National Geographic : 1902 Sep
PROBLEMS OF study for myself upon the ground what might be the truth in what they say. That I did not find any perfect people, any realized Utopia, any cooperative commonwealth is true; but I did find there that people of our kind confronted with our problems have found a solution so adventurous and so successful that it is of surpassing interest to us all, as much so to those who do not agree with the methods employed there as to those who do; and if it be true, as believed by its admirers, that the democracy of the future is rising in this new land of human rights in the Pacific, then those results are of especial interest to us, be cause they mark the path along which our own future is to go. New Zealand is like Japan, a country to the south of the Orient what Japan is to the north. It is like Japan in the beauty of its climate ; in the beauty of its scenery, which wins the hearts of all comers. It is like Japan, very windy, except that in the New Zealand Parlia ment they have a time limit on speeches, which is very rigorously enforced. The scenery of New Zealand is an epitome of the best scenery of the world. There are Alps as glorious as those of Switzer land ; lakes as beautiful as those of Eng land ; mountains among the highest and grandest in the world, as grand as those of Norway, and rivers rivaling those of the Orinoco and the Amazon. There are beautiful flowering trees, spreading their canopy of pink and white and purple over the landscape, with the red tree, the king of all. There are some earthquakes and vol canoes there, and you will learn from the conservatives of New Zealand that the old-age pension laws, labor laws, and some of their other innovations are among the most dangerous of their earth quakes and volcanoes. A traveler from a country so far away is expected to bring with him at least something of the marvels which are to be found there; but New Zealand, let THE PACIFIC 343 me impress upon you, is not a country of the abnormal, neither in the home nor the nation; neither is it abnormal in its social life. New Zealand is a country of the normal. It is normal in its natural characteristics, in its people, and from my point of view it is normal in its in stitutions. They have, however, one thing which might possibly bear men tioning in passing, because it appeals to the curiosity of the traveler, and be cause, like so many of their natural features, it is an allegorical metamorpho sis. They have a caterpillar that after death turns into a plant and blossoms and goes to seed, and to all appearances it does so in the plain way that is usual with the cryptogams, to which family it belongs.* But it has been stated that there is a certain parallelism between the metamorphosis which takes place in the case of the New Zealand insect and that which takes place in the human world ; but there is this difference between the change which takes place in the human case and in the case of the New Zealand insect, the human worm in New Zea land does not wait till death to blossom. Every country must be either an ex periment or an efflorescence. Japan has flowered into that exquisite art which has done more to influence the esthetic development of mankind than anything since Greece gave the Milo to art, and New Zealand has flowered into democ racy. There waited the last piece of vir gin soil on earth where Britain's race could expand its governing genius, its in stitution-making genius-for our genius to govern ourselves, I hope, is an institu tion-making genius. There waited the last piece of virgin soil on earth where the race could expend its governing genius and free from the slavery of monarchical vested rights, and, what is * The insect is the "'whitegrub," or larva of the May-beetle (Lachnosternafusca) ; the fun goid plant which springs from its head is the " white grub fungus " (Torrubia rarenelii). WJ M.