Waddington’s Helen Leggatt became involved with the Glentunnel Museum in 2018 during her postgraduate years at the University of Canterbury. This was through the University’s PACE programme (Professional And Community Engagement – with training to assist in developing key skills in community engagement, professional enterprise, cultural competence, and innovation. Helen chose Glentunnel Museum as she is interested in local history.
“I continued on at the Museum after the end of the programme and became a member of the Committee,” she explained. “I soon took it upon myself to network with other local heritage societies, one of which was the Canterbury/Westland Branch of the New Zealand Founders Society. Through this, I met Templeton’s Pam Absolum, Chairwoman of the Canterbury/Westland Branch of the New Zealand Founders Society,” Helen added. “The Society regularly visit local places of historical interest, and so Pam and I arranged that she and other members of the Society should visit the Glentunnel Museum.
The New Zealand Founders Inc. represent descendants of the early New Zealand settlers who arrived prior to December 31st, 1865.
“We share a common interest in the history of New Zealand and the achievements of its pioneers,” Pam said. “As descendants, we are always interested in how our forebears lived, worked and survived coming to a new country with virtually nothing. Establishing homes, finding work and of course, the hardships of day to day living.”
“From small beginnings it is now time for us to give back in remembrance of the people who have long gone now, but who worked diligently in establishing the Branch, as well as those early settlers who went before us,” Pam explained.
Several members of the Canterbury/Westland NZ Founders Inc and their partners recently drove to Glentunnel and visited the museum which is totally manned by volunteers.
“The display of memorabilia included farming equipment, coal range and other household appliances – some that many of us remembered from when we were young,” Pam smiled. “It is a little gem full of local history from clay for bricks, to coal mining and farming. Plenty of books and materials for people to use if researching.
“Helen guided us through the various rooms and it was amazing the extent to which some of us made historical connections with the area,” she commented.
The Society recently decided to provide some local heritage operations with donations. A significant donation was given to the Tug Lyttelton Preservation Society, which has recently restarted sailings and so impressed were the Society with their visit to Glentunnel Museum that they were also gifted a generous donation. Needless to say the Museum committee were extremely appreciative of the gesture.
Glentunnel Museum is open on Sunday afternoons during daylight savings and a gold coin donation is appreciated.