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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

New Zealand

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is the name of a British colony in the South Pacific Ocean, which consists of three volcanic islands, and of a number of islets scattered around the coasts, having an area of about 106,000 square miles, with a coast-line measuring about 4000 miles, on the best-named account, and a population (in 1886) of 578,482 Europeans, besides 41,969 natives.

Soil, Climate, and Productions. Of the whole surface extent of New Zealand (nearly 70,000,000 acres, little short of the combined area of England and Wales, Scotland, and Ireland), one fourth is estimated to consist of dense forest tracts, one half of excellent soil, and the remainder of waste lands, scoriae-hills, and rugged mountain regions. The mountains are mostly clothed with evergreen forests of luxuriant growth, interspersed with fern-clad ranges, and occasionally with treeless, grassy plains. Extensive and rich valleys and sheltered dales abound in North Island; and in the east of South Island there are many expansive plains of rich meadowland, and nearly 40,000,000 acres are estimated to be more or less suitable for agriculture and cattle-breeding. The soil, although often clay, has in the volcanic districts more than a medium fertility; but the luxuriant and semi-tropical vegetation is perhaps as much due to excellence of climate as to richness of soil. Owing to the prevalence of light and easily worked soils, all agricultural processes are performed with unusual ease. The climate is one of the finest in the world. The country contains few physical sources of disease; the average temperature is remarkably even at all seasons of the year, and the atmosphere is continually agitated and freshened by winds that blow over an immense expanse of ocean. In North Island the mean annual temperature is 57°; in South Island 52°. The mean temperature of the hottest month at Auckland is 68°, and at Otago 58°; of the coldest month, 51° and 40°. The air is very humid, and the fall of rain is greater than in England, but there are more dry days. All the native trees and plants are evergreens. Forests, shrubberies, and plains are clothed in green throughout the year, the results of which are that cattle, as a rule, browse on the herbage and shrubs of the open country all the year round, thus saving great expense to the cattle-breeder; and that the operations of reclaiming and cultivating land can be carried on at all seasons. The seasons in New Zealand are the reverse of ours: January is their hottest month, and June the coldest. The principal products of the soil are wheat, barley, oats, potatoes, and sown grass. Maize and beans and pease are also raised in great abundance, and any other vegetable, grain, grass, or fruit produced in the United States of America can be cultivated successfully in New Zealand. With the exception of a few harmless lizards, no animals that annoy or hurt are encountered by the invading European. The small species of rat is the only objectionable four-footed inhabitant of New Zealand. Hawks are numerous. Snakes are not to be found at all, nor do insects that worry or hurt abound. The pig, introduced by Cook, runs wild, and the red and fallow deer, the pheasant, partridge, quail, etc., and the common domestic animals introduced by colonists thrive well.

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These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'New Zealand'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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