Boy Scouts Beyond The Seas
disappeared was the Kiwi. He was a smaller bird, covered with hairy kind of feathers, having a long bill but no wings; so he could not escape from animals like wild dogs, etc., who liked having a bird for supper, and so he died out.
Then there is the Kea. He is a kind of parrot, brown in colour, and having a most unpleasant appetite for kidneys. He will attack a sheep when grazing, sit on his back, tear away the wool, and then dig a hole into the back until he can pick out the kidneys with his strong, curved beak. Of course it is agony to the poor sheep and causes his death.
I read of a silly Kea trying the same game on a mule. He had forgotten that a mule is not a sheep. The mule, when he felt the first peck at his back, started kicking. The Kea dug his claws and beak into the mule’s back and hung on for all he was worth.
The mule, finding that kicking was no good, suddenly threw himself down and rolled over, and thus squashed the Kea. That Kea was never much good afterward at least as a Kea; but his friends had seen his fate and they never tried eating a mule’s kidneys again – pretended they did not care for them.
But they stuck to sheep because the poor sheep if he tried rolling would only get on to his back, and there he would stick, unable to right himself, and the Kea could then get at his kidneys through his stomach.
From Wellington you cross the straits between North and South Islands, called Cook’s Straits after the gallant captain who first explored them.
In a narrow channel leading from the main straits towards Nelson lives “Pelorus Jack.” He is a small whale and for thirty years he has been there. I did not see him as this channel did not come in our route, but many people told me all about him.
When a ship comes steaming through this channel, out comes Jack, swimming along the surface, till he gets to the bow of the ship, and there he swims, sometimes in front, sometimes alongside, even rubbing and scratching himself against the vessel, till she is through the strait, and he then turns off with a “good-bye” flick of his tail and goes back to his lair to await the next one.
An Act of Parliament has been passed specially to prevent him from being destroyed. Lyttelton and Christchurch
After steaming up a loch with high hills on either side of it, our steamer landed us on the quay at Lyttelton, a charming little port with its houses tucked away in a ravine in the hills. Here were more Scouts to receive me, and to put me into the train for Christchurch a few miles distant.
The country as we ran through it, with its fields and hedges, farms, woods, and villages, was exactly like England, and so was Christchurch when we got there; just an English country town, and with English people in it. Here again was a splendid parade of over 3000 Cadets and Scouts for me to look at and to talk to.
From Christchurch we ran by train to Dunedin, stopping at many places on the way to see Scouts, Cadets, and Girl Guides drawn up for inspection; all of them efficient and smart and doing good work.
And the country all the way was full of prosperous looking farms with their cattle and horses and flocks of sheep and large tracts of arable lands with their trim hedges and tall trees.
Too Much of a Good Thing Gorse and broom grew everywhere – almost too much so; they were originally brought here from