Celebrating Southland Heritage Month with vintage tractors

Celebrating Southland Heritage Month with vintage tractors

You may or may not be aware but March in Aotearoa represents Southland Heritage Month, and there are plenty of events on over the coming few weeks to honour the celebrations. One particular event that is definitely worth checking out is the new exhibitions of Southland's Farming History at the Rural Heritage Centre in Thornbury. 

Behind it all of course is the Thornbury Vintage Tractor and Implement Club where Fraser Pearce is one of the main volunteers and a former President of the group. 

Pearce focuses on the club's role in preserving the agricultural past and the significance of the Rural Heritage Centre in Thornbury. He discusses the club's evolution from a vintage tractor collection to a comprehensive heritage centre that tells the story of Southland's farming roots. 

"We're just a very typical vintage club. But what makes us a little bit different is that we have this marvellous rural heritage centre." 

He emphasises the importance of storytelling in the club's mission, noting that they aimed to "tell some stories here" and created an interpretation plan to identify their narrative as stemming from the days of Captain Howell in Riverton. 

The conversation also pays homage to John Gordon, a significant contributor to the heritage centre's exhibits and a renowned broadcaster who sadly passed away before the completion of the project. 

"I think John fought to bring the town and country together [more] than any man that we know in broadcasting ever did."

Pearce also touches on the personal connections and local stories that the exhibition brings to life, sharing how artifacts and tales have been incorporated to paint a vivid picture of Southland's rural legacy. He describes the excitement of discovering historical farming stories and artifacts, some of which had been with the club but needed to be unearthed and displayed. 

For more information on the Thornbury Vintage Tractor Club visit their Facebook Page.

Listen to the full chat between Fraser Pearce and Dominic George above.

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