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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 2 (May 1, 1939)

Into Milford

page 47

Into Milford

We had been ploughing our way steadily across the Tasman for nearly five days, when out of a clear blue sky came a wild cry. “Land, there's land over there!” “There's New Zealand!”

“Where”? We all rushed to the ship's side, eager, expectant. “Over there, see, ahead of us.” And there, sure enough, there in the distance lay a long line of dark purple clouds—our first glimpse of New Zealand. “The hills of Home!” said someone, and what a thrilling sight it was for the exile! Even as we watched, the clouds seemed to take shape, peaks stood out, mistily at first, then becoming more clearly defined as we steamed closer, until suddenly the dense bush shone green in the late afternoon sunshine.

At last, about 4.30 p.m., we came to the entrance to the Sound, and skirting round the point on which the little white lighthouse stands, we entered the calm deep waters of Milford. What words can describe the towering rugged grandeur of Milford Sound—the world-famous, awe-inspiring fiord in the south-west coast of the South Island of New Zealand?

The captain on the bridge rings down to the engine room and the ship slackens speed. We sail slowly, slowly up the Sound between great towering granite walls lost in the mists which shroud the
(Rly. Publicity photo.) The world-famed Milford Sound showing Bowen Falls (right), Mitre Peak and Lion Rock.

(Rly. Publicity photo.) The world-famed Milford Sound showing Bowen Falls (right), Mitre Peak and Lion Rock.

peaks. Every here and there on the sheer rock face there are white marks which look like scratches in the rock; but these, you see as the ship steams nearer, are dozens of fairy waterfalls falling from springs high up on the mountain side.

We are rather anxious about the mist, and hoping it will lift a little so that we can see Mitre Peak, and we long to see the glacier too. “Oh, oh, look!” cries someone ecstatically. We look up, and the mist has lifted. There stands Mitre Peak, proud, majestic, and crowned with the mist floating above its very peak like a bride's veil, tinted gold and amethyst and rose by the sun.

We feel so small standing there looking up, up, to where snow-capped peaks merge mystically with the mists. I say we feel small and insignificant and very subdued, awed by the still majesty of dark waters, sheer granite walls, snow-peaks shining in the sun, waterfalls weaving misty patterns over the cliff's face, and crowning all, there, high up in the mountain side a whole glacier lies gleaming, dazzling white where the sun catches it.

At last we reach the head of the Sound, and here the little white Government launch comes out to meet the ship, which drops anchor and lets down a gangway to the deck of the launch. Here some lucky folk alight to tramp over the Milford Track. We are a little sad because we cannot do it too, and envy the fortunate ones. Here is an elderly spinster, dressed in short, thick skirt, heavy boots, woollen sweater, and with the light of battle in her eye. There is a young man, well-equipped for the walk, his eager eyes looking forward. One has done the walk before and thrills the newcomers with accounts of her experiences. All are buoyed up with an intoxicating sort of expectancy. We envy these lucky ones.

When all is ready the little white launch pulls away from the ship, amidst cries of “goodbye, goodbye,” cheers and the waving of handkerchiefs; the gangway is taken up and slowly we start to turn. The gulls wheel, crying round us.

As we turn we get the full view of the beautiful Bowen Falls, which fall some hundreds of feet, then the waters strike a ledge of rock and spray out, falling in one great spray of foamy mist to the still waters below. The Lion stands guard as of old. We wave to him, but he gives us back a calm and serene, though stony stare.

Now we steam slowly back through the quiet sunset, and at last reach the entrance again. How we long to stay and just gaze and gaze till our weary eyes cannot bear any more beauty, but here we must say a sad, regretful “farewell” to “The World's Wonder Fiord.” And as we sail away we look back. We see the last rays of the setting sun, shining on the snow-peaks and touching them with gold and amethyst and rose …

page 48

Buy New Zealand Goods.
(Continued from page 13)

page 49
Happy lunch hour at Wills’ factory.

Happy lunch hour at Wills’ factory.

There is another angle of the New Zealand tobacco industry which must not be overlooked. New Zealand is growing tobacco. Adam Smith observed long years ago in the “Wealth of Nations” that tobacco was always regarded by Governments as “a subject for collecting taxes,” and he pointed out that “the cultivation of tobacco has been upon this account most absurdly prohibited through the greater part of Europe.”

The scene has changed. Tobacco is now grown in many parts of the world. In our own country, for example, the production of New Zealand grown tobacco leaf last season amounted to approximately two million pounds.

There is, of course, no reason why the country which grows the world's best sheep and pedigree rye grass should not compete in tobacco. There are many tobacco farms in New Zealand growing bountiful crops of high quality, most of them in the sunny Nelson province.

Under the tutelage of experts, skill in flue curing, the modern method, has been acquired, and the utmost care is taken over this process, as it is the foundation of good quality. In the Flue Barn, the green leaves change to a pale lemony-gold, and from them eventually we get our Silver Fern cigarette tobacco, Twelves cigarettes, and those smooth smoking mixtures, Tasman Toasted Flake, and Four Star Pipe Tobacco. If you are a lover of any of these, well, you appreciate a blending of New Zealand tobacco in your smoke.

We also visited Napier, and saw the National Tobacco Company's fine institution. As I have said before, industries which grow up in our provincial centres have a special place in my regard.

It is therefore fitting and proper that the lovely capital of Hawke's Bay should have as its leading industry, the great concern that makes Riverhead Gold, No. 3, Desert Gold, Cavendish, and other famous and well-liked brands.

The company has its own toasting process and makes an article of world parity.

Here again is ample evidence that the people who are engaged in the making of tobacco derive happiness from their daily job.

We show a picture of the girls having refreshments in the National Tobacco Company's lunch room, and
National Tobacco Company's staff, Napier, at refreshments.

National Tobacco Company's staff, Napier, at refreshments.

it might well be titled “Miles of Smiles.” There are other rest rooms, and luncheon rooms for the men, bicycle sheds, and every conceivable comfort.

Port Ahuriri has a utilitarian appearance like most work-a-day seaports, and the National Tobacco Company's premises strike an unexpected note of aesthetic value. The elevation is handsome and the entrance ornate but tasteful.

The hall is most impressive. It is domelit, and has exceedingly beautiful doors and walls.

The growth of the company's business is evidenced by the erection of fine new bond stores. Here again we must take into account the allied industries who benefit from the existence of the National Tobacco Company. Tins, round and square, containers of every description, cases, packets and all the rest of the necessary accessories, are all made in New Zealand by New Zealanders.

It is pleasant to know that from the mildest smoke, to the heavy and sustaining, all smokers’ needs can be met by the product of our own folks in New Zealand factories.

But to me, the main significance of these well established organisations was their air of competent, but amiable fellowship; a universal feeling that a working day could be pleasantly got through in the making of a good article under good conditions.

Once more, it was driven home to me that in modernity of plant, and in the scientific care and up-to-dateness of manufacturing method, New Zealand is on the march, abreast with the world. This applies with full force to New Zealand made smokes.

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