Hebridean poverty

A New Zealand howitzer battery on the march in northern France. — Otago Witness, 5.9.1917.
A New Zealand howitzer battery on the march in northern France. — Otago Witness, 5.9.1917.
Sir, — Allow me to quote certain sentences from a letter received by a lady in Mataura from a minister of a Gaelic congregation in Lewis, Scotland.

His letter shows what sufferings the poor people in the Hebrides are enduring, and how truly patriotic and benevolent is the work of the Highlands and Island Society in New Zealand, which is seeking to send them relief. This clergyman says: "There are facts connected with us which may be of interest to you and to your friends in the Antipodes. My congregation is the largest purely Gaelic-speaking congregation in the world, comprising approximately four thousand souls, adults and children. Our roll of honour in the present war is over 600, and the death casualties so far are 9 1/2 percent. The London Land League has been rendering invaluable services by sending help to the many poor ones among us in money and clothing for some time back, for which we are very thankful. There are many necessitous cases among us, you may understand, especially because of war prices. The boll of meal which used to be before the war sold at 18s is now sold for £2, and clothing is equally hard to secure. It is very distressing to face so many cases of need and not to be in a position to relieve them. The bright side of the question is the Christian fortitude which many among them exhibit in their poor circumstances. They never complain, even when they are in want. Give them the means of grace and they will live happily though they should go to bed hungry and shiver from want of clothing. Such is the condition of things all over the north-west of Scotland; and, as we contemplate it we cannot but wish success to the committee which is sending help from Otago to the multitudes of suffering families in the Highlands. This committee, which sits in Dunedin, ought to have a sub-committee in every town. I am, etc., Tuapeka.

Electrical advisor

In order to keep in touch with consumers and afford them the benefit of expert advice on any matter relating to the efficiency of their lighting or heating arrangements, the Electric Power and Lighting Committee has decided to secure the services of a suitable man, who has had the necessary training and experience, and who will devote the whole of his time to calling upon consumers to ascertain if they are satisfied with the services rendered by the department, and advise them if there is any way in which they can use the electric supply to better advantage. In the case of lighting, a little expert advice will in many cases lead to much better results from the consumers’ point of view, and there is no question but that it should be the duty of the department to show consumers how to get the best value from the revenue collected from them. It is not possible to get a man with the right qualifications at the present time, but the proposal will be carried into effect as soon as a suitable man can be procured.

Wanaka telephones

Our correspondent informs us that the opening of a telephone exchange at Pembroke, Lake Wanaka, is a practical certainty. The exchange will have from six to eight local subscribers, and there will possibly be three party lines linking 10 or 12 residents of Mount Barker with the bureau. — ODT, 3.9.1917.




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