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Fun day out of ‘Farming Like Grandad’

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Farming the way it was will be recreated during the ‘Farming Like Grandad’ fun day out near Kawerau on Sunday, January 29.

Staged by the Waterwheel Historic Trust, the event will feature Clydesdale horses ploughing and mowing pastures, vintage farm machinery from tractors to milking machines, hands-on fun and games for kids of all ages, wagon rides and an animal corner.

It’s not all about the big machinery though. There will also be a chance to use a vintage Singer Sewing Machine, and to learn to hand-knit too in the traditional crafts area.

To add to the atmosphere, those attending are encouraged to dress in vintage style to be in to win a prize. Food stalls are available and the public is invited to bring a picnic for a great fun family day out for all ages. All proceeds will go to the Waterwheel Building Fund.

Gates open from 10am-3pm on State Highway 30 Kawerua, opposite Military Rd, where entry is $5 for adults and no charge for children.

The Waterwheel project began in 1990 by people in the Eastern Bay of Plenty region keen to preserve a vanishing history – the industrial archaeology of New Zealand.

For 18 years, volunteers have saved or restored donated machinery, vehicles and equipment in excess of $2 million assets worth, several to working order. Daily diaries reflect this endeavour and protect the knowledge of volunteers, some retired tradesmen who have since passed away.

The project had a second aim, to provide opportunities to young and old referred to The Waterwheel by courts, WINZ, Blue Light and other programmes. The older volunteers are able to pass on trade, workshop and lifeskills to unskilled younger people, in many instances providing confidence and direction. So far 90 per cent of them have gone on to paid employment.

In 2006, the community company became a charitable trust, The Waterwheel Historic Trust.

The project is now in its second phase. The trust is to establish and operate a live historic village and heritage park, in Kawerau, 26km west of Whakatane on the east coast of New Zealand. It will be a tourist attraction, a place to learn and a place that protects the skills and heritage of times past. Other groups will be able to use the project to display their history and culture. The heritage park is to be named Waterwheel Heritage Park.

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