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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 10 (February 1, 1930)

Commerce Train Tour — Potentialities of The Far North — Some Representative Opinions

page 38

Commerce Train Tour
Potentialities of The Far North
Some Representative Opinions.

The following opinions have been given by some leading representatives of Commerce who made the journey, regarding the value, from a national aspect, of the recent tour through the Auckland province. The information is particularly valuable at the present time in view of the project, now under way, for a tour through the southern portion of the North Island by the Wellington Chamber of Commerce.

The tour was, to me as a new arrival in New Zealand, a splendid introduction to the real source of the wealth of the Dominion, i.e. the pastoral industries. The opportunity which was extended to me of becoming a member of the party was very much appreciated.

In my opinion tours of this kind can be productive of nothing but good. I have been somewhat struck by what, for want of a better word, I may term a little asperity of feeling between various parts of this country, and anything which will bring people together necessarily tends to the removal of misunderstandings. I hope, therefore, that this system of visits from one part of the country to another will continue.

I think the Auckland Chamber of Commerce are to be congratulated very much upon their initiative in this matter, and the Railway Department should receive an equal measure of praise for the excellence of the arrangements made for the comfort of the whole party.

—From Mr. L. A. Paish,

(British Trade Commissioner.)

* * *

The trip was a revelation to all members of the train. Firstly, we were indubitably impressed with the wonderful service and cooperation extended by every member of the Railway staff to the members of the party. New Zealand indeed has nothing to be ashamed of in her railways, and has a great deal to be proud of, for few countries in the world could have provided as comfortable transportation facilities on a long journey as were furnished to us.

I was impressed by the wonderful development which the northland of New Zealand is making as a result of top-dressing, and the increased facilities being afforded by the opening up of roads. The backbone of New Zealand undoubtedly is concentrated around the land, and the first hand information which we were able to secure on the problems which the farmer has to confront will prove of substantial assistance to the city traveller who was making his initial journey to the far north; also the opportunity which Trade Commissioners were afforded of knowing intimately the members of the Commerce Train and the leading citizens of the north, will surely react to the mutual benefit of both.

I congratulate you most heartily on the successful effort, and can only say that it is my great desire to accompany you if another trip of this type is arranged next year.

—From Julian B. Foster,

(United States Trade Commissioner.)

* * *

I should like to pay my tribute to the efficient organization of the 1929 Commerce Train operated by the Railway Department in conjunction with the Auckland Chamber of Commerce. One of the essential duties of a Trade Commissioner is to become conversant with the activities and resources of the country in which he is located, as without that knowledge he is not able to perform efficiently the duties entrusted to him. The basic idea of the

page break
“Sequestered pools in woodland valleys, Where the slaves of Nature stoop to drink.“ —Longfellow. (Rly. Publicity photo.) A charming scene near Cooper's Beach (a favourite camping and sea-bathing place about two miles north-west of Mangonui), North Auckland, New Zealand (visited by the Commerce Train Party).

“Sequestered pools in woodland valleys,
Where the slaves of Nature stoop to drink.“

(Rly. Publicity photo.)
A charming scene near Cooper's Beach (a favourite camping and sea-bathing place about two miles north-west of Mangonui), North Auckland, New Zealand (visited by the Commerce Train Party).

page 40

Commerce Train is to enable commercial men to ascertain by personal contact these resources and potentialities as well as the problems of the rural community. The 1929 Commerce Train succeeded admirably in fulfilling this objective and so far as I am concerned was an unqualified success. The itinerary was such that we were able to see the great developments in the South Auckland district and then proceed further north and witness the spirit of those people who have gained (and I venture to predict will continue to enhance) an enviable reputation enjoyed by New Zealand throughout the world. We saw large areas of land being brought under cultivation and parallel with this observed the fertility and productivity of these broad acres. I am more firmly convinced than ever of the wonderful future before this Dominion, and I have to thank those responsible for the organisation and operation of the Commerce Train for the splendid efforts made and facilities afforded me to know New Zealand better.

—From Mr. C. M. Croft,

(Canadian Trade Commissioner.)

* * *

Those of us who were privileged to participate in the first “Commerce” tour of 1928 were inclined to be rather assertive in prophesying that its outstanding success could not possibly be repeated in the tour of 1929. There were good grounds for this view. The comprehensiveness of the territory covered, the large number of townships and features visited, the hospitality extended, left us all somewhat sceptical as to whether or not the Railway Department and the Auckland Chamber of Commerce could introduce changes, diversify the routes, create the same esprit de corps among the train party, and expect from the settlers, local bodies, and other organisations the same generous hospitality and warmth of welcome.

Comparative views exchanged among members who made both tours are unanimous that the second trip was equally successful, equally educational, and undoubtedly fulfilled its chief objectives.

The fertile long settled pasture lands of the Thames and Te Aroha districts were contrasted with the newer farm settlements of the far north. The activities of state were studied at first hand so far as public works were concerned, and the great progress made in rail, and road transportation in the north were self evident, and their assistance to future industry and commerce were duly appreciated.

To me the second trip was a revelation in two respects: the glorious fifty odd mile stretch of sandy beach on our northernmost peninsula, capable I was told of accommodating 40 odd motor cars travelling abreast in a straight line for 30 miles, its richness in sea bird life, and its untold and yet almost unexploited potential wealth in the succulent toheroa, Luried under a few inches of sand, and capable of being harvested in such quantities as to afford in the future a most valuable food for export to the markets of the world.

The second opinion made was the manner in which problems were dealt with by local representative speakers who spoke at the various functions. All will agree that the speeches were delivered by men well versed in their subjects, and were so logically and earnestly given that they made a deep impression upon the members of the “Commerce” train party.

Yes, the 1929 tour was a great success from every point of view and its organisation, down to the veriest detail, gave emphasis to the fact that the Railway Department carried out its trust in a manner deserving of the highest commendation.

—From Mr. J. W. Collins,

(Secretary of the Department of Industries and Commerce.)

* * *

The 1929 Commerce Train proved a striking example of what can be accomplished by team work properly organised. The Department itself in its sundry branches, local committees in the various districts touched at, and many others were all constituted links in a long and sinuous chain, failure on the part of any one of which might have let the whole organisation down. But everything had been planned with such meticulous attention to detail and all concerned played their parts so loyally and well, while that fickle jade the weather once again proved in such benign and complacent mood, that not a single hitch occurred. All this, in delightfully happy combination with the wonderful spirit of camaraderie pervading the train and with the mutually stimulating contacts leading to closer understanding between, on the one hand, city dwellers, and on the other, the splendid country folk living so close to the soil in a surprisingly beautiful and productive territory, conspired to make an impression on the minds of the tourists that will remain indelible down the years.

—From Dr. E. P. Neale,

(Secretary of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce.)