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LINK WITH TARANAXI.

AWAKINO VALLEY ROAD.

OPENING BY MINISTER.

THE HIGHWAYS POLICY.

BOARD TO OPERATE NEXT MONTH.

[BY TELEGRAPH. —OWN CORRESPONDENT. ] NEW PLYMOUTH. Friday Thursday marked an important event in the history of the provinces of Auckland and Taranaki, witnessing as it did the opening of the Awakino Valley Road, which by cutting out the necessity oi negotiating the Taumalamaire Kill, that j bug-bear of travellers, will considerably facilitate inter-communication between tho two provinces. The opening, which has been looked forward to for many yews, naturally attracted considerable attention and was made the occasion of a function at Awakino, when there was a very large and representative attendance. The opening ceremony was performed by the Hon. J. G. Coates, Minister for Public Works, who left To Kuiti about 9.50 that morning, accompanied by Mrs. Coates, the Hon. W. Downie Stewart, 1 Minister for internal Affairs, Miss Ste- : wart, Mr. J. C. Rollcston, M.P. for Wai- ! tomo, and others. They were met by a large contingent from New Plymouth and I Waitara, including T. C. List, president of the Chamber of Commerce, Mr. G. i Eraser, chairman of the Tourist League, and Mr. S. G. Smith, M.P. for Taranaki. A start was then made for Awakino I via the valley road. En route a depu- ! tation from "tho soldiers' settlement at j Mahoenui, headed by Mr. Riddling, askeu | that the valley road at tho end should be metalled. The Minister replying, said they were endeavouring to complete the I metalling of the road. Tho deputation i also asked that the Papakauri road should be metalled. Tho Minister mounted a horse and inspected the road. Ho pro- | mised that tho matter would receive consideration.

River and Bush. Motoring through the valley road, tho Minister, who was in the leading oar, was keenly interested. Indeed, there is much to interest tho visitor, as the road traverses beautiful scenery, there being some magnificent views of river and buh. The road, while passable, requires a lot of work before it is completed, and numerous teams are at work metalling. There axo still some bad places, and with wet weather they would be difficult to negotiate, but this should soon be overcome. Even in its present state the road is immeasurably superior to the Taumatamairo route. The Minister was greatly interested in the steam navvy, which he stopped to inspect. The party were enthusiastic over the beautiful scenery en route, and there is no doubt when its advantages are known it will become a great tourist report. On arrival at the junction with tho old road, the Minister was welcomed by the Awakino school children under their teachers, Mrs Calvert and Miss Hodder. Mr. Coates asked that they be granted a half holiday. After being entertained at luncheon, deputations were taken, when the Minister dealt with local requests. Tribute To Minister. At a subsequent social gathering, Mr. R. Boddie proposed the toast of Parliament, which was responded to by Messrs. Rolleston (Waitomo), and Smith (Taranaki), the former thanking the Minister for the exneditious way the work had been pushed ahead in spite of great obstacles and during one of the wettest summers ever experienced in the King Country. Air. W. J. Penn, in proposing the toast of the Minister, said he had visited the district with various Ministers of the Crown since the time of the late Mr, Seddon, but Mr. Coates had in a great measure carried out what the others had promised. The Awakino Valley road had been under way for over twelve years, but it was not until the last twelve or 18 months that it had been pushed forward in earnest. Next year should see a good motor road from Te Kuiti to Awak; it-. Ke paid a tribute to tho splendid work performed by Mr. Coates. As soon as tne metalling of the road was complete, he continued, preparation should be made for a bridge over the Mokara River, because there would bo such a stream of traffic both ways that the Mokau River punt would be unable to cope with it. He did not think it would be disclosing a national secret who-. he said that the road between Auckland and Wellington via Te Kuiti and Awa kino would be the first national highway tq be undertaken and it could never be raid to be completed until the Mokau bridge was erected. No Political Considerations. Mr. Coates said that generally there was far too much talk and not enough work. He liked to visit the various districts and hear at first hand the views of the people. In a district like Awakino their wants were numerous and nearly all were justified. This road, ho pointed out, was in the Auckland /rovince and he was often taken to task for huge expenditure in the Auckland province.

In his opinion no political consideration should be brought into the public works I administration. He had studiously enI deavoured to avoid letting any item get on the estimates through the political shade or colour of any district, or individual. The Order Of Urgency. In some eases there were large areas from which one could not expect a great deal in the way of rates, but the road formed the connecting link between two important districts. The system might not bo perfect, but it fairly correctly allocated the money and was better than the previous system. Regarding the order of urgency, he said every settler must first be given access to his property, and next after access they must be given roads to carry their produce as quickly and economically as possible to the nearest market or town. He then touched on the Highways Bill, pointing out that the board would Come into operation next month. Provision had been mad© in the Bill for 6000 miles of main road which could be added to i later. He believed that in time the i highways board, given the assistance of ! Parliament, would eliminate the effect of /he multiplicty of local authorities and avoid different standards of roads. AheJ j were there that day to see what the | Awakino Valley road was like. It had : been delayed 16 years, but possibly j other Ministers had had difficulties. Ho ; muss admit that his chief (Mr. Massey) ; had been very liberal to him. Bridging the Mokau. They have, spent £45.000 on the road, I of which "£19,600 had been expended this I year, and it would require £15,000 to ( complete it. They were considering the letting of contracts for metalling some ! miles of the road, but he did not suggest j that it would be completed this year, I though he hoped to get it completed nex* I Burner. Ho recognised that the next ; thing after the completion of the metal- ! ling was' the bridging of the Mokau, i which would cost approximately £30,000, | and he had asked Mr. Godfrey, the asj pistan't under-secretary, to have plans ; prepared. Ho did not want to go on : with the bridge as that would interfere | with the metalling, but he realised that las soon as the road was metalled the | Mokau punt would not cope with the ; traffic of such an important road, as j with tho improvements made On the new j route over the Ranciriri hills there would | be a good deal of through traffic between I Auckland and Wellington. Possibly the Railway Department might j find fault with this, but they must recognice that motor traffic had come to stay and must make provision for it. It would he a tourist road, apart from servin the immediate convenience of the settlers concerned. He proposed to allow them 'o use the road, but was not going to try to foster traffic through the toad.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NZH19230331.2.114

Bibliographic details

LINK WITH TARANAXI., New Zealand Herald, Volume LX, Issue 18362, 31 March 1923

Word Count
1,294

LINK WITH TARANAXI. New Zealand Herald, Volume LX, Issue 18362, 31 March 1923

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