Heritage on display at museum
9 February 2016
Heritage on display at museum

IN spite of being postponed due to rain, Sunday’s Waterwheel Trust Live Day at Kawerau was a favourite event for fans of vintage machinery.

Event organiser John Galbraith said though attendance was down slightly, there was a lot to see and experience.

“It went very well. Families came out and enjoyed seeing the equipment running and tractor rides,” he said.

The Waterwheel Historic Trust has a large collection of machinery representing New Zealand’s heritage in its museum. Along with industrial equipment, the museum displays early residential and commercial memorabilia, such as telephones, typewriters, cameras and an early 1900s surgical table.

The group formally began in 1990. Since then the trust has acquired many items donated by individuals and public groups.

“We’ve been collecting stuff for 25 years now, mostly from the local area,” Mr Galbraith said.

The museum not only collects and displays vintage equipment. It is a storehouse of skills and knowledge from volunteer members, some of whom were tradespeople and who have since passed away.

The collection of skills and knowledge allowed the trust to restore items that had fallen into disrepair.

Their most recent acquisition was a military fire engine.

“It’s a 1940s Ford V8 and was initially stationed at Waiouru and Linton military camps,” Mr Galbraith said.

“It was recently restored by two of our members – Owen Rivers and Neil Johnson.”

The museum has exhibitions on special occasions. The most recent was supposed to happen on Waitangi Day, but a rain forecast forced a postponement to the following day.

“We run live days from time-to-time, mostly to coincide with events in Kawerau, which tend to bring in more people,” Mr Galbraith said.

The trust’s name comes from the waterwheels used to power the original wheat and maize flour mills in the Bay of Plenty region’s early days.

The Waterwheel Historic Trust runs a live historic village and heritage park at Paora Street, open on Tuesday and Wednesday, 10.30am to 3pm.


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