A fun day out set in grandad’s era

Clydesdale horses will be ploughing ground at Kawerau this month as part of the ‘Farming like Grandad’ fun day out.

Old engines – think vintage cars, motorbikes and farm machinery – will join Clydesdale horses in a day showcasing the way grandad did things in Kawerau this month.

The Waterwheel Historic Trust is hosting its annual ‘Farming like Grandad’ fun day out for all on Sunday, January 28, on State Highway 30 opposite Military Rd, and will pull show-goers back into yesteryear pretty fast.

“If your grandad farmed in the 1920s to 1960s this aims to replicate how it was done,” says trust co-chair Stephanie Johnson.

“Think heavy horses demonstrating ploughing and wagon rides, old tractors with smoke puffing from their exhausts and vintage farm machinery on display – from tractors to milking machines to sheep shearing equipment with a few sheep being shorn for good measure.”

There’s also traditional crafts from spinning to weaving – hands-on-fun includes a chance to use a Singer sewing machine, learn how to knit, and make butter – plus there’s games for all the ‘kids’ just like grandad used to play.

“The great ‘tractor parade’ will give everyone an opportunity to see these machines in full working order and a tractor pulling competition will see teams of four competing to see how fast they can pull our old Fordson Major,” says Stephanie, who says to contact her for entry forms.

There’s an animal petting corner on-site, and everyone is encouraged to dress in yesteryear theme – with prizes for best vintage costume.

Music and food stalls with plenty of ice-cream will be on-site but event-goers can a picnic and sun umbrella along. Gates open 10am-3pm on State Highway 30 Kawerau, opposite Military Rd. Entry is $5 for adults and no charge for children. Please leave dogs at home.

All proceeds go to the Waterwheel. The project began in 1990 by Eastern BOP residents keen to preserve a vanishing history – the industrial archaeology of New Zealand. In 2006, the community company became a charitable trust, The Waterwheel Historic Trust.

“Today we’re based at Kawerau Life Konnect where we have a restoration group and a group looking after our extensive display, volunteers are welcome,” says Stephanie.

So far volunteers have saved or restored donated machinery, vehicles and equipment worth in excess of $2 million, many to working order. Daily diaries reflect this endeavour and protect the knowledge of volunteers, some retired tradesmen who have since passed away.

The project also aims to provide opportunities to young and old, with older volunteers passing on trade, workshop and lifeskills to unskilled younger people.

The project’s second phase is to establish and operate a live historic village and heritage park in Kawerau. It will be a tourist attraction, a place to learn, and one that protects skills and heritage of times past. Other groups will be able to use the project to display their history and culture. The heritage park is to be named Waterwheel Heritage Park.

For event information, see: www.waterwheel.nz To volunteer, phone Stephanie on 0211054531.