Multi-bar rest at start of piece

(My previous post was about a different problem involving a rest at the start of the piece. This is new and unrelated.)
First I imported XML of this piece from Sibelius.
Then I needed to insert an 8-bar rest at the beginning.
When I did that, see how small the rest is in the screenshot. I tried many things to correct this but was unsuccessful. What’s the answer?
. . . hack hack. . .
Well I hacked a solution by adding a bunch of measures and moving things around etc, but if the answer comes easily to mind, I would much appreciate knowing what was going on.

Do you have system/frame break signposts shown in that screenshot? (that is, are there existing explicit breaks that might be hidden from view currently?) If Dorico is told to force a certain amount of music into a single system using a system break with the “Wait for next system break” property activated, then this sort of squishing can occur.

It might also be worth double-checking (although unlikely) that there are no note spacing overrides here as well (Engrave mode > Engrave toolbox > Note Spacing, and look for red handles)

I suspect this is not new and unrelated, and is actually precisely the same issue as in your previous thread.

The first thing at bar 9 is set to Start Voice. If you look at the score you will see no rests at all in this stave for the first 8 bars. If there is no voice at all, there’s nothing for Dorico to space. Select the first visible thing at bar 9 and unset its Starts Voice property.

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Aha!
After all my hacking, and things looked right, “Starts voice” was off for the first note beyond the opening 8-bar rest. I turned it on, and there went my 8 bar rest all squished. I turned it off and the 8 bar rest resumed its normal size.
Thank you. This goes into my notebook.