Stepping back in time is an exciting venture in Bill Hone's Woolshed Museum at Kohi inland from Waverley.

Its wall-to-wall treasures that bring back the glory of forgotten years.

Antiques are cheek-by-jowl in old cabinets, on shelves, hanging on the walls, arranged in special groups or squeezed in no matter what because they are precious, old and beautiful.

Now in his 90th year Bill reckons his old museum may soon need a new curator.


"Well I'm getting on now and it needs fresh blood to take over.''

So far that "fresh blood'' hasn't come forward from his family but Bill's not giving up hope.

"Someone, one of the grandchildren might step up I hope."

Bill was a small boy when his father took him to the Whanganui Regional Museum. That trip had started his interest and passion in his own collection.

"Even though my brothers and I were always digging up things and we all had our own collections of this and that."

His collection grew so huge he moved the old woolshed from up the road to his home.

And his old home is special too surrounded by spectacular gardens, trees and lawns. It was formerly the manager's house for the Kohi Dairy Company, he said.

"We were lucky in the '50s when we heard about the sale because buying a rural house with land was very difficult to find in those days."


His old woolshed museum attracts visitors from all over the district, he said.

"Especially group tours from rest and retirement homes. We get a lot of bus tours out here.''

Among his many treasures is an extensive collection of seashells from beachcombing holidays. His prized shell is a paper nautilus and is one of the most '' valuable'', he said.

There is also the 1935 Kohi School clock, Bill's New Plymouth Boys' High School cap, as well as inherited family memorabilia including the carpet bag his grandfather William Hone brought to New Zealand in 1862.

And his grandfather's old kettle still sits on display on a coal range. There are dozens of early photographs from his family carefully placed around the building.

Inside the old museum you tread with care through rooms of extraordinary memorabilia covering everything from both World Wars to the Freemasons Foundation and their years in the area, to an array of old rifles, tools and machinery.

Some of the more quirky items are rows and rows of china egg cups, pottery figure toothbrush holders, tiny china dishes with ornate floral decorations, delicately embroidered doilies, table napkins and table cloths.

And old books from an ancient set of encyclopedias to popular children's annuals from back in the day.

Bill said his museum is his passion and he is always more than happy to show his treasures.

For a slice of entertainment he's even got a large set of scales where people used to drop a penny in the slot and check their weight, usually housed outside the local chemist shop.

Bill even has a dish brimming with old two cent coins beside the door and insists you take one and weigh in.

After signing the visitors' book as well Bill gives you a hearty handshake and wishes you well.

"Come again," he smiles.