Jim Wintle says work on the pioneer village is falling into place thanks to help from the community.
Work to create a historic pioneer village next to the Mangawhai Museum is well underway and it is set to open later this year.
The site is part of the Mangawhai Community Park and will eventually include five historic buildings, which are being trucked in from around Mangawhai.
Mangawhai Community Park committee chair Jim Wintle says his goal was to save the buildings from falling into disrepair by making them part of the community again.
“If they are owned by individuals they tend to get neglected over time, because they aren’t in regular use,” Mr Wintle says. “As long as they are living buildings, they won’t be lost.”
A 122-year-old old church building was relocated to the site last year.
The next building to be moved will be the former Tara Road School, which closed in 1968 and has been restored by local residents Ken and Gayle Brown, followed by the old Mangawhai Post Office and telephone exchange, the old Te Arai Library and a 1920s farm cottage.
“It’s going to make this area a hub of activity.”
The Mangawhai Pioneer Village Trust recently formed to manage the site and it is looking at ways to raise money for ongoing maintenance of the buildings.
“We want it to be self-sustaining.”
The future use of the buildings is still being debated. The old school building could be used to give students a historic experience, while others could be used as a movie theatre and a wedding venue. The monthly Mangawhai markets will also be moved from the domain to the site.
“The buildings will be a great resource to teach people about local history, but we are open to ideas. I want to step back and let things evolve.”
Kaipara District Council has approved a $100,000 annual capital budget for the Community Park, which is funded by development contributions, but the majority of the work is completed by volunteers.
Council also recently approved a master plan for the Pioneer Village, which includes space for further buildings to be relocated.