Taradale museum anniversary idea

By Roger Moroney

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HERITAGE HOPES: Taradale man Deane Hadfield is hopeful the council will give his idea to turn the old borough building into a museum some serious consideration. PHOTOS/ DUNCAN BROWN
HERITAGE HOPES: Taradale man Deane Hadfield is hopeful the council will give his idea to turn the old borough building into a museum some serious consideration. PHOTOS/ DUNCAN BROWN

In just over five months time Taradale will celebrate its 130th anniversary, and local man Deane Hadfield is hoping an idea which came to him "like a bolt of lightning" may be a focal part of events.

He has long been fascinated by the colour and intrigue of Taradale's history and has also been an admirer of one of that district's shining examples of Art Deco architecture - the former Taradale Borough Council building in Lee St which was built in 1933.

It served as the suburb's heart of community programmes and processes up until 1968 when the last Mayor of Taradale, Arthur Miller, stepped aside and handed his chain of office over to Napier Mayor Peter Tait after the amalgamation of Taradale into Napier.

The chain still makes appearances though - it makes up part of the Napier Mayoral chain today.

Mr Hadfield, who is the curator of the acclaimed Gypsy Rose Tea Museum in Taradale, effectively put two and two together when he heard the council's community development division were seeking ideas and suggestions from people as to how best utilise the old building, which is only occasionally used by social groups.

"A bolt of lightning hit me," he said with a smile.

The building had plenty of history, just like the landscape around it.

"It would be the perfect place to create a Taradale Heritage Museum to showcase the history of the district," Mr Hadfield said.

"There are so many amazing documents and resources out there sitting in drawers - I've been putting the word out and have been approached by a lot of people who have offered resources and given me moral support for the idea."

He had also been encouraged by the backing of the Taradale and Districts Development Association and Taradale Rotary, and after setting up a Facebook page nearly a fortnight ago - Taradale Heritage Museum - has drawn about 600 followers. Mr Hadfield said in the wake of losing a couple of large retail stores Taradale needed a boost and he believed a heritage museum, with historical items, photos and rolling exhibitions, could provide that in terms of engaging locals as well as creating a potential tourism attraction.

It was something which would only require minor building works, for access and some interior upgrading of mainly the kitchen area as he foresaw the "museum" also featuring a place for people to sit and relax and have a cuppa.

There was also the potential, through its various rooms, to incorporate his tea museum.

"Lots of walls so lots of good space for pictures - it could be a great trip down memory lane."

With Taradale and the district having such a strong history encompassing early Maori, settlers, churches, horticulture, park developments and the burgeoning wine industry a heritage centre would also be a valuable educational asset for schools, Mr Hadfield said.

It's arrangement of rooms also meant it could still be used by social and community groups for meetings and events.

He is at present in the process of preparing his proposal which has to be placed with community development by June 24, and then submitted to council, and as part of that he is set to meet with Historic Places Hawke's Bay.

"It will be good to hear from the historical expertise people."

He said while the museum was centred around history the focal word was "heritage" as it was a blending of that past, of the present and of the aspirations of the district for its future.

"It is about what we have - it is about our treasure and our inheritance - to capture and to hear the stories."

As well as drumming up "moral support" through Facebook Mr Hadfield has also launched a petition for people to put their support behind the idea and it had currently drawn about 100 signatures.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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