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Almost to the day of his death Sir James Coates- was so actively interested in many phases of New Zealand life that it is difficult to realise he has gone; and he so well maintained his characteristic stalwartness of bearing that even to think of him lately as seriously ill required an effort. It is given to few, when considerably over eighty years of age, to keep an eminent place in'the community, yet this he did, long after relinquishing the important business career to which he had devoted more than half a century. His years, it is interesting to remember, were only eleven short of the period from the entry of British rule into this country. Another James Coates was private secretary to Captain Hobson, first Governor of New Zealand and founder of Auckland, and his signature survives on many a historic document in token of successive official positions ably filled when the colony was very young. That was Sir James' father. This son soon became capable in the banking profession, rising to distinction with rapid steps until the highest of all was attained in the institution he served. Opportunities of public duty were gladly used by him. He became a valued financial adviser of Governments. When the Bank of New Zealand, at a time of crisis, came partially under the control of the State, Mr. Seddon offered him the chairmanship of its directorate, a post declined, chiefly, on the ground of loyal obligation to his own bank, the National. In this he became general manager, and afterwards a head-office director in London. At the time of his residence there, while the Great War was in progress, hundreds •of men of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force enjoyed the kindly hospitality of "Uncle Jim," as he was affectionately known among them. His knighthood, conferred some years after his return to the Dominion, was a very popular recognition of distinguished service in public affairs. It was an honour he adorned with the fine personal qualities of an English gentleman, noted for a quiet geniality of friendship and a broad sympathy with the diverse interests of others. Sir James was the last survivor of his family line, but none knowing him could think of him as lonely. He will have a sure and cherished record of respect in the annals of the country that by birth and affection was proudly his own.

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Bibliographic details

SIR JAMES COATES, New Zealand Herald, Volume LXXII, Issue 22238, 12 October 1935

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SIR JAMES COATES New Zealand Herald, Volume LXXII, Issue 22238, 12 October 1935