Like many another circumstance in New Zealand, the problem of the expatriate is implicit in the conditions that governed the early colonisation of this country, though it is doubtful if the pioneers gave very much thought to it. Almost any discussion about this country will, sooner or later, turn about its geographical isolation and its small population. New Zealanders are an emergent people and are as yet not able to absorb all their native talent. They are also a lonely people, at so great a distance from the source of their culture that frequent short-term visits or exchanges are beyond the means of most of them. It is inevitable in a community that has come into being through a tough, unremitting struggle with the land itself that the emphasis should be on material gains and on visible, useful, and tangible development. The attitudes of the early settlers are the attitudes of many of their living descendants and this is particularly true of the arts and of pure scholarship: in a considerable number of New Zealand minds they are regarded as trimmings, fair enough as far as they go, but not to be compared with a hydro-electric dam or the manufacture, under licence, of a new type of gentlemen's underwear. This is a perfectly natural point of view and the wonder of it is that there should be so many New Zealanders who hold to a different scale of values.
It can be argued that it was inevitable that Katherine Mansfield, Frances Hodgkins, and Ernest Rutherford should leave this country. Neither the writer nor the painter had her peers in New Zealand and there were virtually no links with the immensely exciting changes and revolts that stimulated their European contemporaries; nothing to fight against, except polite indifference. For the physicist there were simply no facilities for research on the level for which he was destined. They went away and they did not return, and it was right that this should be so.