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One dog and 50 residents


A crowd waited expectantly at 11am last Friday 8 July for Rebecca Cox, Manager of Mercury Bay Museum, to pull off the covers of what was the new display at the Mercury Bay Museum. When she finished speaking about the creation of the new display, and pulled the cloth, everyone was gratified. Damon Christensen, a master constructor of the miniature and model display, has lovingly created a quaint and amazing model of Whitianga township in 1943.

This display, especially prepared to coincide with the school holidays, will be a treat for children and families. The detail of the model - buildings, people, dog, roads, vegetation, shops - were all fastidiously copied from an aerial photograph of that time and yes, there were 50 people and one dog registered as occupants of Whitianga township in 1943 and all 50 plus the dog, are included in the model. Over 208 hours of painstaking work by Damon has created a charming three-dimensional memory for all visitors to the Museum. Called ‘Our Town, Our Place’, Rebecca informed the gathering that it will be related to a curriculum yet to be developed to bring alive the formative years of Whitianga’s settled history.

It was a generous morning offered by the staff and volunteers who were dressed so smartly in black screen printed T shirts, offering details about the history portrayed in the model and leading us to other aspects of the museums displays. Not to be passed up was an inviting morning tea. The new model nestled well among so many interesting artefacts and displays. The work of the Mercury Bay Historical Society, the staff of the Museum and other charitable organisations in Whitianga, have ensured a very fine museum to educate and enchant hosts of visitors for years to come. Damon’s significant gift as a skilled and passionate volunteer has added to this legacy.


Pictured: Rebecca Cox, Manager of the Museum, thanks Damon Christensen at the unveiling of the 1943 model of Whitianga that he created.

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