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Old Pukekohe signs restored by locals

Town's history restored

Published: 12 February 2020

Move over Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson…Pukekohe has a couple of sleuths of its own.

Signs that were once a feature of the town have made a comeback thanks to some local knowledge and detective work.

The signs sharing the area’s history went missing for several years after falling into disrepair. But they have been replaced thanks to Franklin Local Board member Alan Cole and the area’s operations and maintenance delivery coordinator Eli Ewens, a Pukekohe local.

The signs were installed in the days of the Franklin District Council but were not registered as an asset when Auckland City was formed. That meant there was no record of their content, who had made them, or anything in place in terms of maintenance, which eventually saw the signs fall into disrepair, a situation made worse by vandalism.

They were removed but not forgotten and Mr Cole took it upon himself to find the original content, finding a willing partner in Mr Ewens.

They tracked through old records, photos and data, and armed with that content and information on their original locations, were able to recreate the signs after Mr Ewans had them added to council’s asset register, meaning they could be replaced.

The signs share the history of the Pukekohe area and have now been restored throughout the town.

“It’s been quite a slog but Eli was really helpful and quite tenacious. He wouldn’t let it go,” Mr Cole says.

“We know they are just signs, but it’s interesting how many people we talked to remembered them, and who supported us keeping on the trail and restoring them.”

Read more: Franklin Heritage

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