Oh my, oh my – don’t think I have seen so many people with grins from ear to ear in one place at one time before like I did today. Why you may ask, we’ll we were in Hokitika for the official re-opening of the Westland Industrial Heritage Park.
This place is amazing. Tragically much was destroyed by fire back in 2011 so with the help of their members and other local communities including the local Lions Club the Association rescued some of the machinery and tools, erected new sheds to house the relics and work on them and have opened this all up to the public for viewing. On the 3rd Saturday of each month they actually “start-up the engines”. This is what we were lucky enough to see today and it is a sight to behold.
The Industrial Park has numerous different items – engines that drove sawmills, trucks being restored and other equipment that helped construct the West Coast. These dedicated members formed the park to save the last of these remaining industrial type relics. They have loving restored many of the items to working order and whilst a couple of the “old girls” needed a hand to get going again today – I think they may have been enjoying their retirement – once going they purred like cats and you just couldn’t take your eyes off them.
The afternoon was enjoyed by young and old alike – and even by some who perhaps wouldn’t normally be interested in this sort of history. Stephen was in his element and thoroughly enjoyed himself and seeing some of the relics from yesteryear that perhaps aren’t so old – he remembered working on similar items in the early days of his electrical apprenticeship.
For me well I’m still wearing a silly grin on my face as I’m sure many of the visitors from the afternoon are. If you’re ever in Hokitika make sure you allow some time to visit the Westland Industrial Heritage Park and a very passionate group of industrial relic enthusiasts – I know they’ll enjoy showing you around. Thank goodness for men and their sheds eh!
Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth. Rated #1 on Tripadvisor for the area, they enjoy getting out and about and exploring the many wonders that help make up the West Coast of the Southern Alps.