These mod­els come alive

South Taranaki Star - - FRONT PAGE - KRIS BOULT

Nigel Ogle works in his shed sur­rounded by sol­diers, horses, trees and bits of hu­man limbs.

Of course, Ogle is the only one breath­ing; the oth­ers are all mod­els that will even­tu­ally play a vi­tal role in telling a story.

The scale mod­els are des­tined to be­come part of a dis­play Ogle, who owns the Tawhiti Mu­seum, will use in his vast col­lec­tion built up over 30 years.

‘‘Around 1980 a guy I know in Wellington had done some New Zealand-based mod­els and I thought it was a great way to tell a story so I took it up,’’ he said. ‘‘It started as a few as you do, and I’ve made I don’t know how many since.

‘‘I didn’t re­ally en­joy it at first but as time’s gone on I’ve re­ally en­joyed it. It’s an artis­tic chal­lenge.’’

Ogle was an art teacher at Ha¯ wera High School for 15 years be­fore de­cid­ing to leave teach­ing and concentrate his ef­forts on his projects full time.

‘‘In 1988 when I left teach­ing peo­ple wanted to know what I was go­ing to do with my­self. I told them I was go­ing to open a mu­seum,’’ he said. ‘‘They were like ‘oh yeah OK’’. You could just see the looks on their faces.’’

It’s a de­ci­sion he hasn’t re­gret­ted.

‘‘There was never a big plan as such, it’s just snow­balled, but I love it and wouldn’t want to do any­thing else.’’

Ogle said his pas­sion came from his love of his­tory and also his love of art.

‘‘I love telling a story.’’

Ogle said most of in­spi­ra­tion for his dis­plays came from pho­tos and of­ten just pre­sented them­selves.

The mu­seum has life-sized ex­hibits and scale mod­els to cap­ture the past in a se­ries of re­al­is­tic dis­plays that can take be­tween two and four years to make.

‘‘When you model de­tail you think no­body will no­tice so why bother about it, but peo­ple al­ways com­ment about it which en­cour­ages me to do more,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s the art we hear about all the time.’’

Ogle is busy work­ing on his next project, which he said is still about a year away. It will be a 1:15 scale dio­rama de­pict­ing a busy street scene from around 1905-1910 when the first car ar­rived in the Ha¯ wera town­ship.

Last year Ogle opened the Painted War dis­play at the mu­seum that took around two years to put to­gether. It tells the story of Ed­ward Arthur Wil­liams and fea­tures a re­luc­tant army march­ing up the South Taranaki coast in 1865.

‘‘I’ve had the idea in my mind for a long time,’’ he said. ‘‘It took a while be­cause of all the fig­ures. A lot of paint­ing was in­volved, but we’ve been get­ting a re­ally good re­sponse.’’

The mu­seum has won seven sep­a­rate tourism awards and is an im­por­tant visi­tor at­trac­tion and ed­u­ca­tional fa­cil­ity for South Taranaki.

‘‘We get a lot of ‘some­one told us to come’, but peo­ple re­ally love it.’’

Nigel Ogle from Tawhiti Mu­seum in Haw­era at work in his shed.


Nigel Ogle’s at­ten­tion to de­tail is clearly seen in these metic­u­lously made mod­els.

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