Letter to Editor 2012


Tribute to volunteers

One skilled tradesman and his mate deserve enormous credit for their contribution to the restoration of the interior of Stoneycroft. Their colleagues label them “dinosaurs”.

Even as I write, there are seven volunteers here again, scrubbing, scraping, lifting and moving. So far, volunteers have put in 3200 hours, the equivalent of 80 weeks’ work for a professional.

But on top of this came the work of tradesmen.

The men from Neocom who are setting up the Open Source digital systems say the project, cloud based, is probably unique in New Zealand. They have been aided by the donation of high-speed fibre-optic connections by Hawke’s Bay’s own Unison.

Three men from New Life Electrical have upgraded electrical wiring and concealed cabling to 72 different computer points behind the ancient walls. Secured power circuits have been created. Morgan Builders, reputed for specialisation on historic buildings, has, among other things, rehung every window in the building and sound-proofed the Ballantyne- room soon to become the first purpose-built oral history studio in the province.

Applying the finish to all of this, from sarking to replacing scrim upstairs and down, laying under papers and refurbishing the rooms with regal wallpapers, have been the two “dinosaurs”, Alan Shirnak [Shirnack] and Trevor Hewitt.

To meet Historic Places Trust standards, they applied techniques acquired years ago in their trade training. Their abilities date so far back that the younger tradesmen at Freeman Decorators nicknamed them the dinosaurs. The work of these folk and the others will go down in modern history. We should be proud of them all. The project is entirely the result of community effort.

James Morgan trustee, Hawke’s Bay Knowledge Bank

Photo caption – RESTORED: James Morgan, trustee of the Hawke’s Bay Knowledge Bank, in the public room at Stoneycroft Homestead, Hastings.

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Hawke's Bay Knowledge Bank

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Newspaper article

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10 September 2012

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Hawke's Bay Today


Published with permission of Hawke's Bay Today


  • Trevor Hewitt
  • Alan Shirnack

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