Muri Station, one stop before the main Pukerua Bay Station going south, was closed in 2011, but now its history lives on inside the old waiting room.
Colourful railway history
It was closed because of low patronage, structural defects and the high cost of an upgrade. But now the Pukerua Bay Residents Association and the Porirua City Council have put information boards in the waiting room shelter outlining the area’s proud and colourful railway history.
In 1883, the rail history of the area began with a contract to connect Paremata and Pukerua (the suburb didn’t have the ‘Bay’ added to Pukerua until 1923).
He Ara Pukerua!
Paul FitzGerald, chairman of Pukerua Bay Residents Association, says a group called He Ara Pukerua got the project under way four years ago.
He says: “Everyone can (now) enjoy a significant part of the heritage of Pukerua Bay. “Pukerua Bay’s linkages with the railway line, as shown on the panels in the shelter, highlight a rich, sometimes lawless and sometimes tragic, past.
Mr Blair says there were workers’ camps at Pukerua as the railway line was being laid down in the 1880s and 1890s — and those were ‘rip-roaring times’.
“There were robberies, stabbings, unexplained deaths, sly grog trading, and a serious tunnel accident where three men died,” he says.
“You this was a remote place. But once the rail went in, everyone was coming out here by train.”
Porirua Mayor Anita Baker unveiled the panels and says:”New Zealand is a relatively young country that needs to have its history recorded, not always digitally, but in resources like this building.
“History in our community, that you can see and touch, encourages us to get off our devices and check it out in person and what we have at Muri is especially relevant given rail is part of New Zealand’s historical DNA.
“Many of us have stopped at Muri Station over the years. “But, now that is no longer an option, it is fantastic the history of this area, and the main trunk line, is to be enshrined…for years to come.”