. The climate on the west coast of both islands is more equable than on the east, the difference between the average summer and winter temperature being nearly 4° greater on the south-east portion of the North Island and 7° on that of the South Island than on the north-west, on which the equatorial winds impinge. This constant wind is the most important feature in the meteorology of New Zealand, and is rendered more striking by comparing the annual fluctuation of temperature on the opposite seaboards of the South Island, which have a greater range of temperature by 18° at Christchurch on the east than at Hokitika on the west."

Rain is frequent. In the north the greater fall is during winter; in the south it is more equally distributed throughout the year. There is a much greater rainfall on the west than on the east coast, especially in the South Island. The winter snow-line on the Southern Alps is 3000 feet on the east side, and 3700 feet on the west side. Periods of drought are very rare in New Zealand. Westerly winds prevail in all parts and throughout all seasons. The formation of the land, however, much modifies the winds.

The configuration of New Zealand, and its extension over twelve degrees of latitude, cause considerable variety of climate in different districts. The northern half of the North Island possesses a beautiful climate, and remarkably equable; that of the southern half is more variable. The climate of the west coast of the South Island is rainy, but temperate and salubrious; that of other parts of the South Island is generally similar to the English, but warmer in summer and not so cold in winter. In the North Island, sheep-shearing extends from September to November, and harvesting from November to January. In the South Island, sheep-shearing is from October to January, and harvesting from December to the end of February.

The following details are extracted from meteorological statistics published in the colony :—

== TABLE ==

== TABLE ==

Europeans. In the Colonial Office List for 1883 it is stated that, according to the official reports of the medical department, whereas the annual mortality from all diseases out of every 1000 British soldiers quartered in the United Kingdom was 16, it was only 5 out of every 1000 in the troops quartered for more than twenty-five years in New Zealand. The true test of the comparative healthiness of countries is the rate of mortality distributed according to the ages of population ; and different actuarial investi-gations show that this rate is light for New Zealand.

It is generally supposed that in the course of ages volcanic action has gradually, by an alternate process of subsidence and upheaval, left New Zealand as it is. There are lines of volcanic craters stretching across the North Island,—one at the Bay of Islands, another at Auckland, and a third from Mount Egmont near New Plymouth to White Island, an active volcano in the Bay of Plenty. There are evidences in the South Island of submarine volcanic action. Slight shocks of earthquake are often felt in different parts of New Zealand, but none of great severity has been felt since 1855. During 1882 twenty-eight shocks were recorded, only one being at all severe, while ten were described as "smart," and the other seventeen wore slight tremors.

A description of the general geological structure of the islands, so far as it is at present ascertained, is contained in the sketch geological map of 1883 by Dr Hector, the director of the geological survey of New Zealand, who has kindly allowed an advance proof to be available for this article (see Plate XIV.). The classification adopted in this map is founded on a mass of palaiontological data, but, owing to the unavoidable absence hitherto of minute surveys, is merely provisional. The following is an abstract of some of Dr Hector's remarks on this map :—_

The post-Tertiary (Recent) deposits have accumulated with great rapidity in New Zealand, owing to the mountainous character of the country giving to the rivers, even when of large size, the char-acter of torrents which are liable to occasional floods of extreme violence. The Pliocene formation belongs to a period when New Zealand was the mountain range of a greatly extended land area. The Upper Miocene beds are limited in their extent to the southern and eastern districts of the North Island, and in the South Island occur as patches. The New Zealand seas have yielded about 450 species of existing shells, of which 120 have been found in this formation, together with 25 forms which are now extinct. The Lower Miocene represents a period of great depression, and the deposits are remarkable for the absence of evidence of volcanic activity in any part of the region, and for the abundance of marine life. The Upper Eocene is a very marked formation of calcareous sandstone composed of shell fragments with corals and Bryozoa, and is a shallow-water and littoral deposit. Intense volcanic activity prevailed during this period in both islands. In the upper part of the Cretaceo-Tertiary formation occurs the valuable building stone, known commercially as the " Oamaru stone," a calcareous sandstone which is very easily worked, but which hardens when exposed to the weather. The principal coal deposits of New Zealand occur in the Cretaceo-Tertiary formation, but always at the base of the marine beds of the forma-tion, in every locality where they occur. The Lower Greensand, which is confined to a few localities of limited extent, is very rich in fossils of the genera Belemnites and Trigonia, with a few saurian bones and large ehimseroid fishes. It lias been found necessary to include in the Trias a thickness of strata which is quite unusual in other parts of the world, but the close connexion which exists throughout, founded both on palseontological and on stratigraphical grounds, and the clearly detined Permian character of the next underlying formation, renders this classification absolutely necessary. Saurian remains are associated with the Permian beds at Mount Potts, which were referred by Dr Hector to Ichthyosaurus in 1871, but subsequently to the genus Eosaurus of Marsh. The further remains obtained of this saurian are, however, of such gigantic size as compared with the original types found in Nova Scotia, in which the vertebra? were 2J inches in diameter, that the determination may be doubted. The Lower Carboniferous and Upper Devonian forma-tion is of considerable importance from the large share it takes in the structure of the great mountain ranges, and from the occa-sionally great development in it of contemporaneous igneous rocks with which are associated metalliferous deposits. The igneous rocks (basic volcanic and acidic volcanic) have played an important part in almost every formation in New Zealand, marking great movements of the earth's crust at the different geological periods, while the superficial and later-formed volcanic rocks occupy nearly one-third of the area of the North Island. The geysers and boil-ing springs in the North Island give rise to the formation of siliceous sinter deposits, which must bo included as the most purely acidic products of volcanic action, and are due to the decomposition of the older rocks by the action upon them of fresh water ; but in the case of White Island and other localities where the decomposi-tion is brought about by the agency of sea water, the sinter deposits are formed chiefly of sulphate of lime and not silica.





The census of 1881 shows that out of a total population (other than aboriginal) of 489,933 there were 14,273 miners, of whom 12,996 were returned as being engaged ill gold mining, and 1087 in coal mining. The principal quartz mines for gold are in the Thames and Coromaudel districts near Auckland in the North Island, but several auriferous reefs are extensively worked in the Otago, Westland, and Nelson gold-fields in the South Island. There is good reason to believe that quartz mining in New Zealand is still in its infancy, and that its indefinite extension can be ensured b}' the judicious application of more capital. Alluvial gold mining chiefly exists in the Otago, Westland, and Nelson districts. Gold drift, as it is called, is found in river-beds and on the sea-coast, where it can be worked with comparative ease, and also in thick deposits of gravel, the working of Which requires mechanical water-power, and often large expenditure. The opinion entertained in many quarters that the auriferous resources of New-Zealand will soon be exhausted, and that the gold mining industry is approaching a rapid decline, is certainly not based upon fact. There still, it is reliably stated, exist large areas, both in the North and South Islands, that on geological grounds are highly promising for the existence of original or primary auriferous deposits, namely, quartz lodes. With regard to secondary or derived auriferous deposits—namely, gold drift—the more easily and cheaply accessible of them have, no doubt, been worked out, more or less, but the South Island still contains tracts that offer profitable employment to the miner for generations to come. The total quantity of gold produced in and exported from New Zealand from 1st April 1857 to 31st March 1883 was 10,144,926 ounces, valued at £39,747,940. The quantity during the year ended 31st March 1883 was 248,862 ounces, valued at £994,555. Good coal is obtained in many parts of New Zealand. The number of coal mines in work in 1882 was 104 ; and the output during 1882 was 378,172 tons, being 215,954 tons more than the output in 1878. Silver is chiefly extracted from the gold produced in the Thames district, but other mines containing silver ores have been found. There are many other valuable ores—copper, iron, lead, zinc, antimony, chrome, and manganese—some of which are being worked. Several fine mineral oils also are obtained. Building stones of various kinds and of excellent quality abound. Marble and cement stones occur in many places. In 1881 there were 127 brick, tile, and pottery manufactories in work ; and their lands, buildings, and machinery were valued at £105,765. There are extensive deposits of iron-sand on the west coast of the North Island.

The following official table, in Dr Hector's New Zealand Hand-book, classifies the land according to the geological subsoil:—

== TABLE ==

A study of this table, he adds, shows that '' in the whole colony there are about 12,000,000 acres of land fitted lor agriculture, and about 50,000,000 which are better adapted for pasturage; but from these estimates allowance must be made for about 20,000,000 of surface at present covered by forest."

Dr Hector also reports the prevalence, in the north of Auckland and in the lower part of the Waikato Valley, of light volcanic soil, interspersed with areas of clay marl, which in the natural state is. cold and uninviting to the agriculturist, but which under proper drainage and cultivation can be brought to high productiveness. He adds valuable information, in substance as follows, respecting other districts. In Taranaki and Wanganui districts the soil is very rich, and on the surface is formed by the decomposition of calcareous marls intermixed with the debris from the lava streams and tufaceons rocks of the extinct volcanic mountains. The forest growth which generally covers the laud proves its productiveness, although that growth greatly impedes the progress of settlement. From Lake Taupo towards the Bay of Plenty the surface soil is derived from rocks of a highly siliceous character, and large areas are covered with little else than loose friable pumice-stone. On the eastern side of the slate range which extends through the North Island, the surface is generally formed of clay marl and calcareous rocks ; in the valleys there are shingle deposits from the back ranges, with occasional areas of fertile alluvium of considerable extent. The latter portions of the district are adapted for agricul-ture, and the remainder is very fine pastoral land. In the South Island the chief agricultural areas are in the vicinity of the eastern coast, but there are also small areas fitted for agriculture in the interior in the vicinity of the lake districts. The alluvial soils of the lower part of the Canterbury plains and of Southland are re-markably fertile. Scarcely less important are the low rolling downs formed by the calcareous rocks of the Tertiary formation which skirt the higher mountain masses, and often are improved by the disintegration of interspersed basaltic rocks. On the western side of the South Island, from the close vicinity of the mountain ranges, there are comparatively small areas of good alluvial soil, but these are made very fertile by the wetness of the climate. Fauna New Zealand is singular in the absence of all indigenous land mammals except two small kinds of bat, and a rat which has already disappeared. A native dog is supposed to have been intro-duced by the natives on their original migration. There are no snakes. A few lizards are found, but they are harmless, though held in superstitious terror by the natives. A peculiar species of frog exists, but it is very rare. Insect life is not nearly so abundant as in Europe, though bloodthirsty sand-flies swarm on the sea-shore, and mosquitoes in the bush. There are between four and five hundred species of molluscs. Seals are numerous on some parts of the coast. New Zealand is also remarkable for its wingless birds, living and extinct. There are four species of Apteryx, or KIWI (q.v.), without wings and tail-feathers, and a little larger than a hen ; they have short legs, snipe-bills, and bodies covered with long, brown feathers like hair. The gigantic wingless bird called the Moa (see DINORNIS) has been long extinct. The tradition of the natives is that their ancestors found these birds living, and hunted them for food till they exterminated them.

The peculiar nature of the New Zealand fauna his given rise to much scientific speculation, and, in the opinion of able writers, points to a continental period as the condition of the country in remote ages, and to subsequent partial subsidence and partial elevation. The discovery and colonization of the country have completely changed the character of its animal life. Captain Cook introduced the English dog and the pig. Colonists have brought all kinds of domestic animals. Game and small birds have been imported and acclimatized ; rabbits have become a formidable nuisance in many districts. Flora. There are about one thousand species of flowering plants, of which about three-fourths are endemic. Most of those not peculiar to the country are Australian ; others are South-American, European, Antarctic ; and some have Polynesian affinities. Ferns and other cryptogamic plants are in great variety and abundance. There are a few indigenous plants and fruits used as food. Phormium tenax, or the New Zealand hemp, is a common and most useful plant. Forests covering from 11,000,000 to 12,000,000 acres are a characteristic feature in New Zealand vegetation. Much of the timber is of great value for building and for constructive works (see vol. ix. p. 407). The area of forest land is rapidly diminishing, and the rate of decrease in some large forests has been estimated at 4 per cent, per annum. The rapid decrease is stated to be due to reckless and wasteful consumption of the best timber without regard to the conservation of the young trees, to fires, and to other avoidable causes.

The following return, compiled from a report, in 1875, by Professor Kirk, F.L.S., on New Zealand timbers, specifies those of great durability, and adapted for general building purposes and for constructive works, &c.:—

== TABLE ==

There are many other kinds of trees which are less durable, but of considerable value. Some have barks largely used for tanning purposes. Kauri gum, a valuable product of the kauri tree, is found in the soil on the sites of old kauri forests, and at the base of growing trees. It is much used in Europe and America as a base, instead of gum mastic, for fine varnishes, and for other pur-poses. There are now many flourishing plantations of English and foreign trees.

The New Zealand flora, like the fauna, has been cited in support of the theory of the remote continental period. Sir Joseph Hooker, in his Introductory Essay, wrote that the botanical relationship of the New Zealand flora is not to be accounted for by any theory of transport or variation, but that it is agreeable to the hypothesis of all being members of a once more extensive flora, which has been broken up by geological and climatic causes.

Agriculture. The following comparative table, which does not include native cultivations, shows the rapid and continuous development of agriculture in New Zealand during the last twelve years :—

== TABLE ==

In 1880 the estimated average produce of wheat per acre was 28 bushels, in 1881 25 bushels, in 1882 22J bushels, and in 1883 26^ bushels. The estimated average of oats was 364 bushels to the acre in 1880, 32 bushels in 1881, 22J bushels in 1882, and nearly 33 bushels in 1883. Barley was estimated in 1880 at 30J bushels to the acre, in 1881 at 26, in 1882 at 22j, and in 1883 at 26. Potatoes were estimated to produce 4f tons to the acre in 1880, in 1881 5J tons, in 1882 5 tons 17 cwts., and in 1883 5 tons 2 cwts. The number of horses in 1881 was 161,736, having doubled since 1871. The number of cattle increased during the same ten years from 436,592 to 698,637, and sheep from 9,700,629 to 12,985,085. The yearly production of butter in 1881 was 8,453,815 lb, and of cheese 3,178,694 lb. The produce of wool will be stated in the summary of exports for 1882. Pigs, goats, and poultry-abound.

Fisheries. Except eels and a few small fishes of little worth, there are no indigenous fish in the rivers. Dr Hector states that thirty-three kinds of sea fish are used as food. Among the constant residents on the coast or on parts of it, he names hapuku, tarakihi, trevally, moki, aua, rock cod, wrasse, flounder, snapper, mullet, gurnet, trumpeter, butter fish, and red cod. Of the edible fish irregu-larly visiting the coast, much the largest number come from warmer latitudes, namely, the frost fish, barracouta, Norse mackerel, king fish, dory, waichou, mackerel, and gar fish. He adds that of 140 species of fish found in New Zealand 67 species arc believed to be peculiar to New Zealand, 75 are common to Australia and Tasmania, whilst ten are found in New Zealand and other places, but not in the Australian seas. "New Zealand ichthyology," he states, "presents a very distinct character, the thorough decipher-ing of which affords a wide field for future observation and scientific investigation." Oyster fisheries exist, and are protected by law. Cray-fish are in abundance. Whaling formerly flourished on the coast, but since New Zealand has become a colony whaling stations have disappeared. Whales, however, of valuable kinds are nume-rous in the adjacent ocean, and a few whaling ships are owned in New Zealand. Efforts have, for several years past, been made by the Government, but chiefly by local acclimatization societies, nrivate and self-supported bodies, to introduce and acclimatize European and American edible fish. Ova, in considerable quanti-ties, of British salmon, of Californian salmon, of brown trout, and of American whitefish have been imported, and the fish hatched from them distributed. No instance of the survival of British salmon has as yet been authenticated; but three or four cases of grown Californian salmon having been found are reported. The success of brown trout in many streams has been great, and fish of 11, 14, and even 21 lb weight have been caught. Trout-fishing has become a common sport in many places. Salmon trout fry hatched in 1870 spawned in 1875. The Canterbury Acclimatization Society in 1880 liberated nearly 25,000 American whitefish in Lake Coleridge. The acclimatization of other fish has also been successful.





Communication. The natural features of the country were, for a long time after its colonization, a bar to overland internal communication, but good coach roads now traverse the country in every direction, and railways especially have enabled solitudes to be peopled, and wastes to be made productive. The total length of railways opened for traffic in March 1883 was 1443 miles. In the North Island, the chief working lines are—Kaipara to Waikato, 141 miles ; Wellington to Napier, 138 miles open ; Foxton to New Plymouth, 169 miles open ; in the South Island—Ilurunui to Bluff, 671 miles, and Invercargill to Kingston, 89 miles. £10,400,000 in round numbers have been expended on opened lines of Government railways from 1870 to March 31, 1883, and the net earnings as a whole were yielding £3, 8s. lOd. per cent, on that expenditure. In addition to road and railway communication, intercourse between the chief ports is carried on two or three times a week by swift and commodious steamers. The telegraph wire runs through every settled district, and is extended to Australia and England. Trade The following table shows the value of imports and exports for five years respectively:—

== TABLE ==

The total exports for 1882 included the following values :—from mines, £956,803; from fisheries, £5693; from forests, £390,242; animals and animal products, £3,601,242, of which wool alone was £3,118,544; agricultural products, £1,140,839; and colonial manufactures, £96,628. The export of frozen sheep to Europe seems likely to become very valuable. In an able paper on the Public Debt of Australasia, read before the Royal Colonial Insti-tute in London on November 21, 1882, Sir Francis Dillon Bell, K.C.M.G., agent-general for New Zealand, stated that 5000 frozen sheep had recently come in good condition in one lot from New Zealand, that "the meat was readily taken into consumption," and that "the sheep netted 21s. 9d. a-piece, a return eminently satisfactory to their owners, because they would not have sold for more than 12s. in New Zealand." Shipping. The total shipping inwards during 1882 was 795 vessels of 461,285 tons, as compared with 765 vessels of 420,134 tons during 1881. The total outwards during 1882 was 764 vessels (436,793 tons), as compared with 762 vessels (413,487 tons) in 1881. The number of vessels on the New Zealand register, on 31st December 1881, was 572, altogether 72,387 tons, of which 443 (56,751 tons) were sailing vessels and 129 (15,636 tons) were steamers. There were in 1883 twenty-three coastal light-houses, among which six were of the first and twelve of the second order of apparatus.

Administration. New Zealand was not colonized in the ordinary manner around one centre. There were in its early years six distinct settlements— Auckland, Wellington, Nelson, New Plymouth, Canterbury, and Otago—between which communication was for several years irregular and infrequent. To meet their political wants, the Constitution Act of 1852 created them into provinces, "with elective councils and superintendents respectively, — subordinated to one colonial legisla-ture. In 1876 the provincial system was abolished by that legisla-ture. The general assembly, as it is called, is composed of the governor, the legislative council, and the house of representatives.

The governor is appointed by the crown. The legislative council consists of members appointed for life by the governor; the number of legislative councillors in 1883 was 50. The house of representa-tives consists of 95 members chosen by the electors. The franchise is manhood suffrage, conditional on a previous residcr.ee in the colony for a year, including six months in the electoral district for which a claim to vote is registered. Every elector is qualified for election. Four members of the house must .be Maoris elected by their own race. The duration of the house is for three years, but it is subject to re-election whenever the governor dissolves the general assembly. Legislation is subject to disallowance by the crown, but practically that power is seldom if ever exercised. Executive administration is conducted on the principle of English responsible or parliamentary government. Its seat is at Wellington. Local administration is vested in local elective bodies, such as municipal councils, county boards, road boards, and others, with power to levy rates. The colouial revenue is chiefly derived from customs, stamp duties, property tax, postal and telegraphic services, railways, and crown land sales. The proceeds of land sales are applied to surveys and public works. Crown lands are acquired at auction, or by selection, or on deferred payment, or by lease with right to purchase on certain conditions. The price is rarely less than £1 an acre.

The chief feature of public policy in New Zealand from 1871 to 1883 has been to borrow and expend large sums on railways, immi-gration, main roads, native land-purchases, telegraphs, and other important public works. During that time about £19,000,000 has been expended on those objects collective!}7, and there are good grounds for the general conclusion that, as a whole, this policy of investing loans in large reproductive services has been, and will be, if prudently continued, a substantial success. The gross public debt of the colony on March 31, 1883, was £30,357,111, subject to a deduction of £2,571,829 for accrued sinking funds. The annual charge, including sinking fund, was £1,525,281. The loan of £1,000,000, raised in January 1883, for railways and other works was a 4 per cent, loan inscribed in stock at the Bank of England. Another similar loan was raised in January 1884.
The New Zealand state has encouraged public thrift by a system of Government life insurance, which is working with remarkable success. On 31st December 1882, when the population may be estimated at 505,000, the total sum assured on 23,439 policies in force in both branches (ordinary and industrial) of the department, exclusive of insurance in private offices, was £5,355,900. The Government post-office savings banks, at the end of 1882, had 57,517 open accounts, amounting altogether to £1,470,950.

Education. Under the Education Act of 1877 state schools are established, in which teaching is free, secular, and compulsory, with certain exceptions, for children between the ages of seven and thirteen. A capi-tation grant is given for every child in average daily attendance at the schools. Grants are also made for scholarships from primary to secondary schools, for training institutions for teachers, and for school buildings. Large reserves of public lands have been made for primary, secondaiy, and university education. The progress in the education of children is shown in the census of 1881. In 1874 the number of children attending school was 66'78 per cent, of the population between five and fifteen years ; in 1878 it was 73-64 per cent., and in 1881 8076 per cent. Native schools are also provided by the state in native districts. There are, moreover, industrial schools, orphanages, and an institution for the deaf and dumb. There are several secondary schools with public endow-ments. The university of New Zealand is an examining body, and grants honours, degrees, and scholarships. It is empowered by royal charter to confer degrees entitled to rank and consideration throughout the British dominions, as fully as if they were granted by any university in the United Kingdom. It has also the privilege of nominating one of its students in each year for a cadetship at the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. The Canterbury College and the Otago University, both academical institutions of a high order, are affiliated to the New Zealand University. Provision made by the legislature in 1882 for a university college at Auck-land has been given practical effect to. The state in no way con-trols or interferes with religious administration. Each denomi-nation attends to the religious instruction of its own adherents. State school-buildings can be used for such instruction on days and . at hours other than those fixed by law for ordinary school work ; but no child can be required to attend, except at the wish of its parent or guardian. The average daily attendance of scholars at the state schools throughout the year 1882 was 68,288. In 1881 the number returned as attending private schools was 13,538; Sunday schools, 78,891; and receiving tuition at home, 7348.

Population. Exclusive of the aboriginal population, the estimated population of New Zealand on December 31, 1883, was 515,000. The census of 1881 returns the number in April of that year as 489,933 (269,605 males and 220,328 females). The average number of persons to an inhabited dwelling was 5'12. The popu-lation under twenty-one years of age was 258,774, of whom 128,791 were females. The number of those born in the colony was ' 45-60 per cent, of the whole population ; of those born in England, 24-33 per cent, ; in Scotland, 1077; in Ireland, 10'08; in Wales, 0'40; in Australia and Tasmania, 3 "53; in British America, 073; in other British possessions, 0'82; in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, 0-97; in Germany, 0-98; in United States, 0-35; in China, D03; and elsewhere, 0-41.

The excess of immigration over emigration for the ten years 1872-81 was 4973, 8811, 38,106, 25,270, 11,955, 6376, 10,502, 18,723, 7231, and 1616 persons respectively. The great decrease in the last two years is owing to the stoppage, almost wholly, of immigration at public cost.

The proportionate number in 1881 of occupied European holdings of land, exclusive of crown pastoral leases, classified according to size is as follows :—holdings over 1 acre and up to 10 acres in-clusive, 7680 ; thence up to 50 acres, 6498 ; to 100, 4462 ; to 200, 5066 ; to 320, 2453 ; to 640, 2258 ; to 1000, 828 ; to 5000, 1097 ; to 10,000, 185 ; to 20,000, 169 ; to 50,000, 111 ; to 100,000, 18 ; and above 100,000, 7 ; total, 30,832. Abori- It has always been difficult to collect the number of the gines. aboriginal population. In 1878 the number returned was 43,595; in 1881 44,097, of whom 19,729 were females. Those residing in the North Island were 22,872 males, and 18,729 females. The apparent increase in 1881 is believed by the registrar-general to be attributable to omissions in 1878. His conclusion is that on the whole there was a decrease from 1878 to 1881. If former estimates, partly conjectural, are at all correct, the decrease during the last forty years has been considerable. The comparatively small pro-portion of females under fifteen years of age to the total population of both sexes in 1881, given as 15'35 per cent., renders future increase improbable. Generally, Maoris are in form middle-sized and well-made. They show great aptitude for European habits. The Maoris are of Polynesian race ; and the probability is that they migrated from the Navigators' Islands to Barotonga, and thence to New Zealand. Their tradition is that they came originally from " Hawaiki." This may be the Hawaiian or Sandwich Islands ; but there is also " Savii," which is a dialectical form of the other name, in the Navigators' Islands. Dr Thomson, in his Story of New Zealand, quotes a Maori tradition, among those published by Sir George Grey, that certain islands, among which it names Rarotonga, Parima, and Manono, are islands near Hawaiki. The natives of Rarotonga state that their ancestors came from Hawaiki; and Pirima and Manono are the native names of two islands in the Navigators' group. The almost identical languages of the Rarotonga natives and the Maoris, as well as other circumstantial evidence, strengthen the supposition. The distance from Rarotonga is about 3000 miles ; and, with the aid of the trade wind, large canoes could traverse the distance within a month. A comparison of genealogies of Maori chiefs of different tribes shows that about eighteen genera-tions, or probably not much more than five hundred years, have passed since the first migration. The origin and distribution of the Polynesian race cannot be discussed here, but there is in some respects a remarkable likeness in the customs, appearance, and character of Maoris and of Malays.

The Maoris, before their conversion, had no idea of a Supreme Being. Their notion was that all things had been produced by pro-cess of generation from darkness and nothingness. They believed that the spirit survives the body, and retires to some place under the earth, whence it occasionally returns to advise and sometimes punish the living. The Maoris are divided into tribes, which respectively had their chiefs and priests. Land was held by tribal tenure, and small plots were cultivated. Each tribe had its unwritten laws regarding land, cultivation, and other social matters. " Tapu," or the practice of making certain things sacred, —a rule, the breach of which was severely punished by spirits and men,—was an essential element in their code of law. Tribes were constantly fighting with each other ; and the chief causes of strife arose from alleged wrongs to property and person. Cannibalism was practised from vindictive feelings. Slaves were captives in war. The dead bodies of chiefs were put away on stages ; and in course of time the bones were collected and hidden in secret places. The Maoris have a genius for war, and show great ability in building, fortifying, and defending stockades.

The Maori language is a Polynesian dialect. It closely approaches that of the Sandwich Islands, of the Navigators' group, and of Rarotonga. Natives of these mutually understand each other. History. The first European discoverer of New Zealand was Tasman, in 1642, who did not, however, land there. Captain Cook, in 1769, was the first European who set foot on its shores, and he took formal possession of the country for King George III. Cook visited New Zealand several times, and circumnavigated the coasts in the course of his three voyages of discovery, exploring and partly sur-veying the general outline. He introduced several useful animals and plants ; and pigs, fowls, potatoes, turnips, and cabbages, first brought by him, increased and multiplied. From the time of Captain Cook's final departure from New Zealand in 1777 to 1814, little is known of the country, except that, owing to the ferocity and cannibalism of its aborigines, it was a terror to sailors. In 1814 the Rev. Samuel Marsden, colonial chaplain to the Government of New South Wales, first established his church mission in New Zealand at the Bay of Islands. He was followed by others ; and both Protestant and Roman Catholic missions were formed. In the course of the following thirty years almost the whole native population was converted, nominally at least, to Christianity. There was in after years a considerable relapse ; but the results of missionary teaching were, as a whole, great and permanent. Cannibalism ceased, and the barbarous nature of the race became softened and capable of civilization. The missionary paved the way for the colonist.

In February 1840 an assemblage of chiefs at the Bay of Islands signed the treaty of Waitangi acknowledging their submission to the queen of England ; and Her Majesty guaranteed their possessions, extended to them her protection, and imparted to them the rights and privileges of British subjects. This treaty was shortly after- wards signed by many other chiefs in other parts of both islands. Cavil as persons may at the treaty, there is no doubt that it is the honourable and equitable agreement on which New Zealand first became a British colony. The leading features of the colonization of the country, so far as the natives are concerned, can only be most briefly summarized here. The rights of the natives to their lands have been fully recognized by the crown ; and no land has been alienated from them without their consent except in the case of the confiscated blocks which were taken under the authority of a special law from rebellious tribes. The native title to land has not been confined to that in actual use, but has extended over waste territory. The Government and the legislature have always been disposed to consider favourably native interests ; and special action has often been taken for that object. Mistakes have, no doubt, often been made on both sides ; and serious disputes have arisen. Native tribes, here and there, have been in active insurrection, but at no time have the natives, as a race, been arrayed in arms against Britain. A large majority has either been passive or friendly. The most serious disturbances took place in 1863 and 1864. During that time several British regiments and ships of war were, in common with the colonial forces, actively engaged in their sup- pression. No imperial soldiers have been stationed in New Zealand since 1869. The colony has from that date altogether provided for its internal defence. The present state of native affairs is peaceful, and likely, with ordinary prudence, to remain so. In many districts the gradual amalgamation of the two races is hopeful, natives and Europeans co-operating with each other in a common civilization. (W. GI.)


Footnotes

In 1880 Messrs S. Grant and J. S. Foster, delegates to New Zealand from the tenant farmers of Lincolnshire, travelled over and inspected the chief agricultural districts in both islands. Their impression was, as stated in their report, that the soil is, as a rule, much lighter than farmers in England are accustomed to work, and that it does not require half the working that English land does. One double-furrow plough, they say, will turn up about 18 acres a week. They saw very little really heavy clay-land in the colony, and such soil, they think, _will not be worth cultivating for some time to come. "The labour required to work it," they write, " is far too great, and there are no frosts in winter sufficient to pulverize it, while it is perfectly possible to consolidate any soil which may be a little too light by stocking it sufficiently heavily." And they add—" But of one thing we arc certain, that, whatever the quality of the soil, there were splendid «rops on it in almost every part of the country that we saw."
Dr Boiler, in his Manual of the Birds of New Zealand (1882), gives one hundred and seventy-six species, belonging to the Accipitres, Passeres, Scansores, <.'olnmbse, Gallinx, Slrulhiones, Grallx, and Anseres. Mr W. T. L. Travers, iF.L.S., in a paper read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, on October 21, 1882, states that out of 88 species 18 arc peculiar to both islands, 8 to both islands and the Chathams, 3 to both islands and the Ancklands, 22 to New Zealand and habitats outside, 9 to the North Island, 16 to the South Island, 6 to the Chathams, 2 to the Aucklands. 1 to the North Island and the Chathams, 2 to the South Island and the Chathams, and 1 to »11.

1 Spring begins with September, summer with December, &c.

3 Varies from shrub to tree 30 to 10 ft. high, with trunk 1 to 3 ft. diameter.



The above article was written by: W. Gisbourne.



Search the Encyclopedia:



About this EncyclopediaTop ContributorsAll ContributorsToday in History
Sitemaps
Terms of UsePrivacyContact Us



© 2005-17 1902 Encyclopedia. All Rights Reserved.

This website is the free online Encyclopedia Britannica (9th Edition and 10th Edition) with added expert translations and commentaries