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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 6, Issue 2 (June 1, 1931)

Members of the Board of Control — Biographical Notes

Members of the Board of Control
Biographical Notes.

Colonel J. J. Esson, C.M.G., who is to be the first chairman of the Railway Board, was born at Picton in 1869, and was educated at public schools and privately. He joined the Public Service in the Post and Telegraphic Department at Picton in 1881. From Picton he was transferred to New Plymouth, Marton and Wellington. In Wellington he was transferred to the accounts branch, where he took charge of the clearing room. After twenty - five years in the Postal Department, he was transferred to the Treasury, where he held successively the positions of clerk-in-charge of the pay and revenue branch, and Chief Clerk and Inspector. In 1916 he was appointed Accountant and Assistant-Secretary. On the retirement of Colonel Collins as Auditor
S. P. Andrew, photo. Colonel J. J. Esson, temporary Chairman of the Railway Board.

S. P. Andrew, photo.
Colonel J. J. Esson, temporary Chairman of the Railway Board.

General, and the appointment of Colonel Campbell in his place, Colonel Esson succeeded the latter as Secretary to the Treasury. Following the war, he was a member of the Economic Commission set up by the Government, and was also a member of the Uniformity Board, covering the different services of the State, and the Stores Control Board. He was recalled from active service in connection with special work on finance and defence. He acted as Assistant Public Service Commissioner during the regrading of the Service. Having had nearly forty - four years’ service, he was retired voluntarily on superannuation and the Government, desirous of utilising his expert financial training and knowledge, retained him as Financial Adviser.
page 13

In 1925 Colonel Esson was appointed Chairman of the Royal Commission on Rural Credits, which investigated farm finance in the various countries of the world, and furnished a valuable report to the Government as a basis for our present Rural Intermediate Credits Act. Subsequently he was appointed Chairman of the Rural Intermediate Credits Board.

Having had lengthy service in the Volunteer and Territorial Forces, he was commander of the old Wellington City Rifles, and later of the 5th Wellington Regiment. When war broke out he volunteered for active service, and was selected for duty on the headquarters staff, being appointed Assistant-Quartermaster-General to the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. He was mentioned in dispatches and awarded the C.M.G. After the evacuation of the Peninsula he was appointed Colonel Commandant of the N.Z.E.F. in Egypt.

Sir James Gunson.

Sir James Gunson is one of Auckland's most prominent public men. He was born in Auckland in 1877, the eldest son of the late Mr. W. Gunson, and was educated at the Auckland Public Schools and Grammar School. Leaving school in 1892, he entered the business of his father, which, after his father's death, he himself conducted for several years until it was purchased by Messrs. Wright, Stephenson and Co. Sir James first entered public life in 1908, when he was elected a member of the Council of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, of which body he became president two years later. In 1909 Sir James was elected a member of the Auckland Harbour Board, and two years later he became chairman of the board, and held that office until 1915, when he was elected Mayor. In 1917, 1919, 1921, and 1923 Sir James was reelected to the Mayoralty without opposition. He did not contest the position in 1925. He took a leading part in war activities, having been president of the Auckland Patriotic Association since its inception, also chairman of the joint committee of the Red Cross Society and St. John Ambulance Association, and, in addition, he served on the National Efficiency Board. In 1918 he was made an Officer and later a Commander of the British Empire, and in 1922 a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George. He was knighted in 1924.

Mr. Edward Newman.

Mr. Edward Newman, C.M.G., is a son of the late Edward Newman, Fleet surgeon in the Royal Navy. He arrived in New Zealand in the early 'eighties, and after a short experience on sheep stations he settled at Turakina on a bush farm, which was later subdivided for dairying. Mr. Newman sat as member of Parliament for Rangitikei from 1908 to 1922. He was called to the Legislative Council in 1923, and served there for seven years. Mr. Newman took a prominent part in the affairs of the New Zealand Farmers’ Union. For twenty years he served as a member of the Rangitikei County Council. He was the originator of the New Zealand Sheepfarmers’ Acknowledgment of Debt to British Seamen Fund, and is chairman of the trustees of Flock House.

Mr. Daniel Reese.

Mr. Daniel Reese is a Christchurch merchant. He was born in Christchurch in 1879, and received his education at the West Christchurch School and the Canterbury College School of Engineering. He served his apprenticeship at Anderson's, Christchurch, from 1894 to 1900, and was with Howard Smith's, Melbourne, from 1900 to 1903. He was at sea as a marine engineer from 1903 to 1906, trading to the Far East, the West Indies, and the Canadian and American coast. He received his chief engineer's ticket in 1906, and returned to Christchurch in the following page 14 year, becoming a member of the firm of Reese Bros. In the field of sport, Mr. Reese has had a noteworthy career. He first represented Canterbury at cricket at the age of 16. He first played for New Zealand in 1899, and was captain of New Zealand and Canterbury from 1907 to 1921. In addition, he played for the Melbourne Cricket Club from 1900 to 1903, and for the Tottenham Club (London) and Essex in 1906. He also represented Canterbury at football. Mr. Reese has extensive business interests in Christchurch, and he is president of the New Zealand Cricket Association.

Mr. G. W. Reid.

Mr. G. W. Reid was born at Riverton in 1886. He was educated in Wellington, where at the Terrace School and Wellington College he stood high on scholarship and prize lists, says the Dunedin “Star.” He graduated from Victoria University College as Bachelor of Commerce, and obtained an honours pass in the accountancy professional examinations. His wife, herself a graduate of Victoria College (in Arts), is a daughter of the late Mr. C. A. Strack, who was well known in educational circles and was manager of the Court of Education at the big Exhibition
New Zealand's Finest Railway Station. (Rly. Publicity photo.) A recent view of the new station at Auckland, shewing the forecourt with its gardens and lawns and ornamental masonry.

New Zealand's Finest Railway Station.
(Rly. Publicity photo.)
A recent view of the new station at Auckland, shewing the forecourt with its gardens and lawns and ornamental masonry.

of 1925–26. Mr. Reid went to Dunedin in 1912 to enter into practice as a public accountant and to take up an appointment as the first lecturer in accountancy at the University of Otago on the establishment of the commerce faculty in that year. Mr. Reid has a record of twenty years’ continuous service at the University, where he now occupies the position of Dean of the Commerce Faculty, and is a member of the Professorial Board. He is a member of the Council of the New Zealand Society of Accountants, representing Otago, and is chairman of the local branch of that society. Last year he was selected as a member of the Royal Commission on Railways, but a temporary indisposition prevented him from taking up the work. He is a partner in the well-known firm of W. E. C. Reid and Co., public accountants, and has had a wide experience and a close connection with many of the business interests in the city. It will be remembered that, in cooperation with an electrical expert, he was selected to make a comprehensive report on the affairs of the Otago Electric Power Board. Through his firm he has been closely associated with several large business mergers in recent years. He is well known as the secretary of the Dunedin Manufacturers’ Association.