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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 1 (April 2, 1934.)


The development of a strong national spirit is altogether admirable, provided its objects are not rooted in selfishness.

Increasingly large numbers of New Zealanders are gaining an appreciation of, and love for, their country comparable with that warm regard felt by past students of colleges for their alma mater. There is more interest in New Zealand's development, greater store set by her treasures of history and legend, fuller knowledge of her resources than ever before. But the average New Zealander still does not appreciate the singular advantages of his country. Visitors from overseas never fail to dwell upon one or other of our natural advantages. If it is not the climate, with its absence of long spells of bad weather of any kind and its remarkably high average share of “the sun that never blisters,” then it is the enviably low death-rate enjoyed, the absence of any kind of dangerous animal or poisonous plant, the outstandingly interesting native race, the great sport that may be indulged in, the agricultural, pastoral and mineral resources and developments, or the wonderful range of unique scenery which the country presents.

These panegyrics of visiting travellers serve a good purpose if they make us take a greater pride in our country. But the best faith is secured from personal knowledge of a more perfect kind than the most exact description can give, and this is still lacking amongst too many of our own people. It may perhaps be rare for a New Zealander to speak slightingly of his country, but it is not with sufficient frequency that he is heard to praise it at its true worth—largely because a kind of national modesty leads him to ascribe to other countries (which he has not seen) advantages which they do not really possess, but chiefly because he does not know the vast richness of the treasure lying at his very doors.

In order to savour the full worth of the country there must be a knowledge of the historical values, the traditions and the economic significance of each part of it. This calls for travel, research and records.

Fortunately the special facilities which the Railways of this country have placed at the disposal of travellers make travel so remarkably cheap that all can indulge in it to some extent. The opportunity for research lies open to those capable of this national work and the matter of records is in the hands of our writers and artists who could find no fairer field for their skill and talent than in an endeavour to do justice to New Zealand.

The Railways here are a national facility intended to aid in the development of the country, and the “New Zealand Railways Magazine” is a publication which extends the use of that facility by the national outlook maintained in its pages. The greater space available in the Magazine in its new form will be distinctly helpful towards extending this influence for New Zealand.