United States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign Commerce.

Consular reports, Issues 196-199 online

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the applicant fills up a form (to be obtained at any of the land offices) and makes the decla-
ration and deposit required by the particular system he wishes to select under.

All applications, whether for surveyed or unsurveyed lands, are deemed to be simultaneous
if made on the same day, and, if there be more than one applicant for the same land, the
right of selection is determined by ballot.

Lands thrown open for application may be either surveyed or unsurveyed, and those not
selected the first day remain open.

77te optional system of selection.

Lands for selection are notified as open for application on and after a stated day, and, at
the option of the applicant, may be obtained on any of the three following tenures : (a) Cash;
{b) occupation with the right of purchase ; (^) lease in perpetuity.

(a) Cask.

If the land is surveyed, one-fifth of the price is to be paid down at the time of applica-
tion, and the balance within thirty days ; or, if the land is not completely surveyed, the sur-
vey fee is paid on application, and goes toward the purchase of the land; the balance must
be paid within thirty days of notice that the survey is completed.

A certificate of occupation will issue to the purchaser on final pa3rment, which will be ex-
changed for a Crown title so soon as the board is satisfied that the improvements mentioned
below have been completed.

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{6) Occupation with right qf purchase.

Lands selected on this tenure are held under a license for twenty-five years. At any time
subsequent to the first ten years, and after having resided and made the improvements herein-
after described, the licensee can, on payment of the upset price of the land, acquire the
freehold. If the land be not purchased, the license may be exchanged for a lease in per-

The rent is 5 per cent on the cash price of the land; a half year's rent has to be paid in
with the application, if surveyed land, which represents the half year's rent due in advance
on the 1st day of January or July following the selection. If the land is unsurveyed, the
cost of survey is to be deposited, and is credited to the selector as so much rent paid in
advance, counted from the 1st day of January or July following thirty days' notice of the
completion of survey.

Residence and improvement of the land are compulsory, as hereinafter described.

(c) Leetses in perpetuity.

Lands selected on this tenure are leased for 999 years, subject to the conditions of resi-
dence and improvements described below. The rental is 4 per cent on the cash price of the
land, and applications are dealt with in the same way as under the previous tenure (^), but
there is at no time a right of purchase.

Two or more persons may make a joint application to hold as tenants in common under
either of the two last-named tenures.

Residence and improvements.

Under the two last-mentioned tenures, the conditions as to residence and improvements are :
Residence —

(i) Must commence on bush or swamp lands within four years, and in open, or partly
open land within one year, from the date of selection.

(2) Must be continuous for six years on bush or swamp land, and for seven years on open
or partly open land, on lands occupied with a right of purchase.

(3) Must be continuous for a term of ten years on lease-in-perpetuity lands.

The board has power to dispense with residence in certain cases, such as where the
selector is residing on adjacent lands, or is a youth or unmarried woman living with parents,
and in a few other cases.

Residence implies the erection of a habitable house to be approved of by the board.

Improvements which must be made are as follows :

(i) Cash-tenure lands must be improved within seven years to an amoimt of £i an acre
for first-class land, and los. an acre for second-class land.

(2) Lands held on lease with right of purchase or on lease in perpetuity must be im-
proved to an amount equal to 10 per cent of the value of the land within one year from the
date of the license or lease ; within two years must be improved to the amount of another 10
per cent; within six years must be improved to the value of another 10 per cent, making
30 per cent in all within the six years. In addition to the above, the land must be further
improved to an amount of £i an acre for first-class land, and on second-class land to an
amount equal to the net price of the land, but not more than los. an acre.

Improvements may consist of reclamation from swamps, clearing of bush, planting with
trees or hedges, cultivation of gardens, fencing, draining, making roads, wells, water tanks,
water races, sheep dips, embankments or protective works, or in any way improving the
character or fertility of the soil, or the erection of any building, etc. ; and cultivation in-
cludes the clearing of land for cropping or clearing and plowing for laying down with
artificial grasses, etc.

SpecicU-settlement associatums.

Under the existing regulations any number of persons, not less than twelve, may apply
for a block of land of not less than 1,000 acres or more than 11,000 acres in extent, but the

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number of members must be such that there shall be one for everj 200 acres in the block,
and no one can hold more than 320 acres, except in swamp lands, where the area may be
500 acres.

The capital value of lands within a special settlement Is fixed after survey by special
valuation, but may not be less than los. an acre; the rental is not less than 4 per cent on the
capital value, and the tenure is a lease in perpetuity.

Residence, occupation, and improvements are generally the same as already described,
and applications have to be made in manner prescribed by regulations.

Applicants should apply to a commissioner for a cc^y of the regulations, as they are liable
to change at any time.

Village settUnunts,

Village settlements are disposed of under regulations made from time to time by the
governor, but the main features are as follows :

Such settlements may be divided into —

(i) Village allotments not exceeding I acre each, which are dbposed of either by
auction among the applicants or by application, as already described, with option of tenure,
the cash price being not less than ;^3 per allotment

(2) Homestead allotments not exceeding 100 acres each, which are leased in perpetuity
at a 4 per cent rental on a capital value of not less than los. per acre.

Residence, improvements, and applications are the same as already described. The leases
are exempt from liability to be seized or sold for debt or bankruptcy.

The colonial treasurer is empowered in certain cases to advance small sums for the purpose
of enabling selectors to profitably occupy their allotments.

Small grazing runs.

Small grazing runs are divided into two classes: First-class, not exceeding 5,000 acres;
second-class, not exceeding 20,000 acres in area. The rental in both cases is not less than
2}^ per cent on the capital value per acre, but such capital value can not be less than 5s. per
acre. Small grazing runs are leased for terms of twenty-one years, with right of renewal for
another twenty-one years, at a rent of 2^ per cent on the then value of the land. The runs are
declared open for selection and applications and declarations on forms provided have to be
filled in and left at the land office, together with the deposit of one half year's rent, which
represents that due on the 1st day of March or September following the selection.

No holder of a pastoral run and no holder of freehold or leasehold land of any kind what-
ever over 1,000 acres in area, exclusive of the small grazing run applied for, may be a selector
under this system and only one small grazing run can be held by any one person.

The lease entitles the holder to the grazing rights, and to the cultivation of any part of
the run, and to the reservation of 150 acres round his homestead through which no road may
be taken ; but the runs are subject to the mining laws.

Residence is compulsory, if bush or swamp land, within three years; if open, within one
year ; and must be continuous to the end of the term, but may in a few cases be relaxed. Im-
provements necessary are as follows : Within the first year, to the amount of one year's rent ;
within the second year, to another year's rent ; and within six years, to the value of two other
years' rent — making in all a sum equal to four years' rental, which must be expended within
six years. In addition to these improvements, bush-covered first-class runs must be improved
to an amount of los. an acre and second-class bush-clad runs to an amount of 5s. an acre.

These runs may be divided, after three years' compliance with the conditions, among the
members of the selector's family.

Pastoral runs.

Pastoral country is let by auction for varying terms not exceeding twenty-one years ; and,
excepting in extraordinary circumstances, runs must not be of a greater extent than will carry
20,000 sheep or 4,000 head of cattle. Runs are classified from time to time by special corn-

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missioners into : (i) Pastoral lands, which are suitable only for depastoring more than 5,000
sheep ; (2) pastoral agricultural lands, suitable for subdivision into areas of under 5,000 acres,
which may be either let as pastoral runs, generally for short terms, or cut up for settlement in
some other form. Leases of pastoral lands may not be resumed ; leases of pastoral-agricultural
lands may be resumed at any time after twelve months' notice, without compensation.

No one can hold more than one run ; but in case of any one holding a run of a carrying
capacity less than 10,000 sheep, he may take up additional country up to that limit.

Runs are offered at auction from time to time and half a yearns rent has to be paid down
at the time of sale, being the amount due in advance on the 1st day of March or September
following the sale, and the purchaser has to make the declaration required by the act. All
leases begin on the ist day of March, and they entitle the holder to the grazing ngfats» but
not to the soil, timber, or minerals ; and the lease terminates over any part of the run which
may be leased for some other purpose, purchased, or reserved. The tenant has to prevent the
burning of timber or bush ; in open coimtry, to prevent the growth of gorse, broom, or sweet-
brier ; and to destroy the rabbits on his run. With the consent of the land board, the interest
in a run may be transferred or mortgaged, but power of sale under a mortgage must be ex-
ercised within two years.

In case it is determined again to lease any run on expiry of the lease, the new lease must
be offered by auction twelve months before the end of the term, and if, on leasing, it shall be
purchased by some one other than the previous lessee, valuation for improvements, to be made
by an appraiser, shall be paid by the incoming tenant, but to a value not greater than three
times the annual rent— excepting in the case of a rabbit-proof fence, which is to be valued
separately. If the run is not again leased, the value of the rabbit-proof fencing is paid by the
Crown, but the tenant has no claim against the Crown beyond the value of the rabbit-proof
fence ; he may, however, within three months of sale, remove fences, buildings, etc Runs
may also be divided with the approval of the board.

Survey charges on unsurveyed lands.

The following is the scale of charges for surveys of unsurveyed lands : Not exceeding 30
acres, £6\ exceeding 30 and up to 50 acres, 3s. 6d. per acre, but not less than £6\ exceed-
ing 50 and up to 100 acres, 3s. per acre, but not less than ;^8 15s. ; exceeding 100 and up to
200 acres, 2s. 6d. per acre, but not less than £1$ ; exceeding 200 and up to 300 acres, 2s. per
acre, but not less than £2^ ; exceeding 300 and up to 500 acres, is. 8d. per acre, but not less
than ;f 30; exceeding 500 and up to 1,000 acres, is. 4d. per acre, but not less than £^i los.;
exceeding 1,000 and up to 2,000 acres, is. per acre, but not less than £66 los.

For the survey of any area of rural land, being open land, the scale of charges shall be
two-thirds the foregoing rates.



Special-settlement associations.

Instructions for the guidance of persons who may propose to form them-
selves into associations for the purpose of selecting rural lands for settlement :

Every association should consist of not less than twelve persons.

The land selected to be in one block, and the area selected should be not
less than 1,000 acres nor more than 11,000 acres.

No individual is entitled to more than 320 acres of ordinary rural land
within said settlement or more than 500 acres of swamp land. In all cases
there must be one selector to every 200 acres of ordinary land and one for
every 500 acres of swamp land.

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The cost of survey is paid by the association under direction of the
surveyor-general ; the cost of such survey shall not exceed 60 cents per acre.

All applications under this act must contain the names, occupations, and
addresses of each individual and the number of acres required by each, the
tenure to be "lease in perpetuity,*' and the rent 4 per cent of the capital
value, which shall not, however, be less than 1 2. 50 per acre. The rent for the
first two years may be added to the capital value of the land or may be paid
off at any time at the option of the selector.

In the event of the death of a settler, his interest in the allotment may
be allowed to revert to his legal representatives, who may, if they choose,
dispose of it to a bona fide settler approved by the commissioner.

No person who is already the owner of any land in New Zealand is per-
mitted to take up land under the provisions of this act.

Each person must make a statutory declaration that he is not the owner
of any other land in the colony, and that he makes the application for him-
self, etc.

Every selector must make substantial improvements for the first two years
to the value of 10 per cent of his land; and thereafter, within six years
from the date of his license, another 10 per cent of the price of his land.
And, in addition thereto, he shall, from the date of his license or lease,
put improvements of a permanent character on first-class land equal to I5
per acre and on second-class land equal to the net price of such land.

There are a variety of tenures under which this particular class of settle-
ment is held, including sales for cash, deferred payments, perpetual lease,
occupation with the right of purchase, and lease in perpetuity. During the
year 1894-95, twenty-four new village homesteads and settlements were
formed and ninety-five selectors took up an acreage on the average of 25^
acres each.

On the 31st of March, there were 1,395 settlers, who, with their families,
number a total of 4,561 souls.

The surveyor-general says, in his annual report to Parliament, that —

There is little doubt that such settlements can be made a success if the sites are judiciously
chosen with respect to soil, access, and chance of employment in the neighborhood, and, in
some cases, a little Government assistance to enable a few of the poorer ones to build.

Further reference to this system is made by the superintendent of the
special-settlement associations in the preceding pages of this report.

Improved farm settlements.

This is a modification of the village-homestead system just referred to,
and is intended to provide for a class of selectors who are unable to take
advantage of the ordinary tenures under the land act. It is, in point of
fact, a system whereby those with small means are enabled to make homes
for themselves and to obtain assistance from the State in clearing their lands.

The number of applicants is limited only by the scarcity of land suitable
and the funds that can be supplied.

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When associations are formed for the purpose of taking up land under
this system, the commissioner of Crown lands makes inquiries as to the
suitability of the applicants and their inability to acquire land under any of
the other systems for want of means.

The blocks of land set apart are divided into areas of from lo to 200
acres, in accordance with the suitability of the country. The clearing of
the land is let to parties or individuals, as may be found best, and either on
individual sections or any part of the block at rates to be fixed by the chief
surveyor, who is guided in each case by the ruling rates for such work. The
clearing of 100 acres will be paid for by the Government; so far, this limit
has not been approached. Grass seed will be provided, and, if necessary,
I50 will be advanced toward the erection of a house. Occupation for
ten years is essential and must commence not later than three months after
the first burning of the bush. The lands are let on lease in perpetuity at a
4 per cent rental or on occupation with a right to purchase at a 5 per cent
rental, both being placed on the value of the land, together with the cost of
clearing, weeding, grassing, or other expense advanced by the Government

Up to the end of last year, eighteen settlements had already been formed
under these provisions, the area set aside being 21,202 acres, which has been
allotted to 193 settlers. The area cleared is 4,048 acres and area grassed is
1,469 acres. The amount paid to selectors to the 31st of March, 1895, ^^^
^5,698 (^28,490) and the value of improvements on the land, including the
amount advanced by the Government, was ^^6,965 (134,825).

When not engaged in work connected with their sections, the settlers are
employed, as far as possible, on cooperative road works in their neighbor-
hood. "The system of employing the men for part of their time on road
or other works, leaving them free to devote the rest of it to their own sec-
tions, is being introduced wherever possible and will become the rule."

The surveyor-general of the colony says, in his report to Parliament,
while referring to this system, that —

It is too early to draw any conclusions as to the success of this class of settlement, but if
the selectors can be found in partial employment to enable them to tide over the first few
years, there seems no reason why a large number of people, who otherwise would have no
chance of securing homes for themselves, should not do so under this system. Very much
depends on the class of selector ; those without previous experience to guide them are likely
to have a hard struggle, but to men who are accustomed to bush farming, if they can manage to
stock their lands, the system seems to open for them a chance of becoming settlers of a useful

As already stated, there is very little first-class land available in the col-
ony; consequently, most of the land that is being settled is only second-class
in quality and is expensive to clear and seed and stock with either sheep
or cattle. It is, therefore, with a view to meet the requirements of all classes
of people who desire to take up land that the Government has introduced
the various systems in vogue here. The most popular system of land tenure
is the 999-years' lease at an annual rental of 4 per cent on the value of the

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land, without the right of revaluation by the Government during that period,
no matter how valuable the land may become. . The next system which meets
with the most popular favor is under 999-years* lease, with a right to pur-
chase subject to the term of occupation and improvements being complied

Lands for settlement act.

In the South Island, the land was easily cleared and was taken up in im-
mense areas by companies and individuals, and is still so held to a large
extent, so much so that the Government felt compelled to interfere by pass-
ing an act called the ** lands for settlement act," by which the Government
can resume the ownership of any large blocks of land that may be suitable
for settlement, paying the owners the value of the land as may be determined
upon by arbitration. These lands are surveyed, roaded, etc. , and subdivided
into small farming areas to suit the requirements of those with some little
means who desire to take up land. Under this system, the annual rental is
5 per cent on the value of the land, the Government reserving the right to
revalue at certain stated periods.

There are several other systems of land tenure, but they are rapidly
becoming obsolete in consequence of the more generous terms of the four
acts just referred to.

Land in this country is not like that of our Western prairies, where all a
man had to do was to stick in his plow and thus begin the work of cultiva-
tion without further difficulty. In New Zealand, it is quite a costly operation
to prepare the land for cultivation. Each succeeding Government has real-
ized this, all of whom have offered special inducements to settlers ; but no
previous Government went so far as the present rulers of the colony have
gone in their efforts to make substantial small farmers of the unemployed
and the landless generally.

Notwithstanding that the terms upon which land could be obtained were
most liberal and encouraging, yet to a man without money the land was ab-
solutely valueless. The Government recognized this almost immediately
they took office and endeavored to overcome the difficulty by inaugurating
what is now popularly known as the "cooperation system'* of labor. By
this means, men are enabled to take up land, working a portion of the time
on cooperation works in the neighborhood — building roads and bridges and
other work calculated to promote settlement and thereby reduce the number
of the unemployed, and, at the same time, encourage a sense of self-reliance
and industrial independence among the workers.


Prior to the passage of the land and income tax of 1891-92, the country

had passed through a series of years of severe industrial depression, which

was caused chiefly through overspeculation. Millions of money had been

borrowed and spent lavishly on railway building and other public works.

No. 196 2.

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many of which proved to be of an unproductive and unremunerative char-
acter. During the progress of this spending and borrowing, a false and un-
substantial era of prosperity had been created, which only endured while the
borrowed millions were available. The primary cause of the disaster which
had now overtaken the colony was mainly attributable to the ill-advised
course pursued in the disposition of the millions borrowed for public im-
provements. Had the original scheme been adhered to of building a main
trunk line of railway through each island, and, as the exigencies of popula-
tion and industrial development required it, building branch lines and
feeders, much of the subsequent misery and depression would have been

Railways were built in every direction without regard to population or
business. Members of Parliament compelled the then Premier to abandon
his original plan, with the result that a number of political railways were
built from which no adequate return could be expected in the state of the
colony then; neither do some of them pay even now. I do not pretend to
say that all the money was squandered, but I do say a number of useless
public works were inaugurated which absorbed a large amount without even
a remote chance of being productive.

In consequence of the large sums of money that were being spent by the
Government in various undertakings, the whole people became excited and
rushed headlong into borrowing for the purpose of engaging in new indus-
trial enterprises. Vast areas of land were taken up by companies and indi-
viduals in anticipation of the "wild wave** of prosperity that was sure to
follow the building of railways into all sorts of out-of-the-way places. Hun-
dreds of thousands of pounds were borrowed to build harbors in open road-
steads where nature never intended a harbor should be.

Money was borrowed for roads and bridges, and whole districts were
mortgaged to build harbors and wharves and other improvements in order

Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of Commerce and Labor United States. Bureau of Foreign CommerceConsular reports, Issues 196-199 → online text (page 4 of 82)