Life­style blocks and plenty of clocks

Re­porter Sam Kilmis­ter stares down a goat and vis­its the largest clock col­lec­tion in the world in Coly­ton.

Feilding-Rangitikei Herald - - Conversations -

Brian Hills is the first to admit Coly­ton isn’t a dream des­ti­na­tion for tourists.

But he reck­ons the small set­tle­ment he has called home for 65 years of­fers the best life­style in Manawatu¯ .

There may be a lack of big ticket at­trac­tions in Coly­ton, but time still flies. The area is home to to a clock mu­seum, which is a must see for any­one pass­ing through.

Bill Williams owns 3021 clocks, send­ing him well over the pre­vi­ous world-record col­lec­tion of about 1900.

His col­lec­tion be­gan in 1988 when he wan­dered into a sec­ond­hand store in Auck­land and spot­ted a nice man­tel clock for his home. Since then, he’s never quite been able to shake his child-like love for them.

Lo­cated eight kilo­me­tres from Feild­ing and a 15-minute drive from Palmer­ston North, Coly­ton of­fers all the ameni­ties of the sub­urbs with­out hav­ing to live in one. Ge­o­graph­i­cally, it is the cen­tre of the ex­ten­sive Manawatu¯ district.

Latched to a fence by the side of the road, mo­torists are wel­comed with a sus­pi­cious glare from a pet goat.

The goat be­longs to one of 150 per­ma­nent res­i­dents, many of whom live on small life­style blocks and work in the larger cen­tres dur­ing the day.

‘‘It’s a cen­tral place,’’ Hills said. ‘‘The city’s creep­ing to­wards us any­way.

‘‘It’s a quiet, coun­try com­mu­nity that sup­ports each other. Around the town there are a num­ber of new houses, so over the last 20 years it hasn’t gone back­wards.’’

Coly­ton is named af­ter a small vil­lage in Devon, Eng­land. Both share a St An­drew’s Church and flat rolling coun­try.

Coly­ton once had a pub, gen­eral store and a butcher. While these are long gone the com­mu­nity

and school re­main strong.

Con­tin­ued growth in the area from life­style blocks has helped to se­cure a bright fu­ture for the district and school.

PHOTO: MUR­RAY WIL­SON/FAIR­FAX NZ

Farmer Brian Hills grew up in Coly­ton and never left.

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