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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 12 (March 1, 1935)

For the Reader's Benefit

For the Reader's Benefit

With next month's issue, the “New Zealand Railways Magazine” will commence its tenth year of publication, and its size will be increased by a further sixteen pages.

The Magazine has developed well past the mere “house organ” stage. It is now recognised as an important national publication, carrying, month by month, a dependable survey of the country's social and economic development and giving a reliable picture of the life and colour of New Zealand.

As the greatest State Department and at the same time the most important factor in opening up the country for production, industry and commerce, the Railways were well placed to provide a publication of this nature, not only as a means to bring the public and the railway staff into friendly and understanding contact, but also to make known the attractions of the various parts of the Dominion, with all of which the Railways are in constant and intimate personal and business relationship. The last nine years (one-eighth of the total time that railways have been running in this country) have seen the greatest changes in the railway system, and in no respect has change been more marked than in its commercial developments and its service relations to the community. The Magazine has at all times kept both public and staff abreast of these changes to the intended advantage of both.

The popularity of the Magazine with readers and advertisers is an indication that an effective demand existed for something of the kind. It is operating in a field not covered by any other publication, and each increase in size and circulation has been justified by an improvement in its net revenue position. The enlargement which is to take place from the April issue will allow many new features to be introduced, and this should still further enhance the reader value of the publication.

Reminders are constantly coming to hand that the overseas circulation of the Magazine is a most valuable one. It is no uncommon thing for visitors to state that their decision to come to New Zealand was inspired by the impression of the Dominion gained through scanning the Magazine's pages, and advertisers have even occasionally been embarrassed by inquiries from America or some other among the Continental countries for goods that have at times been cleared from the shelves or stores before arrival of these delayed inquiries.

Besides direct sales through the High Commissioner's office in London and by direct mail, there is evidence that many New Zealanders send their copies to overseas friends. Taken altogether the circulation in other countries is thus quite considerable.

New Zealand undoubtedly suffers from wrong ideas created by writers and others who, after spending a week or two here, are prepared to tell the world all about the Dominion. Added to the natural tendency of travellers to exaggerate for the sake of effect—and who can completely avoid it?—there is a mass of impressions gained from chance sayings or contacts hastily made and only partly understood, with the result that the writings and speeches of such visitors frequently present a picture of New Zealand which no New Zealander could possibly recognise. All this has a deterrent rather than a stimulating effect on our tourist traffic. The Magazine, by its overseas circulation, helps to correct this distorted view, and it is felt that its enlargement will enable this national work to be done still more effectively in the future.