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the first importance to the small be shipped off to market from the rural holder, and makes all the difference depôt in quantities sufficient to pay between success and failure.
for carriage and to attract and hold Up to a certain point the small the wholesale dealer. The area of holder may depend on local demand, collection would be extended until and he may get a fair market in the continuity of supply was practically nearest town. But there is this guaranteed. Thus the small holders drawback to the local or any other would get good prices for even their market he may secure,—he is always smallest products: they would be losing it, on account of his being marketed in as favourable a way as unable to provide a continuous supply; the largest farmer's produce; and the once lost, it is not always easy to collecting agency would be self-supregain a footing when he wants it. porting and create another agriculThis inability to keep up a continuous tural occupation of profitable supply, either of vegetables, of poultry, character. of eggs, butter or milk, is the com- Failing this or, better still perhaps, mon weakness of all small producers supplementary to it, we must have and it can only be met by organisa- an Agricultural Parcels Post contion and co-operation. There are
ducted by the State. It must be two ways open. (1) The small organised by the State because railholders and poultry and egg breeders way competition would make short of the district may co-operate together work of any private enterprise. Its by employing a common agent to plan would be, in effect, to collect collect, pack, and market the produce, from door to door and deliver from each receiving the profits of the sale door to door. I say in effect, because of their produce pro rata, less a fixed in actual practice it would follow on percentage for expenses. (2) But as the lines of the letter post; the prolocal jealousy usually defeats co-opera- ducts of each small holder would be tive effort in England (would that we deposited at the village depôt just as could imitate the splendid co-opera- the letters of each villager are now tion which in every department of placed in the village letter-box. But agriculture is so conspicuously success- while the collection would be at the ful in Denmark !) perhaps the shortest depôt, the delivery would be at the road to the end would be best secured door of the consumer. The motorby an external association or an indi- truck, the motor-train, the light railvidual who would enter into separate way, and the existing railway system contracts with all the small producers would all be utilised by the Agriculof the neighbourhood; who buys at his tural Parcels Post. own risk and collects at his own ex- At first it would be found necespense, and makes what he can at his sary perhaps to place an upward limit own markets. The small holders would (say, of a hundredweight) on each lose to the extent of this man's pro- agricultural parcel. This limit would fits but probably gain by his superior not tend to impair the usefulness of organisation. In this case, too, the the Agricultural Post, for its chief score or so of new laid eggs of the purpose would be to deal with comindividual small holder would speedily paratively small quantities of produce become the thousand or so of the
-to deal cheaply, speedily, and comdistrict. Collection could be made pletely with the carriage of that two or three times a week to ensure produce from the hands of its properfect freshness; and the whole could ducer to those of its consumer, who
might be a wholesale or retail dealer eminently successful elsewhere, we or the private individual who is the have not as yet given them a trial. ultimate consumer. Such a post, if So long as we pay the foreigner cheap (and it must be cheap), if £30,000,000, a year for butter and speedy (and it must be speedy), and eggs and vegetables largely produced if complete and final in its operation by the methods here described, so (and it must be absolutely complete, long will it stand to our discredit permitting no break in the bridge it that those methods are not given a forms between producer and fair and ample trial in this country. sumer) would render the necessarily Moreover, the matter has a political small products of the small producer as well as an economic importance. at once profitable because it would For in producing for ourselves what make them at once marketable. we now buy from the foreigner we
These, then, are the salient points should at the same time be repeopling of the rural exodus, aud these the our depopulated rural districts, and remedial measures I would first sug bringing an exiled peasantry happily gest. Although they have proved and permanently back to the land.
ARTHUR MONTEFIORE BRICE.
MR. SEDDON'S CONSTITUENCY.
Tae West Coast, which in New John O'Groats to Land's End) that Zealand invariably means the west it is safe to say no one more gently coast of the South Island, has always nurtured than a miner or a farmer had a distinct character of its own. lives there, if he can possibly help There you still see all the best, and it. The few folk of a different stamp all the worst features of colonial life. condemned by their avocations to live It is generally nearer than any other down there either vegetate or find part of the colony to the primitive relief in the one compensation for type of colonialism, where everyone banishment, the limitless must rub shoulders with everyone else, amount of exploring, botanising, and and where one constantly asks one's geologising to be done in its scarcely self whether the utter absence of all penetrated bush, with an infinite the refinements of life is or is not variety of ferns, its unscaled mouncompensated for by the extreme kind- tains, and unexplored glaciers. “It heartedness of the inhabitants, which is the compensation," said a doctor may be said to be locally proverbial. whose practice kept him in one of The West Coast, in fact, is still by the small coast towns, where, even far the least known and most back- in New Zealand, “nobody ever goes.” ward district of New Zealand.
Cut off from almost all society, he few, even among New Zealanders, devotes his spare time to exploring, really know much about its remoter for which he has an immense field; mountain valleys. It can only be he has a hut on one of the beautiful approached by long and expensive mountain lakes, which hardly any coach journeys, by very small, and one ever sees so remote is it from all often abominably overcrowded inhabited parts, and he possesses a steamers along a coast which seems collection of glacier, Alpine, and bush always stormy, or, if you are strong photographs, of which anyone might enough, over one of the inaccessible well be proud, being most of them mountain passes of the Southern unique, and taken where no one ever Alps. But when
once there, you had courage to drag a camera before. think you are never going to get The very mountain pass by which away again, so far does Westland last year the writer entered Westland stretch, shut in and shut off from had never before been trodden by everywhere by the purple, snow- female foot, and only some fourteen crowned wall of the Southern Alps men had ever struggled over the on one side, and by the long roll of colossal boulders, the unbridged rivers the restless Pacific breakers on the and creeks, or traversed the exquisite other.
loveliness of the virgin bush through So isolated is the life, so cut off which lay the way over the untamed from all the rest of New Zealand, so Southern Alps into the unknown slow as yet are the means of commu- West Coast valleys. nication (for it takes far longer to get After hours of climbing over rocks across Westland than to go from and wading through snow, we stood
at last, a party of six (including two follow. Some hours of boggy track Alpine guides), over seven thousand through the bush, over river-bed and feet above the not far distant sea ; flax swamp, brought us eventually to behind us rose the desolately grand, a homestead, the only house for many wind-swept spurs of the Mount Cook miles round, an eight or nine-roomed range, now hidden in a thick nist building, wooden (of course), twoand fine rain ; before us the sun, storied, and painted white, with breaking golden through a rift in the
a scrap of garden of intermixed storm-driven clouds, shone over the flowers and vegetables, and a wide wild, trackless West Coast valleys, strip planted with carrots and their slopes covered with an infinite potatoes, the whole set in a large, wealth of foliage and fern and huge grassy clearing. The family, who forest trees, traversed by clear, swift- had been informed, as we thought, of rushing streams, hemmed in by our probable arrival some days before, unclimbed mountain heights, and had not yet received the letter. Their unknown glaciers,—a view superb in only warning had been the barking of its solitary magnificence. Not a all their numerous dogs. One and all living creature was there,-only the they came out to welcome us, fifteen wild native birds that live among the of them, down to a baby in arms and mountains. And this was unknown several more trotting about. There New Zealand.
were tall, strong-looking men, of a Soon the snow became less thick, type never seen in England, not and then disappeared, except under even in the country, hard-worked the shelter of a rock. There were no looking
looking women, healthy, but pre
, more tufts of edelweiss, but instead maturely lined and aged when comthe snow-white, yellow-centred moun- pared with town-bred women who tain lilies blossomed in sunny nooks, have time and opportunity to take while snow-grass and great white care of their appearance, and strapping mountain daisies grew thick upon the girls and children, the latter bareslopes. Moraine gave place to densely footed, bloomingly, aggressively robust, thick sub-Alpine scrub, and by and without exaggeration nearly half degrees the scrub became “bush,” as big again as English children of ever more and more luxuriantly beautiful,—the damp, dark, perennially They are very elastic, these backgreen bush, with its own scent of country houses ; however many they decaying leaves and moist earth. may take in, they seem always able to
Two long days from early morning find room for a few more. Therefore till evening brought our party to a the unexpected arrival of six drenched, flat of half cleared bush-land, with tall muddy, and ravenously hungry people tropical-looking cabbage trees, and a did not appear to disarrange the waste of swamp delivered over to the household. There were, of course, no sword-like green leaves and russet servants to be considered. Eight or flowers of the flax-plant. Here, for nine rooms, for a family of fifteen, the first time in our journey, we came with six strangers suddenly quartered upon a road, a real road possible to on them, may make an English housedrive along, not the almost invisible holder stare ; but an eight-roomed blazed bush-tracks along which we house in Westland is palatial, and a had scrambled and climbed by means man, his wife, and five bouncing of ice-axes, and which are impossible children will find a two-roomed hut for any but a practised bushman to quite sufficient for themselves, and
for a visitor whenever fortune favours in this and many parts of Westland, them with one.
but there is abundance of that. The Unknown New Zealand is cooking done in these ovens may be place for helpless folk. The fine as good as the best. Given a comgentleman and the fine lady had petent hand, meat is never sweeter, better keep away from it. There is bread never lighter than when cooked little that you do not have to do for in a camp-oven ; given an incompeyourself, even now. To begin with, tent hand, the results are disastrous. you must build your own house. In Butter and sometimes cheese are made a place such as we were in carpenters on the farm; all meat is home-killed, could hardly be procured, and most all hams and bacon home-cured, all people have to be content with vegetables, and such fruit as there is, shanties knocked up for themselves home-grown. Even the horses are out of corrugated iron, wood cut in shod on the premises, and sometimes the bush, and perhaps tree-fern the soap is made there also. trunks.
Life of course does not go like It was a typical New Zealand back clockwork as in an English housecountry homestead where we found hold; but there is also an agreeable ourselves. There were dogs and cats freedom about it that you do not galore; cocks and hens swarmed find in England. However you may around the back door; ducks and approach a place like this, you can geese were evidently not far off; in hardly take any luggage, except such the ample stockyard and farm-build- few things as will go in a parcel, or ings across the paddock were plenty a rucksack, that can be carried on of stalwart cows, calves, and horses ; your back, or strapped on to a saddle about the river-bed were more horses, or the handles of a bicycle. Not to catch which was a good day's that this matters much, since no one expedition whenever they
possesses or perhaps has even seen wanted.
any clothes that would be thought Life in such a place is a little presentable in London ; and what an world in itself. There are no events English person would consider the more exciting than the occasional first necessaries of life are often lackvisit of a party of exploring travellers ing in the accommodation houses like ourselves, or of some river-bound which do duty for hotels, and in the surveyors who have run short of sup- private houses of the settlers. They plies, or it may be the arrival every have hardly heard of a bathroom; two or three months of the little as for hot water, they would never steamer which brings the stores from think of anyone wanting it; whenever higher up the coast.
you wish to use
a toothbrush you In such a household no one must must cruise around in the backbe too particular. It being a good regions to find a cup or a glass; if hundred miles from a baker, all the you want your boots cleaned, you may bread must be baked in the house, by exploring the same quarters find in camp.ovens; and the cooking is some blacking and brushes. The also done in camp-ovens or over the utmost insistence and diplomacy will enormous wood fires generally burn- hardly ensure you a room to yourself ; ing in the great open fire-places, for it never
occurs to anyone that it the climate, though never very cold,
would make any difference to your is damp and the rainfall enormous. comfort. But rough as everything is, There is nothing but wood to burn everyone is kindness itself; and what