Military memorabilia makes an impact
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.
Yvonne Clarke all kitted up at the annual Arms Fair 2017.