A historic Wellington tram that has spent more than half a century in storage in Auckland has a new home in Kāpiti.
Fiducia tram 244 used to operate through various Wellington streets from when it was built in 1939 until the tramway system closed in 1964.
The closure led Wellington City Council to donate six redundant trams to the Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) including tram 244, which was one of three Fiducias sent to the museum.
After a recent review of their collection, MOTAT made the decision to declare tram 244 surplus to their needs and offered it to the Wellington Tramway Museum, which is located in Queen Elizabeth Park, Paekākāriki, north of Wellington.
Wellington Tramway Museum president Steve Porter said it was "very exciting" to have tram 244 back in the Wellington region after it had spent so many years in Auckland.
A decision will be made in the future about whether tram 244 will be restored or some of its parts used for other tram restorations.
In the meantime, it's sitting in a large storage building alongside two other trams of its era, in the same state of disrepair, each of which could be next in line for an overhaul.
If a decision is made for a full restoration, one thing is guaranteed, and that is it will be done with attention to detail, to a high standard, and take a number of years thanks to dedicated museum members who have a wide-ranging skillset from carpentry to mechanical and electrical expertise.
"When you're in this game of saving, preserving, restoring and operating trams, you have to decide which are the important ones - which one tells the good story," Porter said.
"What we're also trying to do, as a committee, is not close doors to possibilities.
"Simply storing tram 244 in good dry conditions is a hell of lot better than it going to scrap.
"I can't tell you a story that is full of happiness and future prospects because that wouldn't be right. But acquiring tram 244 gives you potential."
And tram 244 had some good things going for it.
"While the bodywork looks awful, it is fundamentally in very good condition.
"It also dates back to the Art Deco period so it has got all sort of features from that time including the lighting."
Tram 244 was one of three, in the last year of trams, that had a Shell logo placed on it.
"Shell approached the council and said they would like to do a promotion.
"It was a big promotion, and lasted about six months, where they were trying to convince motorists that they were adding something to their petrol which made motors run better."
Porter said the Fiducia style of tram started after the Great Depression in the 1930s when the Government told councils to smarten up their transport networks and get people back to work.
"Wellington was already producing new trams but they took the chassis, which was going to be the last of a group they were building, and modernised it.
"They basically built a prototype tram (1932).
"It was built as a single saloon tram, and they put in air-operated doors and steps, you could get on in the rear or front of the tram, as well as a number of features that weren't on any previous trams in New Zealand.
"One of the main features was the dead-man control which meant if the driver became incapacitated or failed to pay attention to what he was doing, the tram would automatically go from being in the powered condition to being powered off and it would also apply the brakes.
"An incredibly clever safety feature."
Porter said the person who designed the tram sandblasted the word Fiducia on to the tram which, in Latin, meant trustworthy.
"When the council was impressed [with the prototype] and ordered more, they then had to decide what class it would be called.
"Because of the sandblasted name, that's what it became called."
Wellington Tramway Museum operates tram rides for the public during weekends.