The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 2 (May 1, 1937)
A Lovely Land
A Lovely Land.
It is a beautiful country, this northern province, not with the rugged majestic grandeur of the south, but with a dreamy, voluptuous loveliness that soothes rather than stimulates, and calls its exiles, we are told, from the farthest corners of the globe. No mighty peaks tower from its rolling ranges, yet it lacks not many glorious hills, benignly imposing, lying fold upon fold, a giant shirring of the earth, billowing away in soft, green waves as far as the eye may follow. A wonderful land, too, for a beneficent nature has showered her gifts upon it in no mean measure. A copious rainfall, aided by warm and genial temperatures, induces a rich growth of vegetation, which compensates in a large degree for some extent of barren land—land that has been short-sight-edly denuded of its protecting forests, and since, by successive floods, has been swept bare of its productive soil.
To those familiar with the southern climate, with its more normal seasonal activity, the vagaries of nature in this northern clime are amusing and somewhat bewildering. The “Last Rose of Summer” is never left blooming alone here, for with a hundred companions she defies song and season alike until a ruthless spring-pruning brings her to a violent end. Then imagine ripe blackberries in June; spring bulbs of all descriptions flowering cheek-by-jowl with autumn dahlias and chrysanthemums; apple-blossoms side by side with the matured fruit, and grass ankle-deep in mid-winter.
But with all the possibilities of such a climate properly exploited, with good roads giving access to places remote from the railway, and with its fine rivers and waterfalls harnessed to supply water, light and power to all its people, what might not such a country become? Already its citrus fruits are competing successfully in the world's keenest markets, and its passion-pulp industry is flourishing apace, but even in these directions its resources are imperfectly developed. Its roading system is, probably, its greatest drawback. A day's drive over its tortuous tracks, potholed and corrugated to the nth degree, is a nightmare to the driver and destruction to his car. In the meantime the north stands, halfway to prosperity, waiting for the “man of vision” who will break down the barriers that bar its way to progress.
But of its beauty of scenery, its wealth of romantic history, and the unaffected charm and kindliness of its people, the “half has never been told.” Some day, maybe, there will arise from its soil a poet—a very genius of poetic expression, who will feel a burning fervour—a mastering passion of love for his native land. He will sound the deeps of his mother-earth; its essence will seep into his soul, and from his lips its spirit will pour out in a flood of music—exquisite, melodious, majestic—and the glorious tale of the north will be told in glorious song.page 74