Mil­i­tary mem­o­ra­bilia makes an im­pact

The Tribune (NZ) - - OUT & ABOUT - GE­OR­GIA FORRESTER

Palmer­ston North’s Con­ven­tion Cen­tre was a scene of guns, bul­lets, swords and mil­i­taria ga­lore as the an­nual Arms Fair shot back through the city.

Nearly 1000 gun en­thu­si­asts went along to the Ruahine Arms Fair to view the dis­play of war mem­o­ra­bilia, mod­ern and his­tor­i­cal arms, mil­i­taria and medals .

Tony Matthews had his keep­sakes from the Land Wars era on show.

Matthews said he had been col­lect­ing nearly all his life since the age of 9.

He said he was in­ter­ested in New Zealand his­tory and the Land Wars were an im­por­tant part in that.

Matthews was one of 55 ex­hibitors at the event, which was run by the Ruahine branch of the New Zealand An­tique and His­tor­i­cal Arms As­so­ci­a­tion.

‘‘To­day is all about bring­ing col­lec­tors and like-minded in­ter­ested peo­ple to­gether and show­ing our pas­sion to the pub­lic,’’ Matthews said.

Event or­gan­iser Mark Chilcott said the arms fair was a chance for col­lec­tors to get to­gether and for traders to sell and swap items.

It was also an op­por­tu­nity to fundraise, for other clubs to gain mem­ber­ships, and for the com­mu­nity to learn more about the his­tory behind war mem­o­ra­bilia.

It was the sec­ond time the event had been held in Palmer­ston North.

Gerry Quinn has been col­lect­ing war mem­o­ra­bilia for the past 20 years.

His ar­ray of swords, knives and an­tique gas masks was just a se­lec­tion of his col­lec­tion.

Quinn said his gas-mask col­lec­tion, which in­cluded masks from the United States Navy, East Ger­many, Ja­pan and Bri­tain, was pop­u­lar among chil­dren, who of­ten wanted to take photos with them on.

Club mem­ber Dave Smith said the day was a good chance to teach the pub­lic about the New Zealand armed con­stab­u­lary.

Smith has been in­volved in me­dieval re-en­act­ment for the past 30 years.

That pas­sion turned into col­lect­ing items, such as clay pipes, guns and an­tique wa­ter and rum bot­tles from the time of the armed con­stab­u­lary.

It was the ini­tial law en­force­ment of New Zealand in the 1860s and 70s, be­fore the po­lice force was formed.

De­spite the sig­nif­i­cance of the era, he said there was lit­tle ed­u­ca­tion on the topic.

PHOTO: MUR­RAY WIL­SON/FAIR­FAX NZ

Yvonne Clarke all kit­ted up at the an­nual Arms Fair 2017.

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