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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 1 (May 1, 1928)

Arrival Of The First Train

Arrival Of The First Train.

The arrival of the first train was the signal for an outburst of cheering and a haka by the Maoris lined up on the platform. The Prime Minister and Minister of Railways, Rt. Hon. J. G. Coates, who had travelled from Wellington by train, mounted the raised dais, accompanied by the Hon. K. S. Williams, Minister of Public Works, the Hon. A. D. McLeod, Minister of Lands, Mr. C. E. Macmillan, M.P. for Tauranga, Mr. F. F. Hockley, M.P. for Rotorua, Mr. A. M. Samuel, M.P. for Ohinemuri, Mr. W. Lee Martin, M.P. for Raglan, Mr. H. Holland, M.P. for Christchurch North, and local body representatives.

Introducing the Prime Minister, Mr. R. King, Chairman of the Tauranga County Council, expressed the appreciation of the residents of the Bay of Plenty to Mr. Coates for his action in coming to Tauranga at great personal inconvenience to open the railway.

Mr. Coates was greeted with applause. It was with great pleasure, he said, that he had managed to make this flying visit. Tauranga always appealed to him because of its beautiful setting, benign atmosphere, and glorious scenery, which were unsurpassed in New Zealand.

“Tauranga is a town of great historical associations,” he continued. “The white pioneers did not come here without difficulty, for in those early days they had to take on these gentlemen page 5 (indicating Reweti Ngatai and his interpreter) who have just addressed you (laughter), and it was no mean fight either. It is well to remember that that scene has changed. An agreement was arrived at between the two races and it has been honoured by both sides as a gentlemen's agreement should be. We are glad to shake hands with our Maori friends whenever we meet them.” (Applause.)