Stories about some of Te Awamutu's heritage commercial buildings will be on display at the Te Awamutu Library next week.

A group from the New Zealand Society of Genealogists Te Awamutu branch have been working on the project Building Social History — The Story Behind Te Awamutu's Commercial Buildings for three years, have researched 26 buildings and held displays in 2017 and 2018.

This year's display focuses on the Empire Theatre, Redoubt Chambers, Ahier's Building, Coronation Building, Dominion Motors (Beurepaires), Hutson's Buildings, Lims Building and the Newton King Building and the display will be showcased in the libraries community room on Friday from 10am to 4pm and on Saturday from 10am to 12.30pm.

The displays are free and information sheets covering each of the buildings featured in the past displays will also be available.

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Convenor of the New Zealand Society of Genealogists Te Awamutu branch and member of the projects research team, Sandra Metcalfe said the project was started after hearing about a similar initiative in Dargaville.

"We thought we could do something similar in Te Awamutu, initially starting with named buildings. We then started to appreciate just how closely the buildings were connected to the growth of the town and why Te Awamutu developed the way it did," Sandra said.

The group collects information from Council archives, Te Awamutu and Waikato museums, digitised newspapers and by talking to people with first-hand knowledge about the buildings.

Sandra says that some of this year's buildings have been relatively easy to research, while some have been challenging, such as the 1937 Newton King Building on Arawata and George streets and the Ahier's Building on Arawata Street , which the group is seeking any public help to add to their knowledge.

Information is wanted about who built Hutson's Buildings and which part was occupied by Huston Stores. Photo / Dean Taylor
Information is wanted about who built Hutson's Buildings and which part was occupied by Huston Stores. Photo / Dean Taylor

Other information being sought by the group includes the builders of the Coronation and Hutson's Buildings in Alexandra Street and the builder of the Redoubt Chambers on the corner of Walton and Roche Streets.

They are also interested in finding out which of the shops in the Hutson's Buildings, on the corner of Alexandra and Churchill Streets, was occupied by Hutson Stores.

For those who are interested in family history, the New Zealand Society of Genealogists Te Awamutu branch holds its meetings on the first Tuesday in the month, 7.30pm at the St John Ambulance Hall in Palmer Street.

The group also holds DNA support group meetings three times a year and these will recommence in February 2020.

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