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> National Transport and Toy Museum
National Transport and Toy Museum
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The museum is the result of one mans dream and 50 years of collecting and preserving pieces from the past. The transport collection boasts rare and unusual aircraft, cars, trucks, motorcycles, fire appliances, military vehicles and tractors.
The National Transport & Toy Museum is the Southern Hemisphere's largest private collection open to the public. It is one mans dream, a dream that has taken over 50 years to collect. The owner Mr Gerald Rhodes started with International Harvester, and then went on to establish his own car and truck wrecking business. These businesses allowed him to be in the right places to pick up “bargains”.
Mr Rhodes lives in Christchurch but Wanaka was chosen because of the dry Central Otago climate (no sea breeze and low humidity) helps preserve the machinery. From choosing the site in 1988, the first building did not start until October 1994. Many obstacles had to be crossed, but with great tenacity, the Museum started to take shape.
In 1995 the Second Building “The Hangar” was built looking like the original hangars used in the 1940s and old hangar doors from Christchurch were used to give the building authenticity. The Museum opened to the public on December 26, 1995, making the dream a reality. In April 2004 a 1440 m² building, “The Fire Station” was built. December 2005 saw a 2000 m² building “Hangar 2” to house military, planes and motorbikes. 2009 Hangar 2 extensions begin.
With the love of collecting things, the museum has a variety of exhibits that has something for the whole family. There are over 50,000 items on display and new items are always being added. The Museum has the largest number of toys on public display in New Zealand.
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