PROBABLE RESULTS OF THE EXHIBITION.
It is not possible to forecast the results of the Exhibition shortly to be opened in this City. Nothing approaching it in extent or importance lias ever before occurred in New Zealand. Exhibitions of various kinds there have been in Wellington, in Christchurch, and in Dunedin itself ; but in each of these there was a savor of localism which marred the intentions of the promoters. Andatfirst it seemed a rather desperate effort to organise a really colonial exhibition at a period when the long continued depression had hardly passed away. There was also danger that the lingering embers of provincial jealousies would be potent in obstructing anything that seemed likely to advance the interests of any particular portion of the Colony. Even within the boundaries of Otago some degree of hostility was manifested because the site of the Exhibition was in Dunedin. Then the active sympathy and co-operation of the neighboring colonies was doubted; and of any help or participation from Britain or foreign countries there was scarcely any expectation. For a little while these difficulties did actually threaten the success of the affair. But the promoters persevered, setting " a stout heart to a stiff brae," as the Scotch saying pithily expresses it; and their endeavors appear likely to be crowned with well-deserved, because well-earned, success. Local and provincial jealousies have been allayed. The uttermost ends of Otago have been satislied that it is not a Dunedin Exhibition merely; the sister provinces have slowly admitted the fact that it is not an Otago Exhibition; and the Australasian colonies have recognised it as being that which its name indicates—a New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition. Of course it was bound to be held somewhere. Exhibitions, except of vagrant balloonists, cannot be held in mid-air—they must have a local habitation—and as the people of Dunedin courageously provided the means, it was only fitting that this appropriate celebration of the colonial jubilee year should be located here. So far, everything has proceeded almost without a hitch, and we are able to consider with a calm spirit the problem with which we set out.
11l the first place, there will be a great stirring of the " dry bones" of business. That principally affects Dunedin, though not entirely so, because it is bound to extend itself, inasmuch as no one portion of the community can be prosperous without all others sharing in its prosperity. But this is a minor consideration. The more important is the permanently beneficial result to the Colony. We shall have visitors here from other colonies and countries who will become acquainted with the resources and capabilities of New Zealand, which, unfortunately, is as a sealed book to the majority. New Zealand has been regarded with supercilious hauteur, not unmingled with surprise, at her audacity by many worthy people in both hemispheres. Only those who, residing here and knowing her undeveloped strength and magnificent natural resources, have stubbornly held on, confident of a bright future, can properly understand what the coming influx of strangers will do for us, and for our country. To the dwellers in the parched plains of Australia the aspect of our growing crops will be a surprise and a revelation; and the temperate climate with which we are favored will operate as a charm. Voyagers from older countries will discern here a nation in embryo, from which, as much has been given, much will be expected in the near future. Cavillers at our financial position, of which our non-friends have unjustly availed themselves, will be able to understand that the daring of our statesmen is justified by our prospects. Our visitors will not make a lengthened stay in Dunedin, though it is a city which we have a right to be proud of. They will explore the fertile valleys and grand scenery of Otago; and many of them will go farther afield, traversing both islands. And it is not too much to assume that the outcome will be an influx of wealth and population—the two main factors of prosperity—such as would not have happened in the next three decades, but for the happy thought that inspired the originators of the Exhibition.
We shall also gain from the knowledge imparted by the display of foreign products and inventions. Separated by the ocean from all kindred civilisation, our people are necessarily somewhat slow—not to say inert. "Home-keeping youths have ever homely minds;" and it cannot be but that intercourse and interchange of thought with strangers will be beneficial to us. The people whom we shall meet will be of a different type to the ordinary " globe-trotter," from whom little but amusement can be extracted. Intelligent men, intellectual men and women also, be it understood and business men will be with us and amongst us, and by contact with these both pleasure and profit must ensue. From every conceivable point of view the New Zealand Exhibition may be regarded with feelings of unmixed satisfaction. What the " Great Exhibition" of 1851 was to Britain, the coming Exhibition will be to this her remotest antipodean possession; and its traditions will remain with our children even as the traditions of the first "World's Fair" remain to this day with the children of our fathers.
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PROBABLE RESULTS OF THE EXHIBITION., Evening Star, Issue 8058, 7 November 1889
PROBABLE RESULTS OF THE EXHIBITION. Evening Star, Issue 8058, 7 November 1889
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