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Everyday items evoke memories

25 May 2018

2707 views comments • Tagged as Hawkes Bay Napier Staff Stories Our Residents Community Connections

By Deborah Watts, Diversional therapist, Atawhai Rest Home


For those who have visited the Central Hawke’s Bay Settlers Museum, you know it is a special place full of wonderful memorabilia. What you might not know, however, is that the CHB Museum owns a very special suitcase that their volunteers take along when they visit rest homes. They fill it with tools and objects that unlock memories and encourage reminiscing.


When volunteers Hazel and Peter were booked to visit our residents at Atawhai, they were told they would come to visit a group of our gentlemen residents, so they knew exactly what to pack in their suitcase. They set up in the lounge with the residents sitting comfortably all around them.


When Peter pulled out one of the first items, an old car battery tester, he went around talking to the residents about it. He was quite impressed with the  knowledge shown by our men.


When he next passed around an old car spark plug in its metal box, a few residents explained they spent a lot of time cleaning
up spark plugs and making sure their cars would run well to impress the ladies in the weekend. The same went for the smart silver-coloured cigarette holder.


“One had to own one if they wanted to stand out at the weekend dances,” says Bryan.


Item after item came out, residents chatted, shared memories, reminisced. What a wonderful time they had looking at the old tools and everyday objects from their childhood, teenage years, working days.


Old cameras, shearing gear, woollen bathing suit, Morse code machine. We had to have a giggle when Peter brought out the old Flit gun and told the story of how his mum used to tuck him in at night then spray the poisonous DDT across the room to keep the bugs at bay.  Alot of residents related to and recalled this happening in their

household too. Thankfully times have changed!


Before you throw away that old fashioned handmixer or corded telephone, think twice. These objects might just be the key to unlocking some of your memories when you are older. They’re also a great way to teach the newer generation what life was like before the iPhone or that electric food processor!


Find out more about Atawhai Rest Home



0800 333 688

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