Father’s Day at The Kauri Museum

Father’s Day at The Kauri Museum
September 1, 2018 Tracey Wedge

Mervyn Sterling and his three children – Darcy, Kae and Jo – at the Manakua Road workshops after a special last trip before the scrapping of this tram. Merv was not able to save this one! 18 March 1957

It’s almost Father’s Day and at The Kauri Museum we think of our founding father, Mervyn Sterling. When trams were being phased out in Auckland, Merv, with other family and friends, decided to bring one north to Matakohe where it was placed on the present museum site. The collection of trams and equipment continued to grow and in 1958 it was all moved to a large shed down the road.  In 1963 it moved again, to Western Springs to become MOTAT https://www.facebook.com/MOTATNZ/

Merv’s son Darcy worked alongside his father helping to move large machinery around the country. Darcy recounted the following story to us. To house all the smaller items that had been collected, it was decided to erect a building on the original site and open a pioneer museum. The area was pegged out, materials ordered and construction began. To the astonishment of the builders, it very quickly became apparent, that they were short of building materials. After much head scratching and discussion, the reason for the shortfall was discovered. Merv had sneaked down one night and moved the pegs – he had decided that the building, as planned, was too small!  With Merv as instigator and driving force behind the project, the museum opened in January 1962, in time to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the landing of the first pioneer settlers in the area. Beginning as a small concrete block building, the museum continued to evolve until The Kauri Museum now covers over 4000sqm, Merv would be proud. Thank you Merv for your passion, vision and foresight – Happy Father’s Day!

Merv and his son Darcy enjoying the speed of Merv’s boat Brenda K at the Pahi Regatta 1984.

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