A newly-formed trust in Palmerston has ticked off the first task on its burgeoning list – recording first-hand accounts of the district’s history.
Wellington-based oral historian Robert Webb has conducted 13 interviews with well-known Palmerston and Waihemo identities in an oral history project organised by the Puketapu Community Trust.
Trust chairman Taranaki Smith said the digitised and edited versions would be made available through the Waitaki district libraries and would probably be archived in Wellington.
The interviewees, who were mainly in their 70s and 80s, provided valuable first-hand accounts of the district’s history, Mr Smith said.
“It’s important to continue this work as the older generation get nearer to the end of their lives, and while they are still able to relate their experiences and the events and dates of significant happenings in the district,” he said.
“When people come to Palmerston and they want to find out about their ancestor who came from here, they will be able to listen to these various identities.
“We’ve got a bit of a pause at the moment while we gather our wits, but I’m sure there will be more.”
The Puketapu Community Trust was set up in August last year.
“We are now set up as a purely charitable organisation that exempts us from some obligations and obliges us to others,” Mr Smith said.
“If we look around the town and see the way it is deteriorating, there is a certain inertia.
“We don’t want to turn it into a metropolis but if we don’t do anything it will go the other way.”
The group’s eight members meet every six weeks, but were encouraged to come up with ideas and initiatives between meetings, he said.
radar were improving tracks in the area, preserving and restoring historic buildings, improving mobile phone coverage and setting up an electric vehicle charging station.
“You never know which ones are going to advance and which one is going to get stalled, so we’ve got our options open,” Mr Smith said.