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Fanfare as museum opened officially


DSC 0412-952The waiting is over as an enthusiastic crowd attended the opening of perhaps Mangawhai’s most ambitious community project.

‘Community’ could well be written in capitals as virtually every member of the community has, in some way, contributed to the masterpiece over the ten years of the project, from inception, through to the many fundraising events leading to December 6, 2014. An early morning blessing was followed by lively entertainment from the Mangawhai Beach School Kapa haka Group and speeches from dignitaries before the official plaque was unveiled by Jim Wintle, head of the initial steering committee, and community worker extraordinaire.

It is the home of Mangawhai’s historic past and, given the fullness of time, will become an historic part of Mangawhai in it’s own right through static and graphic displays and videos.

Those involved have worked tirelessly to research beg, borrow and co-opt knowledge, connections and artefacts, and the expertise to document, plan and build the displays that depict the Mangawhai journey.

From a virtually unknown backwater, Mangawhai and surrounding districts were still in the throes of making history thanks to its early settlers who, by necessity, eked out a living by any means possible.

IMG 5569-963They fought historic battles with the Maori over land, established a thriving shipbuilding industry utilising their seaside location with the resulting trade gradually establishing the embryo of a small town.

The new museum chronicles the precious sons and fathers who gave themselves in the two world wars, early general store still operating from the same site today, the two parts of Mangawhai until conjoined by the causeway, the big dig to save the harbour and its shorebirds, the history, burning down of and re-emergence of the Tavern – all go to deco-rate the colourful tapestry of this unique place. Then, of course, there are the people, and descendants of, who made all of this happen.

Over time visitors will also find some affinity with the people and events on display and no doubt other stories and artefacts will come to light to further embellish and enhance the evolution of this memorial which, through trial and tribulation then a lot of goodwill and stoicism by a dedicated team, will serve Mangawhai well for many years to come.
 

 
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