The Kapiti Coast Museum in Waikanae is usually open weekends only, but the volunteers kindly opened up for our group midweek. Housed in the former Waikanae Post Office building, it has many items from the original Post Office and telephone exchange on display.
Also on display is an amazing collection of shoes. These were donated to the museum by Jim McIntosh, Kapiti shoemaker and collector, and only a portion of the collection is displayed here. The shoes date from the early 1880s to 1990.
Kiwis will remember former Prime Minister Rob Muldoon, who was in the top job from December 1975 to July 1984. You either loved him or hated him. To supporters he was the voice of ‘the ordinary bloke’; but to critics he was a dictatorial bully. Sure enough, there is a pair of Rob Muldoon’s shoes on display, which he wore on the eve of his announcing the fateful snap election in 1984. His party was soundly trounced at this election. After being deposed as leader, Muldoon sat on the back benches, and he died a year after leaving Parliament.
There was everything from boots, evening shoes, sandals made from car tyres and much more. For some “Kiwi Kitch” how about these paua shell shoes?
The tiny little pair of red shoes for Chinese ladies with bound feet were quite sobering to see, and we discussed how terribly painful it must have been to have your feet manipulated in this way. But it was considered both a sign of wealth and beauty and no doubt the ladies concerned, and their husbands, were very proud of their tiny little feet.
There were all sorts of other interesting old items on display, from the early Post Office days, household items, school desks, together with ink pots quills and slates. And these lovely old musical instruments too. We could just imagine family and friends getting together for an evening sing-along around the old gramophone player.