The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. TUESDAY, JANUARY 22, 1889. THE VILLAGE HOMESTEAD SYSTEM.
A Parliamentary paper jast circulated shows that since the commencement of the Village Homestead system, initiated by Mr Ballance, there bave been 1269 selections m tho different provincial districts representing an area taken up of 89,404 acies. Of these 233 selectors have forfeited their holdings, amounting to an area oi 7,420 acres and 61 have abandoned theirs to a acreage of 1,875, leaving 975 settlers still holding an area of 30,107 acres. This is, we think, an exceedingly satisfactory result, the more especially wben it is seen, as shown by the return, that tbe total amount of payments m arrear on 81st March last was only £278, or less than six shillings per settler. The following shows the dis tribution of the Village Homestead settlers :— No. of Aoreage held, holdings. a. b. p. Auckland .. ..496 21,430 1 28 Hawke'sßay .. 23 102 212 Wellington .. 140 1,046 0 0 Marlborough .. 16 241 337 Canterbury .. 160 4,664 2 8 Otago .. .. 84 1,162 031 Southland.. .. 58 560 025 Total .. 975 80,107 321 Time was that the objectors to the system set forth that the settlers could nop Bncceed because of the poverty of the land on whipb. tljey were " placed. This was soon disproved go far as tlje settlements m tbe Middle Island are concerned, but until within a few days has been looked upon as a valid objection m relation to the North Island. It is all the more pleasing therefore, to find that this objection also is not founded upon fact, testimony being now to hand which proves the direct reverse. This we find m a number of the "New Zealand (Auckland) Herald "just to hand, which says :-—" The other day we published a i report of the show of farm produce recently fceld at Hpfeianga. A very large proportion of the exhibits were the produce of the village settlers m the | neighborhood of Rawene, Mr 5 JR. P. Flood has forwarded to us some samples of this year's crops of the village settlers of Motukaraka. Among the samples were a sheaf of wheat, one of oats, one of cocksfoot, one of ryegrass, etc. All the samples showed thoroughly well what kind of soil is to be found m the North. The cocksfoot grass was nearly six feet ' m height, and the wheat must have stood six feet from the surface of the ground before it was cut. The straw is strong and well developed, and the heads of grain large and well filled. The cats had splendid heads, pu4 tbe straw was exceedingly strong. Indeed all the samples jrere of that character whioh showed plainly that the much despised North is not to he crushed by the slander of its enemies, but that it will yet Qive » stamp and character to the farm life of New Zealand. It is evident that those who are possessed of the opinion that m the North a Chinaman would starve, because he could not grow enough to feed him, should pay a visit to some of the village settlements, and see what a little industry can produce, even when farming skill has yet to be acquired. With such evidences of rich soil and a genial climate tho village settlers may well be contented, and if they do not carve out for themselves comfortable homes m the far North, the fault will be their own, not that of tha district m which they havo been located. Borne of the samples were grown by Mrs Cashman, and are on view at our publishing offices, Queen street." There remains, therefore, nothing more to be said to prove that the object ; ons to Mr Ballance'fl scheme are one and all ill-founded, and that m all parts of the colony wherever it has been tried it has proved a signal success.