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Tin Town helps tell 1931 recovery story

Tin Town

Part of recovery post-earthquake 1931 saw the establishment of a shopping mall that popped up almost overnight.

Tin Town is being celebrated at Faraday Museum of Technology with an exhibition opening on 6 May and running through to the end of October.

Sharyn Phillips, Faraday’s manager, says the opening of the exhibition has been a long time coming, and the team – staff and volunteers - have been busy pulling it together. 

“The stories we have uncovered are fascinating,” Sharyn says. “The support and the shear grit and determination to rebuild their community was immense. It’s fitting to be doing this now in the wake of Cyclone Gabrielle as we think about our recovery as a community.”

The exhibition was due to open earlier in the year but water damage during the cyclone meant it was delayed for some weeks. It features photographs and a replica shopping complex housing displays and mementoes of Tin Town, as well as telling the story of the place and the people who built it. The exhibition takes visitors on a journey from setting up refuge camps, through the design of Tin Town, to recreations of some of the Tin Town stores.

“You’ll get a chance to meander through shops, or take a peak in the windows of a few of the stores, and learn how many parts of our collection played their part in it all,” explains Sharyn.

“I am simply amazed at how they could design and complete a shopping mall with 54 stores covering Clive Square, the Women’s Rest and Memorial Square - while leaving space for fountains, buildings and monuments - and all in under six weeks!”

Tin Town will be showcased particularly, and fittingly, during Winter Art Deco (21-23 July) when part of the Faraday is turned into an art deco, tin town tearooms.

5 May 2023

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