Plan for replica coach to take centre stage

Waikouaiti Coast Heritage Centre chairman Bill Lang (left) and committee member Grant Vickers...
Waikouaiti Coast Heritage Centre chairman Bill Lang (left) and committee member Grant Vickers show off the work done so far on the replica Cobb & Co stagecoach. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
The Waikouaiti Coast Heritage Centre is hoping Otago residents will get on the wagon with them and support their bid to finish building a replica Cobb & Co stagecoach.

Last year, centre chairman and museum conservation engineer Bill Lang was commissioned to produce a replica coach for display at Dunedin's new Cobb & Co restaurant, but the commission was cancelled when the project was about 80% complete.

The incomplete replica coach is now in storage.

Centre committee member and fundraising organiser Grant Vickers said the situation presented "an exciting opportunity" for the centre to buy the coach, complete it and mount it for display outside the new Coast Heritage Centre building in Waikouaiti.

"This would brand Waikouaiti in the same way as the salmon brands Rakaia, the carrot brands Ohakune, the L&P bottle brands Paeroa and the trout brands Gore."

He said Waikouaiti had a close association with Cobb & Co stagecoaches because there had been a regular service using them between the township and Dunedin.

The coaches were the primary means of passenger transport in the Otago region until 1923 when the last service ceased.

None of the Otago stagecoaches survived.

Mr Vickers said the committee needed to raise $40,000 to complete the project and had established a Givealittle page.

"We have until the end of November to raise the $40,000 needed.

"We will only be successful if we have widespread support from the local community and those from further afield who value the preservation of our history.

"If we don't reach the $40,000 target, no pledges will be redeemed and the project will not go ahead."

He hoped Otago residents would get on board with the project, to help keep a major part of the region's history in prime view.

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