Cnr Kent Rd & SH3, New Plymouth A little cracker of a museum. I happened across the museum while on my way somewhere else - and stayed for three hours! As it was a public holiday some other groups were also in residence (I particularly noticed the New Plymouth vintage motorcycle club), but the museum exhibits were more than enough to make the stop worthwhile.
The museum is located a small distance outside of New Plymouth, and consists of eight large buildings containing a variety of exhibits. As its name suggests, these included farm, steam, communications, and various trade equipment, vehicles, education and household material, and of course aviation related items. The exhibits are well laid out, and give an interesting picture of technology used over the past century (and more). I was impressed, particular given the museum is mostly a volunteer effort. Exhibits which stood out for me were the school dental clinic (ouch!), the various old computers, the aviation communications equipment, and the aviation displays (of course).
The aviation exhibit is built around Harvard NZ1089 (Inst177) and the remains of Airspeed Oxford NZ277 which were recovered from a wartime crash site in the Poukai ranges. The museum also holds material from 1930's New Plymouth aviation enthusiast E.R. Brewster, a Link trainer, and various items accumulated in the way a museum does. The vehicle collection includes an airport crash tender. A number of the exhibits are illustrated below, along with more detail on their history.
I had a very interesting chat with the head of the aviation section - Neil Collins. He had been an instructor at Ashburton, and had flown Harvard NZ1089 from Taieri. His story of how the aircraft was purchased from the Government stores board for $100 and trucked to New Plymouth was quite fascinating. Unfortunately there aren't anymore at that price!
The museum is open from 10.30am to 4.30pm Sundays and most Public Holidays (Check with the New Plymouth PRO (+64)(06) 759 6080). There is a small admission charge. One day to keep in mind is Taranaki Anniversary day (in March), when the Museum holds a 'Field day' with machinery operating, rides and other attractions.
Taranaki Aviation Transport And Technology Museum,
Phone (+64)(06) 752 2845
© 1997-98 Phillip Treweek, all rights reserved