THESE volumes, which cover the same ground, and to some extent reproduce the same information, are in great part the result of a personal investigation of the mining districts of our great antipodean colony, made by the Hon. Mr. W. J. M. Larnach, C.M.G., the Minister of Mines. From the Report, which is about six months older than the Hand-book, we learn that the latter has been compiled by the officers of the Mining Department, under the direction of the Minister, in order to furnish systematic information as to the area of mining claims, and as to other particulars concerning the working of mines, which has not hitherto been available. This result has been fairly well attained in the volume before us, which is a valuable summary, arranged topographically, of the condition of the mines actually at work, the description of each district being preceded by an historical sketch of the early explorations. Among these, that describing the progress of discovery on the west coast of the Middle Island is especially interesting, as it goes back as far as 1836, when an early settler, named Toms, “on one occasion was caught and thrown down by a large seal, receiving a severe bite on the thigh, but he escaped death by dealing it some hard blows with his fist on the nose.” Other and more serious difficulties were encountered from the opposition of the native inhabitants, whose interests were finally purchased by Sir George Grey and the successive Governors, subject to certain reserves, which at the present time produce an income of about, £4000 per annum, and as there are only about a hundred natives on the west coast, they are comfortably fed, housed, and clad, peaceable and sober, and generally respected by their European neighbours. From this part of the colony gold was exported of the value of nearly £12,000,000 sterling between 1864 and 1873, and the yield, though diminished, still continues, with the prospect that the product of alluvial rocks will be more than eclipsed by that of the quartz reefs, some of which have been proved to be extraordinarily rich. The total produce of gold in New Zealand between 1853 and the end of 1885, according to the Report, is 10,789,560 ounces, valued at £42,327,907 sterling, and the Hand-book gives the area of country proved to be auriferous in the three islands as about 21,000 square miles.
Report on the Mining Industry of New Zealand.
(Papers laid before Parliament, Session 1886.) 8vo, pp. 334. (Wellington, New Zealand, 1887.)
The Hand-book of New Zealand Mines.
With Maps and Illustrations. 8vo, pp. 519. (Wellington, New Zealand, 1887.)
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B., H. The Mining Industry of New Zealand . Nature 36, 265–266 (1887). https://doi.org/10.1038/036265a0