TE AO HOU
THE NEW WORLD
We are pleased to be able to print in this issue some of the letters written to the New Zealand Dairy Board by Mr Rex Austin, of Southland. Mr Austin is a young Maori farmer brought up on one of the farms settled under Maori Land Development. A year ago he was chosen for a very high honour, namely, for a Young Farmers' Clubs' Scholarship to visit the United States. Every year, four of the most brilliant young farmers of the country are chosen for these scholarships and, in a way, they act as agricultural ambassadors abroad. They are expected not only to learn what they can about farming in the United States, but also to answer every sort of question about New Zealand, agricultural or otherwise. For the first time, last year, a 21-year-old Maori was chosen for this honour; his impressions of the United States are printed elsewhere in this issue.
This should bring home to us all how much a high standard of farming knowledge can do for the Maori people. There is absolutely no reason why the Maori should not be at least equal to the pakeha in farming. At the moment there is still a gap between Maori and pakeha achievements in this field, but it is entirely within the power of the Maori people to close this gap. Should it be possible to bring Maori production up to the general level in this country, many communities now living in backward conditions, and many Maori boys now sent to the cities to an uncertain future could make good and comfortable homes in their own villages.
How can this be achieved? First, it is a matter of the spirit in our rural communities. In our last issue we published an article by Mr W. Ohia, showing the progressive spirit of a Maori farming communnity near Tauranga. It is necessary for the people in a community to get together and say: ‘Can we do better for ourselves and our children than we are doing at present? Let us ask the Department of Maori Affairs or the Department of Agriculture how much extra butterfat we can produce on this land, and how we can do it.’
You will find the answers enlightening. There are communities where two or three times as much could be earned out of the land—with efficient management. On these three words may depend the whole future of your community and of your children.
Well, what is efficient management? Departmental supervisors or dairy instructors can soon tell us. And now the time has come to set a target—a target for your own future. An extra 30,000 lb next year—for your community—and another 30,000 lb the year after, until that efficiency figure is reached.