TASMANIA AND NEW OTHER OREGONS 894. Good rain and fine forests.—In Chile and in California, we found, you remember, that a short journey toward the pole from the land of oranges brought us to a land where the west winds made heavy rains, at about latitude 40° south in Chile, and 40° north in California. In Australasia the same thing holds true. Tasmania, across Bass Strait, nearly two hundred miles from the island of Australia, and the New Zealand islands, twelve hundred miles to the south east, are lands of good rain and fine forests. These cooler islands miss the droughts of Australia, and have the climate and the crops of Oregon, of England, and of western France.
895. Tasmania.—Much of Tasmania is mountainous and covered with fine forests. The area is about the same as that of West Virginia, and only a small part of it has been turned into farms. The climate is excellent for fruit, and the factories of Hobart, the capital, make jams, jellies, and canned fruit in great quantities for shipment to Australia and even to England.
Tasmania also has very rich tin mines.
896. New Zealand.—New Zealand was settled about six hundred years ago, by big brown men who came in boats from the islands to the northward. These people, called Maoris, were very different indeed from the black natives of Australia and Tasmania. Being very intelligent, they were expert weavers, dyers, wood carvers (Fig. 616), and builders when the British settled New Zealand, which was after Australia was settled. (Sec. 872.) In 1871 the Maoris stopped fighting the white men and were allowed to send some of. their number to the New Zealand parliament. They quickly learned the white man's way of doing things. Most of them now live as white people do. They make up about one-twentieth of the population of the islands and are increasing.
New Zealand is about two-thirds as large as Oregon and Washington. It has about half as many people as those states. When the Australian colonies formed the Australian Commonwealth (Sec. 872), New Zealand
remained a separate colony, just as New foundland did when the Canadian provinces formed the Dominion of Canada. The gov ernment of New Zealand is very democratic. Many public utilities, such as railroads, tele graphs, and telephones, are managed by the government, which thus helps the people to do for themselves things which in other countries are done by private enterprise and capital. The state even gives pensions to old people who are poor.
Not only is New Zealand like England in population, but the South Island also resem bles England in climate, and in some of its natural features. It has a mountain system to the west, called the New Zea land Alps, where the rainfall is very heavy indeed, as it is upon the mountains of Wales and of Scotland. Like the eastern part of England, the eastern part of New Zealand is a plain with moderate rain. Here the farmers grow much wheat and other cool land crops. Other parts of South Island have the cool, damp climate suited to potatoes; but there is no market except the home market and that of Australia, because potatoes are too cheap and perishable to ship to Europe. One of the ways by which the New Zealand farmer feeds many sheep with little labor is to raise a field of turnips, and let the sheep go in and eat them up.
The North Island has such a mild winter that cattle can pasture in the fields all the year, and here many of the farmers keep cows, and make a great deal of butter, cheese, and dried milk. These products are shipped to England because they are so valuable that they can stand the costly freight, as can the other valuable New Zealand products—wool and frozen meat.
There are meat-freezing plants in each of the seven chief ports of New Zealand. Every day ships loaded with frozen New Zealand meat are steaming across the seas, en route to London and other European cities, and sometimes to New York as well.