The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 9 (January 1, 1930)
The Whangarei District
The Whangarei District.
The final day of the tour in the North (Saturday, 23rd November), was spent in and around Whangarei, the largest town in North Auckland. The rural beauty of the good country in rear of the town charmed the visitors’ eyes, and the whole district impressed the travellers as a region of fertility, comfort and prosperity.
The final social gathering for talk and song was held at Whangarei on the Saturday night. The Mayor of Whangarei, Mr. W. Jones, presided, and said many pleasant things about the visitors.
Replying, Mr. Merritt, President of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, expressed gratitude for the warmth of the Northern welcome. The tour had been harmonious and in every way successful. They did not come on a joy ride, but to get to know the people and the problems of the country, and he knew of no better way to do this than by such tours.
The toast of “Local Bodies” was proposed by Mr. E. Casey, Divisional Superintendent of Railways, who spoke in eulogy of the priceless service which was being rendered to the Dominion by members of local bodies from North Cape to the Bluff. In Whangarei the hand of friendship had always been readily extended and he wished the town the prosperity it deserved.
Mr. J. A. Finlayson, chairman of the Whangarei Harbour Board, said one of the most pleasant memories he would carry away from public life would be the friendly relationships which had existed between the Harbour Board and the Railways Department. To show how Whangarei was progressing, he said that in 1919, before the advent of the railway, the harbour revenue was £3,000. “Since the railway has come to take our trade away, our revenue has gone up to nearly £14,000 a year, which shows that the goods and produce are here to be carried.”page 23
Mr. Crawford said that in the great North Auckland peninsula there were 3,000,000 acres of first-class and good second-class land. With the sub-tropical climate and an average annual rainfall of 63.87 inches, feed was abundant. There was no need to grow winter feed, and in the North, unlike the South, it was rare to see a stack of hay. In the last dairying season the total amount paid out for butterfat in North Auckland was £1,817,600, an increase of £479,675 over the total of the previous year, and an average return of 10s. per acre counting all land in North Auckland, good, bad and indifferent. Returns from other primary industries brought the total annual income to over £2,000,000.
Summing up the Tour.
“The success of the first two tours justifies the suggestion for an annual tour.” The President of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce expressed this view at a happy valedictory gathering on the train at Whangarei. Members of Chambers in other parts of New Zealand expressed their gratitude for the opportunity of joining in the tour and said they had been so impressed as to welcome the thought that it might be possible for representatives of their respective districts to join in future tours. A special vote of thanks was conveyed to Mr. H. H. Sterling and his staff for the successful working of the tour.
Mr. Malcolm Stewart, Vice-President of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, told his interviewer on his return to Auckland that he was greatly impressed with what he had seen and was convinced that dairy production in North Auckland would increase at a greater rate than in any other part of New Zealand. Farmers were now getting better results by means of top-dressing, rotational grazing and herd testing. With their mild winters, abundant supply of water and paspalum grass for summer feed, farmers of the North were greatly aided by Nature. The northern portion of the peninsula, too, possessed wonderful scenic attractions in the Trounson Kauri Park, Waipoua Forest, the Mangamuka Gorge, the great West Coast Beach and the two harbours of Whangaroa and Bay of Islands.
Members of the party were full of thanks to the residents of North Auckland for their great hospitality not only in arranging delightful functions at all places visited, but also for so generously providing motor cars in which to drive the travellers through districts away from the railway lines.
The travellers also commended the enterprise of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce in promoting such tours and expressed unstinted admiration for the efficiency displayed by all branches of the Railways Department in carrying out the tours.