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George Lillie Craik
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 165 pages of information about John Rutherford, the White Chief.

[Footnote AJ:  That is, Australia.]

[Footnote AK:  The origin of the Maori is dealt with exhaustively by Mr. S Percy Smith in “Hawaiki”; by Mr. E. Tregear, in “The Maori Race”; and by Professor Macmillan Brown, in “Maori and Polynesian.”]

CHAPTER V.

Taken altogether, New Zealand presents a great variety of landscape, although, even where the scenery is most subdued, it partakes of a bold and irregular character, derived not more from the aspect of undisturbed Nature, which still obtrudes itself everywhere among the traces of commencing cultivation, than from the confusion of hill and valley which marks the face of the soil, and the precipitous eminences, with their sides covered by forests, and their summits barren of all vegetation, or terminating perhaps in a naked rock, that often rise close beside the most sheltered spots of fertility and verdure.

If this brokenness and inequality of surface oppose difficulties in the way of agricultural improvement, the variety and striking contrasts thereby produced must be often at least highly picturesque; and all, accordingly, who have visited New Zealand, agree in extolling the mingled beauty and grandeur which are profusely spread over the more favoured parts of the country, and are not altogether wanting even where the general look of the coast is most desolate and uninviting.

The southern island, with the exception of a narrow strip along its northern shore, appears to be, in its interior, a mere chaos of mountains, and the region of perpetual winter; but even here, the declivities that slope down towards the sea are clothed, in many places to the water’s edge, with gigantic and evergreen forests; and more protected nooks occasionally present themselves, overspread with the abundance of a teeming vegetation, and not to be surpassed in loveliness by what the land has anywhere else to show.  The bleakness of the western coast of this southern island indeed does not arise so much from its latitude as from the tempestuous north-west winds which seem so much to prevail in this part of the world, and to the whole force of which it is, from its position, exposed.

The interior and eastern side of the northern island owe their fertility and their suitableness for the habitation of man principally to the intervention of a considerable extent of land, much of which is elevated, between them and the quarter from which these desolating gales blow.  The more westerly portion of it seems only to be inhabited in places which are in a certain degree similarly defended by the surrounding high grounds.  In these, as well as in the more populous districts to the east, the face of the country, generally speaking, offers to the eye a spread of luxuriant verdure, the freshness of which is preserved by continual depositions of moisture from the clouds that are attracted by the mountains, so that its hue, even in the heat of midsummer, is peculiarly vivid and lustrous.

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