First School Bus in New Zealand to be restored
Making history is about to be revived, as the Piopio College Trust Fund group begin a project to restore one of the original Model T Ford school buses, the first ever to begin service in New Zealand. In 1924 the Piopio District School was elected as part of the consolidation process to run school buses. Three Model T Ford buses were delivered and transported children from surrounding schools; Te Mapara, Paemako and Arapae.
A group of local identities including; Chairperson – John Carter, Secretary – Philip Houghton, Ex Principal – Brian Tegg, Bus Expert and Driver – Snow Nicol, Bus Restoration – Max Laver, Museum & History – John Petre, Lions Club – Owen Harrison, and former bus co-ordinator at Piopio College – Rob Hallam were drawn together with the intention to locate an original bus, with the end goal being to fully restore a Model T Ford and display it within the community.
After some research and scouring the country, the group have tackled the project head on and fortunately with the support of ex Principal Brian Tegg, who has purchased the bus and with the skills of local businessman and boat builder Max Laver the restoration will begin.
The bus will be on display at the ANZAC commemorations on Moa Street, Saturday 25th April.
The Piopio College Trust Fund group are pleased to be able to begin this project, with initial funds from the Ministry of Education of $5000. This will only cover a portion of the restoration, however now the challenge to raise additional funds is at hand. The group welcome any suggestions or support to further the restoration.