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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]

Professional, Commercial, And Industrial

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Professional, Commercial, And Industrial.

Professionally, Wellington may perhaps be said to hold the leading position in the Colony; Commercially, it is certainly moving rapidly in that direction; but, Industrially, it must be admitted that it is not yet equal to either of the other three large cities. And it is probable that the last remark will be true for many years to come. Almost every day sees additions to these classes; and it is by no means certain that the businesses of Wellington are not increasing a good deal too rapidly.

One of the most remarkable features of Wellington's recent development is the removal to the Capital of so many of the head offices of banking and insurance corporations, and of the large importing and exporting firms. There are still a few considerable concerns holding out; but one of two things must soon happen—either they must be suitably represented at the Capital, or they must disappear from the list of leading firms or corporations, as the case may be.

In the following pages, devoted to the professional, commercial, and industrial firms and public companies of Wellington, a very great deal of valuable information is given—such as must make the Cyclopedia of New Zealand a work of constant reference in all parts of the civilised world. To exporting firms of the Old World much of the information given here will be invaluable. Even a personal interview with a customer could not furnish a moiety of the information which may so easily be found herein.

No direct attempt has been made to give the financial status of business firms. For obvious reasons that could not be done. But the intelligent reader will find what is much more useful and reliable than most of the direct information that is usually supplied. A case came under the writer's notice a few days ago, showing the untrustworthiness of this private financial “information” A careful and mysterious enquiry had elicited the “opinion” that a certain business man of Wellington, who is in a fairly large way, was unstable, and that it was “a toss-up” whether the next week would not find him “closed” A glance at the article then in the press would have convinced the recipient of that “opinion” that there was treachery or serious error somewhere. Had the Cyclopedia been published at the time, no man dare have given such an opinion in the face of an article which, without saying so in so many words, clearly showed that the business was thriving, with its proprietor in a fair way to independence.

It may be argued that, as the information upon which these articles are compiled is given by the parties interested, it is unreliable. Of course, a sensible reader will not forget that fact; but he is also asked to remember that one seldom meets a business man foolish enough to have information published about him from points many of which it is well-known must have been supplied by himself, unless that information be reasonably correct. No policy could be more suicidal.

The information as to partnerships past and present, and business career generally, will, in the hands of the careful reader, be most useful, and should always be considered when making private enquiries concerning a business man. Old partners can very often be of great use in answering these questions; but it should always be borne in mind that while they are the most likely to know the truth, they are naturally among the least likely to tell it without bias. An indirect opinion which can be traced to an old partner should be received with the greatest caution.

Some of the particulars given may seem unimportant at first glance, but the compilers are satisfied that experience will prove all to be useful. As an auxiliary of the directories in use, this part of the Cyclopedia will be valuable; and for the compiling of special lists it will be particularly beneficial. Business men are being constantly addressed at both page break their offices and private houses with the same communication, while wholesale houses at a distance are daily wasting paper and stamps by sending their communications to journeymen, who appear in the directories under the same calling as their employers, and without any distinction. Much difficulty is also experienced in finding out those names in the directory which have been left from year to year instead of being struck out. In the Cyclopedia this is at once made plain, for every firm is called upon, and those who may be about to leave or change frequently call attention to the fact, and the change is duly made.

In some few cases hardly sufficient information appears, in view of the importance of the concern. Readers are asked to acquit the proprietors of blame. Every reasonable effort has been made to allot each firm the space merited, but in some instances it has been impossible to get the information without waiting too long for it, and in a few others it has been either refused or grossly neglected.

Those who contemplate entering into business would do well to consult the Cyclopedia. A careful perusal of all the notices in their particular lines should be sufficient to give an idea of their probabilities of success. Where it is evident that there are already a fair number of enterprising firms in the field, and also several strugglers, it will be wise to consider the question very carefully before adding another to either class. Too much caution can hardly be displayed, for it must be admitted that Wellington is overstocked with businesses. On the other hand, it may be argued that the population is rapidly increasing, and therefore the active and energetic will always have a chance; and there will, unfortunately, in every line, ever be some who can be driven to the wall. The purchasing public of Wellington are, however, fairly conservative, and cannot be very easily tempted to leave an old shop for a new one. Especially is this the case in businesses depending for purchasers upon the male population, whose shopping time is generally limited, and who are naturally more liable to make friends of those with whom they deal.

It is sincerely hoped that the attempt to portray the professional, commercial, and industrial condition of Wellington will be useful to all classes. It is fair that the public should know as much as possible of those from whom they purchase, and upon whom they cast the responsibility of rightly using the profits resulting from their patronage. A purchaser's responsibility does not cease when he has found a shop where he can get the very utmost for his money. There is a duty beyond, and frequently antagonistic to that, which all right-thinking people acknowledge. “Am I helping an honest man or encouraging a scoundrel?” “Does the man who benefits by my patronage, however little, use his spare time and money for the uplifting of humanity, or does he waste both in riotous living?” These are the questions a purchaser should ask himself; and these are questions to which he may find tolerably correct answers in the following pages.

From a photo kindly lent by Mrs. Sarah O'Loughlin, Otaki. Hutt Road—as it was fifty years ago.

From a photo kindly lent by Mrs. Sarah O'Loughlin, Otaki.
Hutt Road—as it was fifty years ago.