Page:Picturesque New Zealand, 1913.djvu/69

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CHAPTER II

Characteristics of the New Zealanders—Former Cannibals who have become Good Citizens

And now what can be said of them who have created this meritorious State? Are they, because they have accomplished so much in so brief a time, an extraordinary people; are they mentally, morally, socially superior, as individuals? In one respect, perhaps, the New Zealanders differ from the majority of mankind. As a democracy they have made more of their opportunities. They have run where others walked or wallowed. They have exhibited humanitarianism where others displayed brutality, uncharitableness, or indifference.

New Zealanders are so far from being extraordinary that they have been called parochial and conceited. On criticism laudatory of their country they smile, and, some charge, on censure frown. Many parochial and conceited New Zealanders there are, but I cannot candidly say that the average New Zealander is more parochial or conceited than are millions of people in the United States or in Europe. On subjects affecting his native heath the New Zealander undoubtedly is sensitive, but what nationalities are not so?

On the other hand, prolonged prosperity apparently has created in the New Zealander some indifference to criticism which, if heeded, might have beneficial results.