Having run for just short of a half-century, the Eltham Districts and Historical Society is almost a piece of Eltham history itself.

For 47 years, the group has been preserving historic items for future generations.

The group is made up of volunteers who preserve photos, documents, articles and undertake research for individuals looking into their family tree and businesses wanting to know abut the buildings they inhabit and their history.

The group's secretary Maureen Drylie joined in 1995.

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"I joined the group after going to see a display about Women's Suffrage which the Society had set up. I have always been interested in local history. We are not a museum, more of a research centre."

Maureen says the group has been given lots of interesting things, such as a diary record by Sister Gavigan, a well-known mid-wife in Eltham in the 1920s-40s containing the names of all the babies she delivered, given by the Sulzberger family.

"The group also has photographer Nigel Connel's glass negatives from the early 1900s and one of his old cameras."

Maureen says the group receives a lot of positive feedback on the Eltham & Districts Historical Society Inc (NZ) Facebook page.

"Our volunteers are currently working to digitise all our photos and catalogue these items with a programme called 'past perfect."

While there is no charge for the service, there is a cost to the group to preserve items they have been given.

The group applies for funding each year and receives guidance from Puke Ariki and Te Papa on preserving items.

■ Visit their Facebook page or the South Taranaki i-Site. The vault is open Thursdays and Fridays 1pm-3.30pm and at other times by appointment.