Dargaville locals pitch in, to ‘step’ the twin masts of the Rainbow Warrior in 1986 — the crane truck pictured is still operational today

A birthday to remember

by Andy Bryenton

Dargaville’s Museum — Te Whare Taonga o Tunatahi, turns 34 years old next week, and they have planned a party for the entire town on October 20.

Opened in 1985, thanks to the collaborative efforts of many locals dedicated to preserving our local history, the museum’s collection has grown during the years to encompass aspects of pre-European settlement Maori history, artefacts and stories of the pioneering settlers, the gumdiggers, the kauri foresters, and our maritime past. All of these aspects are especially pertinent in this, the 250th year since Captain Cook’s voyage of discovery.

This week, founding committee member Ron Halliday was busy putting finishing touches on the gardens of the ‘gum diggers camp’, and outdoor display of family life during the kauri gum rush of the 1800s. He emphasised the importance of preserving our history, to learn from the past. “There are so many stories from around here that would be lost otherwise.” He also recalls moving the Aratapu Library building, now part of the museum, into place, and completing the restoration work with his family and friends, as well as ‘stepping’ the masts of the Rainbow Warrior at the museum in 1986.

The museum’s birthday bash will take place on Sunday, October 20, is suitable for the whole family, and is completely free of charge. Museum director, Maree Saunders, the curatorial staff and all of the Dargaville Museum ‘family’ invite the community to come and celebrate with them.