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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 10 (January 1, 1940)

New Zealand Centennial Exhibition

page 47

New Zealand Centennial Exhibition

(Continued from page 24.)

shell at Napier to the Post Office at Invercargill. As one who knows New Zealand well, I pass this work as perfection; it is a miracle of fidelity.

In the Auckland model, you can walk up Queen Street in imagination and turn up Wellesley Street into Albert Park; in Wellington you watch the Essex leaving the Floating Dock and follow the mazy streets of Thorndon; in Dunedin, the symmetry of the Octagon can be seen, and the exquisite slender spire of First Church is here in its precise Gothic beauty.

There are numerous working models: dairy factories in the North; a fruit cannery at Hastings; a cheese factory in Taranaki; the Ford factory and others in Wellington, and so on until every pastoral, agricultural, mining, and industrial activity of the country is covered by a self-explanatory working model.

On the scenic side the story is still more brilliant; here the visitor can see Milford Sound with Mitre Peak in the background; Lake Wakatipu with the mighty Remarkables rising from its blue waters, and Queenstown, perfectly modelled, nestling in its small bay with the tiny bush-covered peninsula. Bowen Falls roar down, and at the northern end Keri Keri Falls also foam over in realistic fashion.

Beneath the Dominion Court are the Waitomo Caves. This is the most unusual spectacle provided in any Exposition in history. The space and height under the lofty representations of Mount Cook and other peaks, have been utilised to give the proper altitude to the caves. The Cathedral Cave, for instance, is a perfect replica, with its awesome feeling of height, depth and grandeur; the stalactite and stalagmite formations, beautified by dainty lighting effects, are exquisitely natural. The floor is of clay as “at home,” and suddenly we arrive in the glow-worm cave, where the sound of running water and the twinkling tiny blue stars above, make the sight uncanny for those who have seen the real thing. A duckboard with handrails goes the full winding length. The finest fernery I have ever seen finishes this wonder-trip. There is a maze of flagged paths through a tracery of green fairylike plants, lacy and drooping, comprising the whole range of this region of botanical loveliness. This is an exhibition itself. I should mention the comfortable reception rooms for each Province, beautifully appointed and vying with each other in their display of local beauty spots and places of interest. These impress on everyone the multiplicity of the wonders of our diverse, satisfying, mutli-coloured, progressive, happy and highly developed land.

In the great Tower Block, the Main Hall has great pillars which sweep to the lofty roof, and the spaciousness and dignity of the architecture deserve the title of Temple. The Women's Court is exactly what can be expected from the country that had the first woman M.A. and was first to grant Female Suffrage. It is a triumphant expression of the part played by our womenfolk in the building of New Zealand. There is a pioneer hut with its meagre showing of household things, treasured so much, and there is a Canterbury home of the 1850–60 period showing a rapid accession of comfort. The Loans section has assembled a remarkable collection of veritable objects, and every aspect of women's life, every feminine activity, from practical housekeeping to the advancement of culture is portrayed here. It is a show within a show and will repay a long stay.

Before arriving at the Dominion Court, we would pass through the enormous area devoted to the Centennial Olympia. Here all the great motor firms of the world have spacious courts displaying the last word in motor vehicles. A visitor from Mars could go back to his planet and build one after seeing this show with its wonderful detail. There remain the two colossal halls containing the Manufacturing Industries and the General Exhibits. Streets upon streets of exhibits, stalls, in dozens and scores, with a Cabaret, huge Restaurant, and other attractions make these two a middle-sized city, needing a full volume to adequately describe.

Let us take a quick glance at the Australian and United Kingdom island pavilions. In the Australian edifice, a wall of glass encloses a geometric stairway which leads to a top floor from which a fine view of the main buildings can be got. There is something about the bigness and airiness of this building which befits the world's Fifth Continent. The Bondi Beach panorama with its lifelike bathing girls and sunlit rolling surf surprises everyone and holds the crowds.

Here we have an atmosphere of vigorous mature nationhood, with industries rivalling those of Europe and America in scale and complexity, and a distinctive national culture in full spate of expression. Somehow we get the feeling of the Australian sun, wide spaces, and titanic modern cities. “North of Capricorn” astonishes us with the news that two-fifths of Australia lie in the Tropics. Australian art, music, and literature have noble displays containing many world-famous names. Our Big Brother and closest neighbour has created in this Pavilion an exhibit which should satisfy the most patriotic “Aussie” exile.

The United Kingdom Pavilion has all the qualities we associate with our Motherland. Dignity and simplicity are here, nobility of treatment, breadth of vision and lofty conception. The central theme is imperial in its outlook, and deals with world communications, trade routes, and transport generally.

I like the classic strength of the tremendous statue, allegorical of the alighting of Power on earth, and the treatment of the grand foyer. There is a huge relief map of the world and its waterways, showing the shipping routes and airways of the world, with model vessels moving eternally along the seaways. There are three amazing model displays, motor, rail, and marine. Stephenson's Rocket starts at one end of the rail transport display, and through a strange and fascinating series of locomotives we are brought to the “Dominion of New Zealand” a streamlined beauty built in 1937. The ships are possibly more fascinating; they start from the British coracle, and after an Elizabethan merchant ship, an East Indiaman, and many others, we see the model of the S.S. “Dunedin,” the first ship to carry New Zealand frozen meat. Finally, of course, we come to the “Queen Mary.” There is a striking device which displays the ships of over 20,000 tons recently built in English yards.

The aeroplane models are also engrossing, and we learn something of the efficiency of British work which is in evidence just now in this arena. The composite Short-Mayo aircraft is also shown. The motor car range of models starts with the first horseless carriage on English roads in 1827, and culminates with Captain Eyston's land-speed record-holder “Thunderbolt.” New Zealanders will feel a glow of pride in their unblemished British ancestry as they leave the United Kingdom Pavilion. Playland can be left to its own affairs; it is the brightest, biggest, and fullest park of amusement ever assembled in these lands.

The landscape-gardening beauties of the grounds, the glory of the Avenue of Flags, the superb beauty of statuary and mural paintings, the completeness of the appointments for the comfort and instruction of the public, and a thousandand-one other things which adorn this New Zealand Exhibition, must be left to another time.

No New Zealander who loves his land should miss this Exhibition; in its 65 acres there is compressed everything of utility or beauty possessed in our country. Here we find in perfect form the realisation of those high dreams of our forbears.

page 48

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Troops Entrain For Waiouru (Rly. Publicity photos.) Off for Field Training.—Members of New Zealand's Special Military Force entraining at Treatham on December 3rd, when they left for Walouru, on the central plateau of the North Island, for an intensive course of field training. The complement consisting of 29 officers and 660 other ranks of the 19th Wellington Battalion was transported by special train.

Troops Entrain For Waiouru
(Rly. Publicity photos.)
Off for Field Training.—Members of New Zealand's Special Military Force entraining at Treatham on December 3rd, when they left for Walouru, on the central plateau of the North Island, for an intensive course of field training. The complement consisting of 29 officers and 660 other ranks of the 19th Wellington Battalion was transported by special train.

page 50