Located at 1091 Upper Sefton Road, Balcairn, the Kowai Archive was established in 1990 by members of the Sefton - Kowai Country Women's Institute, who decided to "collect, preserve, research and exhibit records to illustrate and record (the) cultural history of the area " The Amberley Historical Society established in the 1970's amalgamated with the Archives in the early 1990's.
The Archive is located in the former Kowai County Council building in Balcairn which was renovated by Archive members and supporters Built in 1922, the building has an Historic Places classification and its formal facade symbolizes the importance of local government in the community Inside are two marble war memorial plaques, reminders of the sacrifices made for freedom and peace by Kowai residents in the 20th century's two world wars.
The building was unfortunately badly damaged in the Canterbury earthquakes. Because of the extent of the damage the building is no longer able to be used by the Kowai Archives group and is not open to the public. The building is fenced off. The Council is currently waiting to receive a report from a structural engineering consultant on the options it has for strengthening and repairing the building, and the cost of this work.
The Archive also has responsibility for the Cob Cottage in Chamberlain Park, Amberley that was rebuilt by the Amberley Historical Society It houses a collection of furnishings and clothing used by the Kowai's early residents.
Our collection area is defined by the boundaries of the former Kowai County Council, running between the Ashley and Waipara Rivers, and the sea and Mt Grey.
The Archive collection includes.
- School rolls and class photographs
- Photographs of people, places and events.
- Baptisms, marriages and cemetery records
- Clubs, associations and business minute and record books.
- Newspaper clippings from the 1870's to the present day.
- Scrapbooks and family trees
- Old maps, indexes for land titles and Horrell Files
An ongoing indexing programme allows easy access to this material. We are all volunteers with many years of local knowledge and are able to help with local and family history research.
Kowai Archives Society Inc.
12 Springside Place, Redwood,
1091 Upper Sefton Road, Balcairn
Highway 72 mid way between Amberley and Rangiora