The New Student's Reference Work/New Zealand
New Zea′land lies in the Pacific about 1,200 miles southeast of Australia and is the largest island in that ocean. It was discovered by Tasman in 1642. Captain Cook took possession for England in 1769. Settlement began about 1820. It is a British colony, with a local government extending to 1852. There are two principal islands, known as North Island and Middle Island, beside South or Stewart Island and some small outlying islets. The total area is estimated at 104,751 square miles, with a population (1911) of 1,009,244, exclusive of aborigines who chiefly are Maoris (62,184 in number). There were 2,570 Chinese. The chief town is Auckland, with a population, including suburbs, of 102,676. Wellington (70,729) is the seat of government. The other towns of note are Christchurch (80,193) and Dunedin (64,237). Of volcanic origin, New Zealand has chains of high mountains, hot geyser springs and other natural features of bold and varied character, incident to its eruptive origin. It has a temperate climate favorable to the growth of rich, succulent grasses and the rearing of sheep and cattle. Its area under crop in 1911 exceeded 16,000,000 acres, while 17,000,000 remained under forest, and 9,000,000 were barren mountain tops, lakes and worthless country. Large amounts of capital are invested not only in agriculture and mining, but in meat-freezing and preserving, in tanning, wool scouring and factories for butter and cheese. Besides the wool crop and the farm and dairy products, there is a large annual export of tallow, hides, skins and leather, together with gold, valued at $10,000,000 for the yearly output. Progress was long retarded by wars with the Maoris, a magnificent race of barbarians. There are two houses of parliament, the members of both of which are paid. In the popular chamber sit four Maori members, representing native districts under the Maori representative act. There is no state church, nor is any state aid given to any religion. The school system is administered by an educational department under a minister, assisted by education boards and school committees. The University of New Zealand is solely an examining body, awarding scholarships to be held by students at affiliated colleges. These are Otago University at Dunedin, with 35 professors; Canterbury College at Christchurch, with 18 professors; Auckland University College, with 14 professors; and Victoria College, Wellington, with nine professors, including lectures at each. All are endowed with land, and have over 1,500 students in attendance. Public schools numbered 2,096, teachers 4,408 and pupils 156,324. There were 318 private schools with 18,981 pupils; three schools of mines; four normal schools; five central schools of art; 11 industrial schools; and 100 Maori schools. Most of the railways belong to the state and yield a good annual revenue; the gross mileage in both islands is 2,604 miles. In the chief towns there are tramways worked by cables, steam motors or electricity. New Zealand in 1899 offered a military force to the imperial government for service in South Africa. It is world-famous for its experiments in statesmanship and the nationalization of industry.