The BOIVR trustees are pleased that, due to their ongoing dedication, efforts and commitment, they are able to invite the communities of the Bay of Islands, and, indeed the whole of Northland, to help celebrate 150 years since the first railway line was opened in the North Island of New Zealand.
This was, of course, due to coal being discovered in Kawakawa in 1864. The township then relocated from Taumarere to Kawakawa to mine the coal. But the next problem was to get the coal to the ships at Opua. Hence the first bit of rail from Kawakawa to Derrick Landing, at Taumarere, was built in 1868.
In the course of this celebration we acknowledge and say thanks to the following, without whose efforts we would not be where we are today with the threatened closure in the early 1980s by NZ Rail: the Bay of Islands Preservation Society, the Opua-Kawakawa Railway Preservation Society, the Taumarere 120 Year Trust, the former Bay of Islands County Council, which purchased the railway line and infrastructure from Kawakawa to Opua, and of course our many funders, like the NZ Rail Heritage Trust, the NZ Lotteries Foundation, Pub Charity and many others, and our greatly appreciated sponsor Wallie Titchener, from Auckland.
And we owe a huge debt of gratitude to my fellow trustees past and present, and the wonderful army of volunteers who are the lifeblood for the railway.
Thank you, one and all. It is due to your efforts and commitment that we are able to celebrate 150 years of rail in the North Island.
Yes, we would like to have completed the journey back to Opua by now, and to have our flagship 1924 steam engine Gabriel as part of the celebration, but it is not to be for now.
So welcome all.
The BOIVRT would like you to be part of the celebrations to be held over the weekend of October 26-28. Have you got a story to tell, or a special memory to share? We would love to hear it.