Stratford Press editor Ilona Hanne looks through the archives to see what was making the news 25 years ago, in February 1995.

Swimming instructors Rebecca Davidson (left) and Sheree Orchard teaching students to swim in 1995.
Swimming instructors Rebecca Davidson (left) and Sheree Orchard teaching students to swim in 1995.

There were record numbers of people wanting to learn to swim in Stratford in 1995, according to a Stratford Press article in February that year.

The then pool manager, Clive Wheeler, said about 300 children had joined the learn to swim programme run at the pool over the school holidays.

At the time, the pool had nine qualified instructors who had been kept busy with so many students.

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Pictured are two of the instructors, Rebecca Davidson and Sheree Orchard, teaching a class.

Left to right: Grant Schneller, Sandy Southcombe, Don Drabble and Mervyn Chong.
Left to right: Grant Schneller, Sandy Southcombe, Don Drabble and Mervyn Chong.

In 1995 a historically important building was moved from Eltham to the Tawhiti Museum.

The building was the only surviving building once owned by early settler Chew Chong and its relocation was thanks to Eltham man Don Drabble.

Don had spent years researching Chew Ching's early life, and in 1991 he discovered Chew Chong had owned an old butcher's shop on Bridge Street in Eltham.

The building was set to be demolished by the South Taranaki District Council, so Don Drabble began campaigning to save the building.

With the help of the Eltham Lions Club, the Eltham Community Board and the Eltham Historical Society, as well as public donations, Don was able to save the building from demolition.

$5000 towards the cost of relocating the building came from the dairy industry of New Zealand, in recognition of Chew Chong's pioneering work in the butter industry in the late 1800s.

The building was relocated to the Tawhiti Museum and became part of the dairy display already in existence at the museum.

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Pictured are Grant Schneller (president of the Eltham Lions Club), Sandy Southcombe, whose business Southcombles House Moving moved the building free of charge, Don and Mervyn Chong. Mervyn (91 at the time of the photo) was Chew Chong's eldest living grandson. He said he remembered his grandfather well and followed in his footsteps, working in dairy factories for 10 years then going on to work for 30 years as a butcher.

Mervyn shared many of his recollections of his grandfather with Don, who was also working on a book about Chew Chong and his role as one of the fathers of the dairy industry in New Zealand.

In 1995, Tania Lawson (left) and Warwick Sextus were head girl and boy of Stratford High School.
In 1995, Tania Lawson (left) and Warwick Sextus were head girl and boy of Stratford High School.

The head students at Stratford High School for the academic year of 1995 were Tania Lawson and Warwick Sextus.

Tania, from Eltham was studying English, Statistics, Geography, History and Accounting in her final year. Warwick, from Toko, was studying Chemistry, Calculus, Statistics, Biology and Physics.

The two students were the top two scorers in the sixth form exams the year beforehand.

Flt Sgt Diane Singers is pictured at the controls of a flight simulator, watched by Cdt Mark Sole and Wing Commander Roger Smith.
Flt Sgt Diane Singers is pictured at the controls of a flight simulator, watched by Cdt Mark Sole and Wing Commander Roger Smith.

In 1995, cadets of No 48 Squadron Air Training Corps received a visit from Wing Commander Roger Smith.

The Wing Commander was the commandant of the New Zealand Cadet Forces at the time and it was his first visit to the Stratford based squadron.

He told the 30 cadets there the Air Training Corps was the strongest of the cadet forces in New Zealand, with 50 units nationwide.