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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 11 (June 1, 1930)


After completing the North Island portion of their Dominion tour (the transport arrangements for which are being handled by the Railway Department), the party of British, South African and Canadian farmers arrived in Wellington on 9th March. The visitors were subsequently given an official reception by the Government at Parliament Buildings.

In wishing the British delegation success before setting out from England, the Rt. Hon. Mr. Amery (formerly Secretary of State for the Dominions), said: “New Zealand was so like Britain in climate and area that it afforded the best field for study among the Dominions.”

The tour was arranged by the British National Union, an organisation whose aim it is to strengthen the bonds of friendship between the various units of the Empire. This is the fifth tour that has been arranged by the Union, the others being: 1925, South African farmers to the United Kingdom; 1926, British farmers to South Africa; 1927, South African farmers to the United Kingdom; 1928, Empire farmers to the United Kingdom. The leader of the party at present visiting New Zealand is Mr. Samuel R. Whitley, J. P., of Reading, who accepted the position when Lord Bledisloe was appointed Governor-General of New Zealand. Mr. Whitley is one of England's leading dairy farmers, and is a member of the council of the British Dairy Farmers' Association. Heading the South African party is Mr. Allan Vere Allan, of Natal, who is the accredited representative of the South African Agricultural Union. He is a warm advocate of co-operation between farmers, and has taken a prominent part in the formation of several co-operative concerns in Natal.

Members of the party speak in generous terms of the land they have seen in the North Island, and they are very enthusiastic about the climatic conditions. Visits were paid by the farmers to Massey Agricultural College, and to other research and educational institutions, and they were impressed with what New Zealand is doing in the direction of invoking the aid of science in farming.

The visitors were accorded an official reception by the Government at Parliament Buildings on the day following their arrival in Wellington. In the absence of the Prime Minister (the Right Hon. Sir Joseph Ward) and the Minister of Lands and Agriculture (the Hon. G. W. Forbes), the guests were received by the Minister of Labour (the Hon. W. A. Veitch) and Mrs. B. B. Wood (daughter of the Prime Minister).

In extending a welcome to the visitors, Mr. Veitch apologised for the absence of Sir Joseph Ward and Mr. Forbes, and read a telegram from them expressing keen interest in the tour. It was a great tribute to New Zealand, they said, that such a body of experienced farmers from the older countries should visit New Zealand. It was hoped that the exchange of ideas resulting from the tour would be of mutual benefit to all parts of the Empire. Mr. Veitch said they all realised how much such tours as the present meant to the Empire. There was nothing like the personal touch. The component parts of the British Empire might be widely separated so far as distance was concerned, but they were very close together in every other way. New Zealand was a very small portion of the Empire, with a population not yet up to the 1,500,000 mark, but they had very high ideals and great aspirations. They had an intense love for the “Mother Country, and a profound respect for the Throne and His Majesty the King. That respect was personal as well as official. They had climatic advantage's, and the advantage of an undivided population, and it was their aspiration to found a Britain of the Southern Seas in the two islands that went to make up New Zealand. In saying that he believed he was speaking not only for the Government, but also for all the page 10 citizens of the Dominion. The Government greatly appreciated the visit of the overseas fanners, and extended to them the heartiest of welcomes.