EVER since 1915, when the New Zealanders put the “N’Z.” into
“Anzac”, I’ve wanted to explore the land of the Maoris and Kiwis,
the land that Tasman discovered and Cook mapped-Australia’s
sister dominion in the South Pacific Ocean.
The New Zealanders I knew in 1915, in the shrapnel-raked gullies
of Gallipoli Peninsula, were “good blokes”, and good cobbers of the
Aussies, even though they wore their hats kin ked instead of creased.
After the war, when I was working on a ship, voyaging across the
Pacific from Australia to America, I had some shore-leave at Auckland
and Wellington-but no real look at the country beyond. Then I went
wandering all over the world for years, seeing places far away. The
years slipped by, and still I hadn’t seen New Zealand.
In January 1956, my wife (“Brown Eyes”) suggested that we should
have a little holiday. “But where?” I asked.
“New Zealand, of course!” she said. “The place you’ve neglected
That settled the argument. There are two ways of travelling from
Sydney to New Zealand-by sea or by air. We decided to make the
trans-Tasman hop by air, but to send our Holden car by ship in
advance, planning a three months’ tour by road.
When I mentioned to my friend W. G. (“Bill”) Walkley, the New
Zealander who is managing director of one of Australia’s biggest
industrial enterprises, Ampol, that I wanted to write a travel book
about his native land, he enthusiastically encouraged me. At a fare-
well dinner given to us in Sydney by my publishers, Bill Walkley
gave his New Zealand patriotism full rein. “New Zealand,” he said,
“was the first country in the world to give women the vote. A New
Zealander, Lord Rutherford, was the first scientist to knock the hell
out of the atom. Field-Marshal Rommel said that the New Zealanders
were outstanding as shock troops.”
Then he added, “The main exports from New Zealand to Australia
are racehorses and writers. The main imports from Australia to New
Zealand are Melbourne Cups, and other racing cups, and books!”
But others I spoke to were more pessimistic.
“You can’t learn enough about New Zealand in three months to
write a book,” I was warned. “You should stay there at least twelve
I could only reply that I was not writing a book about New Zealand,
but about my travels in New Zealand. My aim was to see as much of
the country as possible in the average time that a tourist from Aus-
tralia, America, Europe or elsewhere might have available to spend-
as a visitor-and to describe my own experiences in a book of con-
venient size, for the information and perhaps guidance of others who
wish to see New Zealand for themselves.
If I stayed twelve months, or even twelve years, in New Zealand, or
in any other country, there would still be something to learn, and
much that would have to be omitted from a book.
So, let me see as much as I can, in the time that I have available;
and describe it as well as I can, in the limits of one book!
With this restricted intention, I leave it to others to write more
fully, in bigger books, of New Zealand’s wonders and charms. In
these pages, I can tell only what I saw and did, and learned, on one of
the happiest holidays I have ever had in my wandering life.
In good preloved condition