Part 1…Taranaki Pioneer Village..History at it best in this region…Here comes the judge!…And, the witness…

Tom stood on the witness stand in the old courthouse at the Taranaki Pioneer Village, a style that may be seen in more modern-day courthouses throughout the world. See the story and more photos below.
It’s been days since we walked in the neighborhood to visit our favorite cows, bulls, and sheep nor walked the muddy distance to the paddocks where the other alpacas are grazing or where Mont Blanc and his mom are located in hopes of improving his precarious health.


What a wonderful view of Mount Taranaki as we made our way out of town.

Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t bored or annoyed with the much-needed rain. Seeing the mountains, hills and grass grow greener each day only means more nutrition for the grazing animals and growth of fall seasonal vegetables on local farms.

This sign grabbed our attention while we traveled along Highway 3.

Speaking of the fall season, the clocks changed here overnight, “fall back” not  “spring forward” as recently occurred in the US and other parts of the world that observe Daylight Savings Time. 

The entrance to the Taranaki Pioneer Village.

Here in the South Pacific, it’s been awfully dark upon arising each morning. Now, we’ll be able to adapt to brighter mornings and earlier evening darkness. 

It’s still a bit odd to us, these time and entire day differences. In a mere 13 months, we’ll be on our way back to the US and everything will change. Luckily, sailing across the seas makes the transition less noticeable at a one hour change each night. 

It was interesting to read about the historical buildings.

To date, we’ve yet to experience any major “jet lag” after crossing many time zones on cruises and flights. In almost every case, we adjusted within 24 to 48 hours with only our waking times feeling a bit disrupted.

Continuing on with stories and photos of recent sightseeing, today we begin sharing photos from a visit to the Taranaki Pioneer Village. We stumbled upon this unplanned popular tourist location when we spotted a sign as we drove on the highway. 

Many of the antiques ranged over a 100 year period such as this doctor scale, table, and clock in the visitors center.

It was worth checking out the village, as Tom quickly whipped into the parking lot. With few cars in the lot we wondered if it was open, let alone curious as to what a pioneer village has to offer.

World War I nurse’s uniform located in the visitors center with a old scale to the left.

With the intent of preserving the history of New Zealand, the Taranaki Pioneer Village is an ideal sightseeing location for both adults and children. Following is a description from their website:

“Welcome to Taranaki Pioneer Village!

Open every day from 10 am to 4 pm at Stratford South in Central Taranaki. Open at other times by arrangement.

Phone 06 765 5399

Taranaki Pioneer Village on State Highway 3, just south of Stratford in Central Taranaki, offers 10 acres of Taranaki Heritage. Take a nostalgic stroll through yesteryear and experience an outdoor museum presenting the life of Taranaki pioneers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries – recall childhood memories and introduce ‘the good old days’ to the younger generation”

A major central Taranaki visitor attraction that appeals to all ages with modern amenities which contrast with a ‘stepping back in time’ experience as visitors enter village main street.”

Most buildings on the site were moved from other locations in the Taranaki Region to preserve them in one central location such as this building from the Opunake Railway Station, more railroad “stuff” to appeal to Tom.  This miniature train is used to transport visitors through the grounds. We preferred to walk on a beautiful day.

Upon entering the visitors center, we were warmly greeted by two staff members who seemed delighted to see us, a woman at the reception desk where we happily paid the senior entrance fee of NZ $10 per person, US $6.90 per person, and a man who was equally a wealth of information about the venue.

We entered this old courthouse. With no one in sight, we took advantage of a few photo ops as shown below.

We could have spent hours talking to them about New Zealand history but after a half-hour or so, we decided to move along to see what the Taranaki Pioneer Village had to offer and take photos while it was still bright and sunny.

During our entire several hour mid-week tour of the village, we never saw any other tourists. It was pleasant having the entire 10-acre site to ourselves. We imagine it would be busy over the weekends and holidays.

Tom teased me when I sat in the judge’s chair behind the big desk.

Over the next few days, we’ll be posting both exterior and interior photos of the interesting historical buildings we visited including businesses, a hospital, and a variety of homes. Also, we had a funny animal encounter for which we took a video we’ll soon post which may appeal to our “animal lovers” readers.

May your day bring you unexpected humor and laughter.

Photo from one year ago today, April 3, 2015:

This was the view as we began our daily walk in the neighborhood in Kauai over a four-month period. For more Kauai photos, please click here.

Part 3…Road trip…Many new photos on a perfect day!…A Kiwi railway and visit to yesteryear…

Kiwi Rail locomotive.

As we began to wrap up our visit to Eltham, NZ, we made a few last stops, one to check out the Kiwi Railway and another to enter the historic former bank which is now an interesting shop filled with items from another era.

The cars behind the locomotive are flat cars with containers ready to load.

Tom, having spent 42 years working for the railroad, is often curious about railways in our travels. No, he’s not obsessed with railroad memorabilia by any means, although he certainly enjoys a railroad TV show, Hell on Wheels, which he’s been watching weekly here in NZ. 

A sign on the railroad property.

However, his ears perk up when we pass a moving train, a railroad depot, or train yard. How could he not show interest after spending 42 years of his life in this line of work? On each such occasion, I’m happy to investigate with him, taking photos and stopping to read signs.

As we entered the antique shop in the old Eltham Bank building, we found a “living room” set up with each item for sale.

Visiting both of these venues proves appealing to both of us when we easily revel in each other’s interests. As we entered the former bank’s antique shop, he was particularly interested in their myriad items when so many brought back memories of his childhood. 

This fox (or another animal) neck wrap brought back memories for both of us.

For me, growing up in California, I was only able to connect with a few items when my exposure growing up in California was more about modern conveniences with few antiques. As a kid, we had a washer, dryer, dishwasher, swimming pool, and color TV as soon as they become available. Plus, living in a warm climate made life a lot easier.

Prices aren’t as high as in other such shops we’ve visited in our travels. 

Tom, growing up in frigid Minnesota from a large family, experienced an entirely different upbringing. As a result, his memory of many of the items in the antique shop held more significance to him.

Second-hand furs and dressy dresses are offered for sale. You can see me taking the photo in the mirror above the chest of drawers. I hadn’t noticed that until now as I prepared the caption.

Certain items did trigger some memories for each of us, such as the taxidermy fur neck wrap worn by our long since passed away elderly family members, the type with the head of the fox or other animal at one end, the tail at the other. 

Every table and surface is covered with items for sale.

We cringed at the concept of fur neck wraps, but our hearts were warmed by the memories of those family members; the smell of their perfume, the warmth of their demeanor, of a time, long since past.

Beads are hanging from this taxidermy deer.

We wonder what it will be like in the next 50 years or so when our grandchildren peruse items we wore and used in our lives, perhaps laughing over the peculiar styles and technology. 

A spiral staircase leads to a second level. The owner of the shop was on her phone the entire time we were in the store. We took photos and left without talking to her.

Many people thrive on memorabilia and antiques. Tom has always expressed a certain interest while I’ve always been more fascinated with technology. For us, it’s a good mix and we easily embrace opportunities to visit venues with detailed information and access to one another’s particular interests. 

Most likely, this is the original bank vault.

Overall, in our travels, we’ve observed a greater emphasis on the “old” than on the “new” with endless historic sites prevalent in most cultures. We’ve yet to encounter anything that remotely compares to the International Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas each year or any such technology show of any type.

Back on the street, we found this antique tractor.

In any case, I’ve found myself with a degree of interest in many antiques, historical sites, and venues, especially when I have the opportunity to take photos which in itself greatly enhances the experience in many ways.

Today with bad weather, we’ll most likely stay “home.” It’s raining, windy and dreary. At the moment, the fog is so dense we can’t see the alpacas in a nearby paddock. 

We hope you have a pleasant day with a ray of sunshine on your face.

Photo from one year ago today, April 2, 2015:

This sunset photo we took one year ago in Kauai made us squeal with delight! How magical! Click here for more such photos.

Part 2…Road trip…Many new photos on a perfect day!…Historical buildings…

The name of this quaint building in Eltham, NZ wasn’t posted.  It may be a private residence.

After our visit to the Fonterra Cheese Factory in Eltham, New Zealand, we drove through the side streets finding one historical building after another. 

We assumed this structure located across the street from the Fonterra Cheese retail store was the cheese manufacturing plant.

At several points, we parked the car to walk along the streets to peer into windows of the old buildings and further investigate their origins as we took photos, many of which required I cross to the other side of the street to get a better shot.

The 1897 Eltham Argus building.

We were in awe of the quaint personality of the small town with a population (as of the last census in 2006) of under 2000 residents as stated below in this quote from Wikipedia:

“Eltham is a small inland town in South Taranaki, New Zealand, located 50 kilometres (31 mi) south of the city of New Plymouth and southeast of the volcanic cone of Mount Taranaki/Egmont. Stratford is 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) north, Kaponga 13 km west, and Hawera is 19 km (12 mi) south. State Highway 3 runs through the town. 

There’s our little rental car parked in front of the former Eltham Bank (with Tom on the left), now converted to a unique antique shop. Photos will follow tomorrow with some interesting antique items we spotted in this location.

Eltham is South Taranaki’s second largest town. Population was 1980 in the 2006 Census, a decrease of 120 from 2001.

The former Post and Telegraph Office is for sale.

Eltham is known as the cradle of the Taranaki dairy industry (the co-operative system in particular), and for being the one place in New Zealand that manufactured rennet which is important in cheese making. It was also the first place to export butter to England.

An old phone booth with a sign stating it was one cent to make a call. The windows were too old and cloudy to take a photo of the interior.

Settlement began in Eltham in the 1870s with blocks of densely forested land being taken up mainly to the north of Mountain Road. A profusion of sawmilling companies cleared the district which when grassed was found to be ideal for dairy farming.

The 1914 Wilkinson’s Buildings includes a variety of shops, restaurants, and offices.

In 1884, the year Eltham was declared a town district, settlers, mainly from England, arrived there and the town had a population of 25. Eltham was declared a borough in 1901, and became part of South Taranaki District with the local body amalgamations of 1989.”

We’d have gone inside to see the interior of the Eltham District Historical Society but they were closed for lunch.

Unquestionably, discovering that Eltham is the second largest town in South Taranaki left us smiling. We love small towns and felt at ease as we wandered the streets, people warmly greeting us, although it was obvious we were outsiders. That’s the nature of the people of New Zealand.

Tom couldn’t help but notice this street rod (circa, the 1930s) traveling on the quiet street.

Interspersed among many of the old buildings are a few newer esthetically appealing buildings where businesses and manufacturing are comingled in an entirely natural manner. Whether it was an antique shop, a beauty salon, a post office, or a train yard, it all blends well into a fine mix of old and new.

A dairy store, supermarket and chemist, and others are available for the needs of the local residents with little influence geared toward tourists, although we spotted a few quaint hotels as shown in this photo below.

The still-operational Coronation Hotel was built in 1902.  For more information on historic properties in Eltham, please click here.

It always amazes us how much we enjoy these types of excursions, exploring places we’ve never been as we attempt to imagine the lives of the people who live in such a small town such as Eltham.

This is 1911, ESI Energy Services International Building, most likely the electric company.

And today, on April Fool’s Day, with the local news on the TV in the background, Tom can’t stop laughing over the good humor on the broadcast, much of which wouldn’t be considered as “politically correct” in some countries including the US. 

This is the newer post office built to fit well with the older buildings.

Although Kiwis are respectful under all circumstances in regards to racial and physical differences, they certainly have the ability to find humor in many other topics that freely elicit laughter. 

Painting on side of the building in Eltham, NZ.

With little crime in New Zealand, ranked as the fourth safest country in the world, everywhere we visit we feel comfortable and at ease. Add the element of its kind and generous people, Eltham was certainly no exception.  It was truly a great experience.

Wherever you live or visit, may today bring you pleasant experiences with the people in your town.

Photo from one year ago today, April 1, 2015:

A downed tree on Anina Beach in Kauai. Children were playing off to the right as we lounged in our Costco beach chairs. For more details, please click here.