by Helen Martin
Ka mua, ka muri. Our past is our future.
Delayed by Covid restrictions, the Helensville and District Historical Society held its AGM in October. The meeting was well attended, and the atmosphere of positivity was
testament to the huge commitment and hard work put in over the past year. Volunteers and committee members have contributed their time and expertise alongside President Leigh Bosch, Vice President Robyn Donald and committee member Toni Walmsley, who have spent hundreds of unpaid hours working to restore the Museum’s buildings, archives and artefacts after the discovery last year that the collection was endangered by borer and other pests, and that the four heritage buildings were in urgent need of repair.
Leigh spoke of the significance of re-establishing contact with founding member Colleen Thompson (previously Trotter) and read out a letter from Colleen explaining her inspiration for establishing some sort of group to save local artefacts and stories, and from that the Helensville and District Society was born in 1968, with the purpose of preserving and promoting South Kaipara’s history and heritage. Colleen wrote of how the impetus to do this came after she was given six handmade nails from Cob Cottage, a historic building restored by voluntary firefighters. As Leigh explained, the nails are a taonga and a reminder of what the Museum is about. They remain a treasured part of the collection.
As supervisor of building repair Robyn gave an account of work done so far, much of which she has done herself, which involves making the buildings sound, pest proof and temperature controlled. Toni Walmsley reported on her contribution to re-establishing the accessions, archives and research rooms and assisting with the annex storage area. The Accessions Room, for example, previously inaccessible and little used, has been set up to receive archival materials that have been frozen and require processing. The new Past Perfect Software programme will enable much more efficient operation of Museum business, including recording photos, artefacts and memberships and composing and sending newsletters. Jennifer McCann’s account of the fundraising efforts of her sub-committee generated useful discussion on financial issues.
Election of officers and committee
Leigh Bosch, President; Robyn Donald, Vice President; Toni Walmsley, Minutes Secretary. Committee: Kerri Herring, Jean Davidson, Ron Harland, Margaret Kawharu, Mary Stevens.
Life membership, Wynne HaySmith
Retiring committee member Wynne HaySmith, who has been on the committee since its inception and has held the positions of President and Treasurer, was conferred Life Membership in recognition of her many years of involvement with the Museum. In her paid work, Wynne’s career was largely as a teacher. She was also a writer, including for the NZ Herald and the Rodney Times. She was a tireless volunteer. Her Museum work included the ongoing tasks of reorganising the archives and contributing to publication of two important histories of the area, Colleen Sheffield’s ‘Men Came Voyaging’ and the Historical Society’s ‘Pioneering Women of South Kaipara’.
In addition to working hard for the Museum, Wynne’s formidable contribution to her community has included practical involvement with Mâori Women’s Welfare League, Meals on Wheels, Rangers, Playcentre, Plunket, St Andrews Church, PPTA, Save the Hospital, Parakai Primary School and the Helensville A&P Show. Outside Helensville Wynne has done voluntary work for Waipu Museum, Orewa SeniorNet and the Association
of Presbyterian Women.
Wynne is greatly valued for her 52 years’ untiring participation on the HDHS.Her fearless determination to get things done, her logical approach to problems and her unrivalled local historical knowledge will be greatly missed. Tena rawa atu koe.