A much loved heritage site in Waikino is at ''crisis point'' and facing closure if they don't receive help they desperately require.

Society members of the Victoria Battery Tramway and Museum are in dire need for volunteers and new blood on their management team.

The society has just 14 financial members, with five people on the committee and six regular volunteers.

''We as a committee, we struggle to run the Victoria Battery,'' says secretary Robyn Stads.


''We are elderly. We are trying our best but we are failing despite our best efforts.

''The stark reality is we must have new active members to help with the work we must carry out to maintain and operate under the new regulations. We are at crisis point as to whether we keep going.''

Volunteers are required for general maintenance around the site. They require helpers, train drivers and tour guides. Training is given but it would be a plus to have volunteers with knowledge of the area, Robyn says. They need volunteers who are reliable and regular.

But the real need is within the society itself.

''They don't even need to help at the Battery as a volunteer. They just need to be on the committee of management, we need people who understand the rules and regulations we have to obey.''

Robyn says the heritage site is still popular and they have a good amount of visitors visiting the Victoria Battery process plant.

''We have had a huge number of school groups come through the museum who find it exceptionally strange that the process plant was set up before electricity was in common use in New Zealand.

''The train rides fascinate the young people and are a huge drawcard. The tunnel and kilns were opened up and restored by Department Of Conservation and mesmerise all that go through it with its dripping water, glow worms and cave wetas.''


From today, new hours take place. The site will be open on Saturday and Sunday from 10am-3pm. The site will no longer open on Wednesdays.

It has been 25 years since the Victoria Battery Tramway Society was formed.

The site has huge plant machinery that operated from 1897 to 1954. It was the largest quartz ore processing plant in Australasia and one of the biggest industrial sites in the country before becoming the largest producer of gold.

The Battery offers tours of the site which give insight into the days of hard rock processing and mining. Attractions include a 1.2km gauge tramway which takes visitors through the 6 acre site to see ruins and relics of cyanide tank foundations, tube mills, gas producer plant and other aspects of the processing plant. There are underground tunnels and kilns and a museum detailing the history of the site.
Ph 021 080 88043 or info@vbts.org.nz

It has been 25 years since the Victoria Battery Tramway Society Inc was formed.
The public, especially those with a connection to the society are invited to share memories and reminisce on August 18, 1pm at the Victoria Hall, Waikino for cake, nibbles and afternoon tea before the AGM at 1.30pm.