The Foxton Historical Society is confident it can save the old court house and retain it as the home for its archives it has used since 1978.

In anticipation it is getting ready for a rejuvenation, even a rebirth.

Chairman Te Kenehi Teira said Horowhenua District Council is encouraging the society to put forward a proposal to take over the building, which will need plenty of work done to it, including at least $100,00 worth of earthquake strengthening.

"In the next few weeks we will be holding workshops to put together a development plan that will show how we plan to bring to life the court house to tell the stories of Foxton," he said.


Sixteen people turned out for the society's special general meeting in the Masonic Village Hall on Thursday night and all brought great ideas. They elected an interim committee, which will also function as the steering group that will talk to council about what steps to take next. They also formally appointed Tony Hunt as the patron of the society.

The society will be holding a membership drive in the next few weeks. Due to the fact the court house has been closed, the society has lost momentum, exposure and members in the last few years and is in need of a big revival. Expect to see them around town with clipboards and pens.

Membership is free and they would like as many people as possible to sign up to show support for their work and their efforts to save the old court house for the community.

The society pledged to work together with other organisations in town to help build momentum for all.

"In times of need people come together and help one another," said Te Kenehi Teira. "We've seen that with the Ihakara Gardens and the Foxton Beautification Society in the past. It is the Foxton way.

"There are significant stories here in Foxton that need telling," he said. "The historical society gave birth to the Flax Stripper Museum, The Little Theatre is the oldest building in town and there is the Anglican Church, and Duncan House as well as a few houses on Robinson St, to name a few.

"We also need to do some research on the old court house in terms of its architecture and its uses over the years."

In a previous meeting some of the ideas brought forward included arranging re-enactment dinners and doing mock trials as the original furnishing of the court room are still in place.


First order of business is the development plan. Input from other is needed for this and anyone interested is welcoming to join the workshop. Expert help is also on offer from Heritage NZ as well as Te Papa.

"Heritage New Zealand can send us their best seismic engineer to assess the current costs of seismic work," said Te Kenehi Teira.

On March 30 there will be a workshop in Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom, starting at 10.30am, about the development plan. On April 10 an ordinary meeting will be held there at 7pm. The team plan to have a presence at the Easter Fair to garner interest and sign up members.

The Foxton Historical Society will hold its AGM on April 24. It is an incorporated society with a constitution, which may need updating, as it was set up 40 years ago.

Until the responsibility of entering the building can be shifted to a new owner, no one is allowed into the building. Council is still doing its due diligence investigations on the building and is looking for expressions of interest in buying it.

In October last year the council resolved to dispose of the building. The historical society's lease on the building will not be renewed.

Plans for complete seismic strengthening, retention of heritage and character will play an important part in that sales process.

If you would like to join the Foxton Historical Society, phone Jenny Lundie on 027 6000475.