• Patrick McBride

Heritage New Zealand impressed with local history

Heritage NZ have been touring around the country side this week and have spotted some local gems along the way.

Former Greymouth Court House by moonlight

It is lovely to see the beautiful, but disused, former Greymouth Courthouse lit up at night.The light draws you in and down the street to see it. You can't help but admire its lovely proportions.

It has a twin in Masterton, still used as a courthouse. Both were designed by John Campbell who designed many fine governmental buildings. For more information on this Category 2 Historic Place visit https://www.heritage.org.nz/the-list/details/5016

Regent Theatre, Greymouth

While a question mark hangs over many of Greymouth's heritage buildings, this lovely 1930s Regent Theatre is still operating, along with two purpose-built cinemas. While the great Art Deco-ish frontage is lovely, the back end where all the action happens in the theatre is pretty impressive also. Its neat brick walls create a fine streetscape with the fly tower soaring up at right angles to it.

The architect, Llewellyn Williams also designed theatres for Napier and Hastings using post earthquake construction methods incorporating the use of steel and reinforced concrete.

Greymouth's Regent Theatre has an interesting history of local involvement to ensure its longevity as a theatre.

A group of local enthusiasts got together to pull it back from other uses, to once again being outfitted as a theatre. Their story makes for interesting reading and shows that Greymouth has many who love their wonderful buildings.

The former Kumara Swimming Pool is found in a bush clad setting just off the roadside on the way into the old gold-mining town of Kumara, from Arthur's Pass. It's easy to drive by, but well worth the stop.

If you have antsy kids in the car it is a great place for them to have a scramble around and wonder at the huge size of this once fabulous swimming pool measuring 46 X 30 metres.

The deep end, complete with diving boards was 2 meters deep. It was once the largest swimming pool in New Zealand during the 1930's and could have been called "a complex" if that term had been around then! Locals called it "The Frog Pond".

The pool, a Category 2 Historic Place, was built as a community project during the depression in the 1930's. The left-over tailings from old gold workings were used to build the perimeter walls. The floor of the pool was clay and the water for the pool came from a reservoir formerly used for sluicing gold. It had several pools including two shallow bays for children and was furnished with two 12-person changing sheds.

Today it provides a sunny, bush clad space to dream about this wonderful pool and let your children run around in the open but enclosed space.There is a picnic table and a path takes you right around the pool area.

Editorial: Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga

Images: J.Titus