Historical society turns 50

The collection of historic buildings at the Silverdale Pioneer Village reflects early days on the Hibiscus Coast and includes a Methodist Parsonage. The post office was lifted onto the site in 1999.

The Silverdale & Districts Historical Society, formed to preserve elements of the area’s past, is marking some history of its own this weekend.

It is 50 years since the first meeting of the then Wainui Historical Society was held –on June 5, 1968 – which lead to the establishment of the Silverdale Pioneer Village and Museum. The first president was Ted Spencer of Maori Hut Road, Orewa and Margaret Stevenson was the first secretary.

The group was formed “to obtain and preserve the past history of the districts from Dairy Flat to Waiwera, with particular attention to be given to Wainui, Silverdale, Orewa and Whangaparaoa”.
It’s a mandate that current president Murray Sampson says has proved even more important as growth accelerates in the area.

“The village provides a benchmark of progress and shows residents, as well as visitors, where we’ve come from,” Murray says. “It’s essential, for young people in particular, to see examples of what their parents and grandparents thought of as normal.”

The idea for a Pioneer Village was first mooted in the early 1970s and took shape as a range of local buildings were moved onto the site and restored by volunteers. These include the 1860s Methodist chapel, which is currently used for regular services by a Korean church. Other buildings include a bushman’s hut, which was discovered by the late Keith Carter (a founder member of the Society) on a farm near Albany. Even the garden shed  has a history – it was once the toilet for the infants at Wade School.

The organisation currently has more than 80 members and is run by a dedicated committee of eight.
Their 50th anniversary celebrations on Queens Birthday weekend, begin on Saturday, June 2 with morning tea at 10am at the Pioneer Village, followed by a formal opening at 11am by Hibiscus & Bays Local Board chair Julia Parfitt.

The Scottish Country Dance group will perform at 1.30pm.

On Sunday, June 3 there will be a spinning and wool carding demonstration at 10.30am and on Monday, June 4 the Hibiscus Coast Pipe Band will perform at 11am.

Other activities for the weekend include a treasure hunt for the children and Devonshire Teas.
Info: silverdalemuseum.org.nz

Silverdale Pioneer Village time trail
1968 Wainui Historical Society formed > 1969 Methodist Chapel sited > 1971 Pioneer Village Established > 1974 Methodist Parsonage sited > 1977 Schoolmaster’s House sited > 1978 Bushman’s Hut sited > 1980 Pioneer Village opened to public > 1981 Gazebo built > 1988 Frith Cottage sited > 1990 Neville House sited > 1990 Time Trail Established > 1990 Farmyard & Forge built > 1999 Post Office sited > 2000 Bayes building built > 2004 Sidwell lean-to built > 2005 Wainui Historical Society renamed Silverdale & Districts Historical Society > 2005 Upper Waiwera School sited > 2018 Old council/library building lease acquired