The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 3, Issue 1 (May 1, 1928)
A Creditable Performance
A Creditable Performance.
Mr. Coates went on to say that in 1920 he remembered the need of the continuation of the East Coast Railway being forcibly advocated in the House of Representatives, particularly by the late Sir William Herries, whose name should be revered by all. (Applause.) At that time, the speaker believed, he had carned a good deal of unpopularity because, as Minister of Public Works, he had asked the people of the Coast to leave the question of the railway in his hands to deal with in accordance with his policy of linking up certain non-paying lines. Under that policy the work at Tauranga had to be stopped temporarily, and he well remembered the “scornful howl” raised from one end of the district to the other. But he put it to them now that the construction of that railway was in reality a wonderfully creditable performance in a small country. (Applause.)
The Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. J. G. Coates, then Minister of Public Works, turning the first sod at (Te Puna) of portion of the East Coast Railway, Nov. 1924. This section of the line was built by Sir W. G. Armstrong-Whitworth & Coy., Ltd.
“You have a great district and a great people settled in it,” the Prime Minister added, “and I hope you will stick to your own railway service. You have a good motor and an up-to-date boat service, I know, but all we ask is that you give us a fair share of the trade and custom.” (Hear, hear.)
The Hon. K. S. Williams, Minister of Public Works, expressed confidence that when the railway was getting and giving a good service, vast improvement and development would take place in the Bay of Plenty. He appealed specially to the Maoris to patronise the railway, particularly in the carriage of their maize and kumeras.