Carmen is a social issues and rural reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Historic wagon could become TEL cycleway attraction

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Paengaroa Community Association treasurer Cindy Hill -Rennie and wagon project leader John Fowler with the newly restored wagon. PHOTO/JOHN BORREN
Paengaroa Community Association treasurer Cindy Hill -Rennie and wagon project leader John Fowler with the newly restored wagon. PHOTO/JOHN BORREN

Wheels are in motion to secure funding to shelter a historic wagon that has been restored by a band of volunteers in Paengaroa.

Paengaroa Community Association treasurer Cindy Hill-Rennie said the project showcased the region's heritage and the organisation hoped it would become an interactive, visitor attraction in the future.

The association believed the wagon dated back to the 1800s and was used to haul logs, corn, flax and cans of milk and cream on Old Coach Road.

Comvita gifted the wagon to a group after it purchased the Coachman Tavern that included three acres for its entire manufacturing operation in 1996.

The restored wagon was back on site temporarily and plans were afoot to place it at the end of the cycleway depending on council consent.

The shelter would encompass a "stylish-type of carport" to protect it from the sun and rain, Mrs Hill-Rennie said.

She also paid credit to the volunteers who toiled on the project in their own time.

"The purpose of the wagon was to put something nice in the community that everyone can be proud of. It's part of our history."

"It has been restored as best we could, the steel wheels have been replaced with wooden ones and we have also added a seat."

About $8,000 was needed for the shelter and the association would apply for funding through the First Sovereign Trust but hoped people might lend a hand or donate money.

"Ideally we need a builder who could come up with some plans."

Project leader John Fowler said they roped in volunteers at different times and shared skills to revamp the wagon.

"We had one retired builder, one handyman and one engineer but we worked it out. It became quite a social thing in the weekend and we'd usually have a beer afterwards."

The wagon was moved to his shed in 2011 and work started in 2014 with the end result surprising everyone involved, he said.

"It impressed us how it turned out, it was like 'wow' it's great."

Comvita co-founder Alan Bougen said it was delighted the wagon had been restored.

"The association took it over a few years ago and they have done a wonderful job. They want to put it at the end of the cycleway and that is music to our ears, we think it's a fantastic idea."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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