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Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Covering the North King Country since 1906 – one paper, total reach
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YOUR NEWS, YOUR VIEWS
By Todd Ward
WORK has begun to sort and shift hundreds
of historical artefacts to display in Te Kuiti’s first
The Te Kuiti and District Historical Society, es-
tablished in 1986, recently bought the former NZ
Post building on Rora St and is now in the process
of moving its vast catalogue of photos, papers,
documents and antique items from its rundown
Queen St premises into the centre of town.
The society, which also owns and operates the
1928 Railway House in Rora St, has for many years
planned to build a museum behind the house but
was hampered by costs.
So when the Post Shop was placed on the
market, they jumped at the opportunity to turn
the two storey building into a suitable venue to
showcase the town’s unique history.
The society took over the building, which was
sold for $250,000, on April 1.
Chairman Jim O’Halloran says the purchase
was made possible thanks to two local families
loaning the required funds.
“A lot of people have passed the comment while
visiting the railway house that it’s a real pity we
don’t have a museum because they would make
a special trip just to look at it.
“And that has happened on more than one
“ Te Kuiti is a major town in the area and
SOCIETY member Russell Aldridge sorts
through a box of artefacts.
visitors from many places come looking for a
museum to see the area’s history on display.
“So a museum in Te Kuiti is long overdue.”
Currently, the Waitomo District Council is us-
ing the building as a temporary i-SITE, but once
its lease expires in October, the society plans to
open the museum before Christmas.
Incoming rent from two upstairs tenants and
NZ Post (mail sorting room) will go towards
paying off the loan while the downstairs space
(830sqm) will be used for historical displays,
storage and preservation archives.
The society’s microfilm reader at the Waitomo
District Library along with microfilms of the King
Country Chronicle newspapers will also be moved
to the new premises.
“Once the i-SITE is gone we will seek the
advice of museum experts to get some help with
setting up our displays,” says society member
Vice-chairman and archivist Ross O’Halloran
says the displays will aim to tell Te Kuiti’s rich
history both Maori and European – ranging from
early settlement and military service to railways,
industry and shearing.
“ The big thing about this area is that it does
have a unique history,” says Ross.
“It’s one of the last, if not the last area, to be
settled by Europeans. And when people begin to
learn more about their history they seem to take
more pride in who they are and where they’re
from. So having a museum in Te Kuiti will be a
great addition to the town.”
He says aside from being a place to showcase
the town’s history, the museum will be a great
educational experience with the potential to
increase visitor numbers in Te Kuiti.
“I like to think it’s going to be a big bonus for
bringing people into the main street and that’s
what it’s all about.
“But for me I just love history.
“Because from my point of view you can’t
imagine your future if you don’t know your past.”
For historical and preservation purposes, the
society encourages anyone with any significant
historical items from the area (photos, docu-
ments, artefacts etc) to contribute to the museum.
For more information, email Ross O’Halloran
Museum is “long overdue”
TE KUITI and Districts Historical Society members Glenyss and Jim O’Halloran outside the former NZ Post building which is to become Te Kuiti’s
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