NZ Fieldays honour their heritage

NZ-fieldaysFieldays heritage co-ordinator Alan Reilly says the opening of the heritage building during Fieldays will help share stories of New Zealand’s farming history with the community. Source: Stuff NZ

History will be respected at Fieldays with an increased focus on the Ag Heritage Village.

Visitors can experience farming life as it was for pioneering families at the village during the Fieldays event from June 15-18.

The village’s focus is about educating youth about their agricultural heritage, said Fieldays heritage co-ordinator Alan Reilly, who is putting together the pieces of the past for younger generations.

“The land that we live, work and farm on holds the stories of our history, and it’s these stories that shape who we are today, whether we realise it or not,” he said.

“Opening our heritage buildings during Fieldays will help us to share some of these stories with our community.”

Mr Reilly wants to tell the stories in a way that will educate and encourage children to take a closer look at everyday items and think more about their history.

This year the vintage tractor parade has had a revamp with tractors from the Waikato Village Tractor and Machinery Club joining forces during the event.

Vintage tractors will park around the Heritage Village Lake and complete the parade twice daily at 10am and 2pm.

To help preserve the items for future generations, they are now stored in re-purposed display cases.

The next project is to create a space where people can record and share their own stories about artefacts on display, eventually integrating the stories into the education experiences on offer.

“The collection housed in The Barn has been moved and stored and new viewable collection stores have been created,” said Society chief executive Peter Nation. “It is all being cleaned, displayed, refined and catalogued.

“We have a huge amount of Waikato’s rural history here on site and we’re thrilled to be able to dedicate such a great space to such a great endeavour.”

The society had revitalised its education programs over the past year, with more than 10,000 school children coming through the village, learning about their heritage, he said.

“By refurbishing and opening The Barn, this gives us another excellent space to develop the next generation by utilising the gifts of previous generations.”

The Heritage Village at Mystery Creek grew out of Waikato’s historical buildings that no longer had a purpose, he said.

The Bledisloe, which was formerly the Hamilton Winter Show Building, was bought for NZ$1 from Hamilton City Council in the 1970s and housed the Clydesdale Museum collection of heavy horse-drawn farming equipment from Matamata.

Queen Elizabeth visited the site while on a royal tour in 1977 and with more than 100,000 people visiting in its opening year, the Clydesdale Museum was a popular attraction.

Added to the Heritage Village was the old Ngatea Church, Kihikihi Jail, Whitehall School and Waikato Hospital which was transported on the site.

A replica garage, blacksmith’s forge and fire station was built and the National Dairy Museum opened in 1979. By 1991 the emphasis had shifted to education, families and school groups under the banner of the Agricultural Heritage Museum.