A piece of Kerikeri firefighting history has been restored to its original glory for display at the town's fire station.
A wooden ladder from the brigade's first fire truck was rediscovered recently after being sold decades ago, then languished in a firefighter's garage for the past 20 years.
Eventually the volunteers at Kerikeri Men's Shed — a group of mostly retired men who meet regularly to work on a range of practical tasks — got wind of the relic and decided to take it on as a restoration project.
Men's Shed member Ken Edwards said it looked like it had been used as a painting ladder and had very little of the original paintwork left.
He removed the metalwork, sanded everything back, and applied undercoat and three layers of topcoat. He returned the wood to its original red with gold lettering for the maker's name, JC Pelham and Sons of Auckland, and finally replaced the ropes.
Kerikeri fire chief Les Wasson said the ladder would be displayed on the wall of the station's appliance bay.
''It's a bit of an heirloom. It's history,'' he said.
It's not clear how old the ladder is. It came with the brigade's first fire engine in the mid-1950s and can be seen in a photo displayed inside the station dated 1957.
However, it's likely that the fire engine was far from new even then.
Wade Rowsell was among the Men's Shed members taking part in Monday night's handover.
''Part of our kaupapa is to give back to the Mid North community we live in, so we saw this as a wonderful opportunity,'' he said.
Other recent projects included flat-pack rat traps for Project Island Song and a pātaka kai (community pantry) in memory of the late Nalinee Giri of Kerikeri.