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Petone's First 100 Years (1940)


Foreword by Hon.
D. G. Sullivan

Minister of Industries and Commerce.
Fifty years! The occasion in the life of a borough that has progressively developed its resources is indeed worthy of celebration. Such a borough is Petone, and in this celebration of the fiftieth year as a Borough I would take this opportunity of extending my congratulations to the citizens, and of paying my tribute to the men who have guided its civic affairs through the years. Petone has flourished, and the prospects for the future are, in my opinion, particularly bright. With large areas of flat land, a plentiful supply of water, an ideal situation in close proximity to the Capital City, it is not surprising that Petone should have developed into such a thriving industrial centre.
Local history reveals the fact that under the name Britannia the borough was first settled. It was intended that it should be the Capital of the Province. The vagaries of nature in the shape of a flood, sent the early settlers to the other side of the harbour to build. The passing of the years, however, and the hilly nature of Wellington, sent enterprising men looking for sites on which to erect factories. Nearest to Wellington was the area on which Petone now stands. The Wellington Woollen Mill Company is one instance, and one could enumerate many more. Where employment is to be found, settlement is sure to follow, and Petone gradually developed and grew until to-day it stands as one of the most important industrial areas in the Dominion. Large and modern factories: huge assembly buildings for motor cars; all the phases of modern industry are to be found in Petone. Those who have administered the affairs of the borough have at all times shown wisdom in the laying-out of its growth, and in more recent days the advances made in the matter of town- planning have not been neglected. The residential and factory areas have been separated, and adequate provision has been made for the setting aside of recreational facilities for the ever-growing population.
With the still greater development of manufacturing in New Zealand and the establishing of any new industries, manufacturers from overseas have been quick to see the advantages of Petone. The result of this has been the addition of many new factories and a consequent increase in population. I feel that Petone is on the threshold of still greater growth and development
than ever. I can visualise the borough increasing in importance and looming larger than ever in the scheme of things national.
It is fitting that tribute should be paid to the pioneers at this time—particularly as we are e'en now celebrating the Centennial of ordered settlement in the Dominion—and in the fifty years that lie ahead I trust that Petone will continue to prosper and that its industrial activity will never slacken, nor its popularity as a suburban residential area for the overflow from the City wane. With so many fine amenities and such a progressive citizenry it may be that the elevation from "borough" to "city" is well within the bounds of possibility.
Meanwhile, I trust that the celebration of your fiftieth birthday will inspire each and all of you to give your best in service to your borough and to the nation.
D. G. Sullivan,
Minister of Industries and Commerce.
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Court House of the First Settlement of New Zealand at Pito-one, 1839

(Blown down, 1847)
From a sketch drawn by William Swainson, Esq., F.R.S.
(By courtesy Mr. J. W. Marshall, Rangitikei)

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