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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 6 (September 1, 1936)

Progress In New Zealand

Progress In New Zealand.

In 1940 New Zealand will celebrate its Centennial when an opportunity will be given, and taken, to review the progress of this country since British sovereignty was first declared here.

In any true record of the Dominion's development must first be considered the disadvantages under which the early settlers laboured through the time-distance of the young colony from the older countries, the unsettled conditions which prevailed during many years while a basis for amicable relations with the native race was hammered out on the anvil of experience and common-sense, and the sturdy spirit of independence in outlook and action which these handicaps tended to foster.

What other countries have taken thousands of years to achieve New Zealand has accomplished in less than a hundred; but its people, in considering the progress made, must realise the debt they owe to the increasing freedom of communication with other lands, to the literature of the Englishspeaking nations, to moving pictures (both silent and sound-synchronised), to wireless, and to the bounteous nature of the land which produces so richly the primary products for export, from which the people obtain in return the best that science and art in other parts of the world can offer.

The continued success of New Zealand in leading the world in health, with the lowest deathrate of any country, is a tribute alike to the excellent climatic conditions and to the guidance and advice of the Health and Education Departments and of the medical profession generally.

From the sound basis of health we go on with confidence to attempt the improvement of the economic and cultural aspects of life.

It has been well said that “when men trade and travel they talk and think.” The increasing trade of New Zealand and the ever-growing travel tendency have helped in the cultural development of the people to a marked degree.

This active intercourse has been aided by the speeding up of transport between this country and the older lands and between the different parts of our own country. And although external wars and varying economic conditions have left their impress on our people, there has been a continued foundation of internal peace which has assisted towards a steady progress in the arts and sciences, as any visitor to the recently opened Dominion Museum and National Art Gallery in Wellington must realise very forcibly.

The future holds out high hopes for human betterment when a review is taken of the rapid and comprehensive progress recorded in New Zealand, particularly during the latter years of its first century of civilisation.