Friends of Opapa Station 1997 Newsletters

Friends Of Opapa Railway Station Inc.

!Friends Of Opapa Railway Station Inc. vol 3 July 1997.

Inside this Newsletter



On the 1st June we had our Annual General Meeting at the station with a turn out of seventeen people with everyone being very enthusiastic about getting on with restoration work.


It so proved to be with a working bee on Saturday and Sunday the 14 & 15th June with 14 helpers preparing the station building for painting.

The nameboard over the Main Entrance was replaced with a replica of the one removed over two years ago! and never returned!

Work on the Cart Dock is progressing well and this feature and will soon see a fence around the edges as in the original. Repairing the Waiting Room doors, The doors have had fitted securing bars and a rod to enable them to be closed and secured without nailing timbers to the floor! And the pickett [picket] fence also recieved some attention.


On the Saturday we had a visit by Hastings Councillor Megan Williams with son Jordan, and Mrs Lily Baker of the Historic Places Trust.


Tom Wheeler and Spud Langley attended the tree planting ceremony at Kaye [Kay] Highwoods Te-Aute store museum. This was to celebrate the area name change, giving back the name of Te-Aute. Which was changed in 1913 to Opapa.

There was a small newspaper artical [article] about this in the Hawkes Bay Herald Tribune!

If anyone can lay their hands on it please give it to Michael Betts so we can archive it with our records.

!Friends Of Opapa Railway Station Inc. vol 3 July 1997.


It was decided at the last meeting that we would have the next meeting about the school holidays, Sorry people!


To be held at the Station 9.30 a.m Sunday 27 July.

Please bring Shovells [Shovels] to help dig fence post holes.

Please bring weedeaters. – so we can cut down the weeds to the North and South of the Station. Petrol driven units if you can get hold of one.

The object of this meeting is to clear the grounds and have the posts for the picket fence put in place.

Anyone got a post hole borer! or can you get one at a good price for the loan of! –

If so ring Mike at [Phone number withheld – KB] after 6:00 pm.

Does anyone know?

Apparently a stationmaster by the name of Ray Shirley was adminmstrator [administrator], or operator of the station during the early 1960’s, (last I heard of he was residing in Gisbourne [Gisborne] this being the era we are trying to replicate – it could be worthwhile getting hold of this person to get ideas and pictures of what we are aiming for!


The next page acknowledges all those whom have donated or discounted items to the Railway Station.

Without their help this venture would be a harder task than it is.

Thank you all!.

The last couple of weeks saw the removal of the guttering which was a small task in itself! The guttering is rotten all the length, so we will have to replace the whole length of it not just a short section as we hoped.

The Cart Dock has already had a small change! In that the entrance has been widened, The sides of the dock are next to be fitted with the corners already concreted in place, and a small fence to finish it off!

The plumbing!!!

Who can help

Presumably! If i am correct, The ¾ main pipe used to feed the tank, and the feed for the taps and toilet systern [cistern] was from the tank? am i right!

If so! let me have drawings so we can get a tank up for water.


Approaches have been made to the chief electrician at the Power Board to get the Power cable laid from Spud’s house to the railway station building.

A meter has been donated by an inspector of the company and the next step is to dig a trench for the cable and route the cable to the meter box (yet to be found). We need approx 85 metres 4.0mm cable and a meter box approx 2 feet square. – any ideas! Plenty of helpers with shovels!!!!!!!

!Friends Of Opapa Railway Station Inc. vol 3 July 1997.


Prepare and paint station spounting [spouting] and downpipes
erection of cart dock.
erection of picket fence
Complete waiting room.
Drainage of low spots.
Replace pot belly stove & flu
Dismantle & renew farm fence along N. paddock boundary,
power connection.
Toilet bowl & cistern.
washhand basin
Platform sign.
Single mans Oxide Hutt.


Sign over foyer.
Holes repaired in main station room.
Bulletin Board.
Waiting room seat.


ticket shutter
Mailbox replaced
Phone shutter replaced.
Louvre windows in toilet.
Lantern light in front of station.


Anyone wanting to spend a Saturday at Ormondville Railway Station or the pahiatua [Pahiatua] Railcar Society, please let Spud know! Ph. 8768367.

Working bees are verry [very] important and so we can get maximum progress in a short space of time we need as many persons as possible to help out!

We are slowly climbing that hill of success and every step is a step to completion!


To Sandra and Doya:

upon losing their baby Jade whom passed away on the 2nd July!


Please guys accept our most Sincere Sympathys and Condolences. – regards from the committee and assuredly from any member whom reads this issue!


Members of the Committee whom are prepared to stand for yet another year.




Helen Hapi

For helping set up the first meeting and being a committee member for the first term


Helen Hapi – Whom has not been well for some time now … Please make a speedy recovery!


Electric Meter   15/06/97   Rick BARKER.  Power Board
Door lock metal & bolts   20/6/97   M. Betts
Pot Belly Stove   25/07/97   Stewart & Melva Barr
Fibre Board   20% discount   25/06/97   Tumu Timbers   Peter – Branch Manager
Oxide Hutt [Hut]   8/4/97   Stewart & Melva
Bulletin Board   1996/97   Tom Wheeler
Waiting room seat   Tom Wheeler
Paint for ceiling   Tom Wheeler
Phone Shutter   Tom Wheeler
Mail box & Electric jug   Tom Wheeler
Lantern Light   1/1/97   Tom Wheeler & Chas Bone Plumbers
Station Nameboard   4/6/97   Tom Wheeler & Spud Langley
Security Bars for main doors   20/6/97   Mike Betts
Computer & records/newsletter   Mike Betts
Use of weed eater / plants   Ray Beattie.
Use of Mowers   Spud Langley
PAint Undercoat   Spud Langley
Post for pickett Fence   Spud Langley
Wire for Boundary fence / Battens   Spud LAngley
Cement & Builders Mix   Spud Langley
Limestone for drive & parking area   Spud LAngley
Weedspray   Spud Langley
Station Bell   Paul Mahoney
Plants (iris)   Vicki Robinson
3/4 inch mains tap.   7/97   Andy Joseph
Water Tank Stand 7/97   STEW. BARR.

Bay Express 15th June.

Working in the mist Sun 15th June

Ray Beattie
Spud Langley
Andrew Potts
John Potts
14th June 1997



FRIENDS OF THE OPAPA RAILWAY STATION: Another recent addition in the diverse range of railway preservation societies in New Zealand is this new central Hawke’s Bay group, specifically set up to restore the historic Opapa railway station and adjacent buildings. Largely a result of Hastings resident Kelvin Langley’s dedication and enthusiasm to help preserve another small piece of rail heritage, an incorporated society was formed on the 1st of February 1996 to manage the overall project. To date this has concentrated on tidying up the site with clearing away of a veritable forest of blackberry and other weeds, restoring and mowing the lawns, and commencing conservation work on two of the buildings.

Opapa has quite a fascinating history. Railway construction proceeded southwest from Napier, with the section to Opapa opened in 1876. The original station, first named Te Aute, was destroyed by fire in 1895. The present day railway station was the replacement. For a century Opapa was a busy place with a station master and staff. In addition to the station building, there were once four yard tracks, stock yards and a water tank to refresh passing steam locomotives. Opapa became well known to Hawke’s Bay rail passengers as it was a refreshment stop as well. The actual refreshment room was adjacent to the north end of the station, but was redundant after railcars were introduced, and duly demolished in 1945. South of the Opapa station is the steepest grade on the Hawke’s Bay railway, that frequently required banker engine operations to assist southbound trains up the 1 in 46 grades to the siding at the top of the hill. Local traffic declined from the 1960’s, with the goods yard finally closing in 1981, and the facilities being removed. The station building and crossing loop remained in use for tablet train control until 1991.

The actual station is a relatively simple gabled building, and is believed to be a variation of the Vogel Class 4 station, although its architectural origins are uncertain. The roof is corrugated iron while the exterior walls are clad in rusticated weatherboards. The trackside façade, originally symmetrical around the main entrance, has a recessed bay flanked by sash windows. The north end of


this elevation has another entrance, while at the south end of the building, there is an office with another entry. The interior has a passenger lobby, office and a ladies waiting room. Since the society arrived the station building has been cleaned out, and the exterior prepared for repainting. Inside, damaged door surrounds and a number of the wall linings have been repaired (the station’s last use before being rescued was as an ad hoc garage to repair an old car or two!).

Future plans call for a number of secondary jobs to be done, including replacing some railway picket fences around the boundary of the station precinct. Of significance two railway houses in very original condition remain. The northern one of the pair has since been acquired by Mr. Langley, and rehabilitated to give another dimension to the Opapa station project. Concurrently many suitable items are being gathered to display in the station once it is fully restored, including a number of refreshment room cup and saucer fragments recovered from the site, some bearing the inscription “Te Aute Railway Refreshment Rooms”. However, the Society is currently looking for a pair of suitable tablet machines, and would be grateful for any assistance in locating same. Further information on this new group can be obtained from the Friends of the Opapa Railway Station Inc., C/- [Address withheld – KB], Hastings, 4201.

Photo caption – ABOVE: The newest community based railway station project in the country is based on the small village of Opapa in central Hawke’s Bay. Preliminary restoration work had started on the historic century old building, when photographed on the 27th of December 1996.
PHOTO: Reid McNaught.

CourierPost-speed & flexibility
HAWKES BAY MSC NZ 5pm 17-Jul-1997

Friends Of Opapa Railway Station Inc.
C/- secretary/treas.
[Address withheld – KB]

Tom Wheeler
8 Tasman st
Hav. Nth

Postage donated by RAUREKA MOTORS For all your motoring needs

Friends Of Opapa Railway Station Inc.

!Friends Of Opapa Railway Station Inc. vol 4 nov ’97.

Inside this Newsletter



A copy of the SAFETY PLAN has been placed in te draw [the drawer] of the desk at the Railway Station.

We must all be familiar with the PLAN and read the booklet, be prepared to sign it after reading and understand the information.

This is necessary and if we don’t enforce it we will be taken to task by the O.S.H.

So! for everybody’s sake and for the sake of the station read, understand & sign the SAFETY PLAN


On 27 July we had a very good turnout of people to assist digging post holes for the fence and shifting lengths of rail (from over the fence).



This new group is based in Napier and is made of Hawkes bay Branch of the N.Z. Railway & Locomotive Society which will dissolve at the end of the year.


These are to preserve and maintain railway heritage buildings and surrounds and to help excursion trains trains and railcars through the Hawkes bay [Bay] and Gisborne Lines.


Already the group have nearly completed the Eskdale Station with the finishing coat of paint to be applied on Sunday 23rd November.

Anyone wanting to help or just have a look around ring SPUD on [Phone number withheld – KB]

!Friends of Opapa Railway Station Inc. vol 4 nov ’97.


At Opapa Station with the new group 6.30 pm 8th December

Bring own refreshments.


The official opening of ORMONDVILLE Station after 10 years of work will be at 2.30 p.m. opening speech by M.P. Wyatt Chreech [Creech].


An excursion from Palmerston Nth (diesel hauled) and shuttle buses to Norswood [Norsewood] Fair 7 kms distant.

contact Spud!! for more details

New members

Always on the look-out for New talents.

The more we have the least we each have to do!

Welcome to

Ivan Rule & family.

Thank you for joining our group of workers


There still remain some unpaid subs for 1997

It is a condition of our constitution that all members must be financial!

Those that are not will not be allowed voting rights and if they are on the committee they will be removed of any responsibility.

A tick in the area below will signify paid members.

A cross will signify UNpaid members.


We need MONEY!!


Thanks to Trustbank Community Grants we now have enough money to repile the Station.!

This means that we can get on with the inside of the building once it is levelled out.

By the time the Newsletter is sent out we will have this money in our account and we will be waiting for this job to be completed.


!Friends of Opapa Railway Station Inc. vol 4 nov ‘97


by Lee Hall.

On Saturday 8th November I made the trip to Gisborne at the invitation of the citys vintage rail group to inspect progress on the alterations to their two former FM class guards vans which are undergoing conversion to passenger cars.

My original involvement with the FM vans began some years ago when I carried out the structural design and prepared plans for the conversion of two vans owned by the H.B, Y.M.C.A. The YMCA later came to an arrangement with the GCVR for them to uuse [use] the Y’s conversion plans and subsequently I have made several trips to Gisborne to inspect the works in progress.

It was a very pleasant surprise to arrive at the depot to find their engine, W.A. 165. outside the shed resplendid [resplendent] in gleaming black paint and polished brasswork … and in steam. This was only the second time the loco had been fired up since restoration and had been towed from the shed as the steam pipes to the cylinders were removed while temoporary [temporary] connections were made to the steam supply to purge pipework and test the generator and other workings.

She certainly looks a very smart engine (2-6-2T) and is a real credit to the efforts of the Gisborne group. Judging by the considerable attention the loco was attracting from the passers by in the short time I was there, It is clear that she will be a real drawcard an asset to Gisborne.

I understand the GVCR are currently in negotiation with Tranz rail ltd to come up with an opening agreement. In the meantime, with the work on the locomotive practically complete, their next priority is to get passenger cars ready for service. The group had purchased the FMs from Railways several years ago with the intention of converting them to passenger vehicles as no passenger cars were available at that time. The conversion work has proved to be a fairly major task and last year, when the opportunity arose, the GVCR successfully tendered for two ex Trans Rail suburban cars as backup.

Most of the work on the first FM cars was carried out at the GVCR.

The structural alterations are complete and the exterior of thecar has been painted in in Railways Red[f] with silver grey roof and is awaiting fitting of windows and internal fit out.

The former guards van body has been altered to form a single passenger co[0]mpartment with a toilet compartment and lobby at one end. Structural work on the second car is being carried out by local engineering firm, Monk Bros., and is 90% complete. In this car one of the original luggage modulews [modules] has been retained and the former toilet and central entry lobby will be converted into a large toilet compartment suitable for wheelchairs. The balance of the car has been converted as the first. There is still quite a bit of work to be done with the fit out of the cars including power supply, lighting, air conditioning, linings and installation of the seating however when completed the vehicles will be first rate.

In the meantime work has started on upgrading the better of the two suburban cars, This has included replacing the roof lining material, decayed timber wall bottom plates, steel floor plates to one end vestibule and general panel work. I got the impression that this car coulkd [could] be ready in a matter of weeks.

Hopefully it won’t be too long now before we see WA 165 back on the road.

!Friends Of Opapa Railway Station Inc. vol 4 nov ’97.


Summer is here and so too are the longer hours we need to do the jobs that we did not get done during Winter.


DECEMBER 13 – 14

Commencing 9.00 a.m. we need to wash the station, Inside and outside.

Prepare the platform walls for painting and splash some paint about these walls.

The Chimney needs to be fitted and made to look the part.

Toilet wall needs to be rebuit [rebuilt] and the plumbing in the sink to be organised.

More groundwork also for us to care for! The section on the Southside needs attention

and the North side fence also needs working on!

An annoying hole in the Southend wall that lets birds in is also in need of fixing!


We need a meeting!


Sunday 13th, A short meeting to discuss the group’s activities and future events.!

Starting at approx 10:00 A.M.

With a bite and a nibble for lunch, then into the work


4mm OR 6mm wiring cable for transfering [transferring] power from spuds house to the station, we have the switchboard to modify and install but we have had little luck picking up approx 85 metres of 4mm cable for the short trip. We really need this to provide lighting and electrical needs, but will not need be required to carry more than 10 amps. 6mm will be o.k. but will not be necessary due to the little amount of current use.(we will use 6mm if anybody can get it at the right price – donated or just given to us).

Anybody know where we can scavenge some from?

or at least pick it up at a verry [very] reasonable price.

The Water stand!

I have reclaimed the remaining parts of the water stand BUT there are many missing pieces. Spud and myself took photos at Ormondville but a few more pieces would make it easier to put together!-If anyone has any plans or measurements then give them to Spud or Mike Betts.

All that is left is to just wish you all a very merry Christmas and a great New Year.


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Business / Organisation

Friends of Opapa Railway Station (FOORS)

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Paper documents

Date published


Creator / Author

  • Lee Hall
  • Reid McNaught


  • Mrs Lily Baker
  • Rick Barker
  • Melva Barr
  • Stewart Barr
  • Ray Beattie
  • Michael Betts
  • Member of Parliament Wyatt Creech
  • Doya Grey
  • Jade Cassidy Grey
  • Sandra Grey
  • Helen Hapi
  • Kay Highwood
  • Andy Joseph
  • Kelvin (Spud) Langley
  • Paul Mahoney
  • Andrew Potts
  • John Potts
  • Vicki Robinson
  • Ivan Rule
  • Ray Shirley
  • Tom Wheeler
  • Councillor Megan Williams
  • Jordan Williams

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