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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 5 (September 1, 1929)

A Southern View of Farmers’ Tours

page 59

A Southern View of Farmers’ Tours

In a special article, the Southland Daily News deals comprehensively with the objects and results of Farmers' excursions as they are conducted on the New Zealand Railways.

“When a firm engaged in the manufacture of, say, tobacco wants to develop its business,” says the News, “it sets out to induce people to smoke and become consumers; when a firm engaged in the business of transport wants to develop business, it must set out to induce people to travel. It must create new business; in other words—it must persuade those people who usually stay at home to take a journey into other lands and see what other people are doing. This is the task the Railway Department has set itself, and nowhere can one find this new departure better expressed than in the Farmers' tours which have been conducted within the Dominion by this progressive Department. Already some six or seven Farmers' tours have been conducted successfully, and we are satisfied that the business has only made a start as yet. The writer was one of the party which left Southland for the North Island three weeks ago and can truthfully say that no more valuable work along educational lines has ever been carried out in this Dominion by a Government Department outside of that which deals with Education. When it is stated that 80 per cent. of the Southland party had never previously been across Cook Strait, it will be realised how great was the educational value of the tour.

The real educational value of a tour such as that just concluded is perhaps not realised by even those who participated in it. Just as there were 280 souls on board the Southland farmers’ train so would there have been about 280 ideas of what such a tour should embrace, but probably not one of those ideas would have sketched out a trip so full of interest and so varied in character as was that one so well planned by the Railway Department. With the experience of half-a-dozen other excursions to guide them, the Railway official knew just what would be most appreciated by a party of farmers on tour, and we are sure that the Southland excursionists would not have changed a single feature of the itinerary….

In every possible way the Railway Department excelled itself in the carrying out of this tour. Train arrangements were excellent, accommodation was always provided ahead, and the courtesy and efficiency of the Departmental officers accompanying the party were beyond praise.

One has only to travel with such a party to realise to the full that we now have a revitalised and thoroughly efficient Department controlling our railways. We can only congratulate the Railway Department and recommend those of our readers who have not yet joined a touring party to do so at the earliest possible moment and thereafter live out a more enlightened old age.”

page 60