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Funding comes through for Time Machine

This page contains a news story about the Whangarei 'Ball Clock'.
Updated: 20/12/2019 11:09 a.m.

​An expression from another era, Henk Oosterbroek’s “tickled pink”, seemed the perfect response to news that funding had come through for a time-machine. 

“Just in time” and “perfect timing” might also have been words in the minds of the About Time Group behind the project. The team of engineers, artists, boat builders, designers, electrical experts, project managers and supporters has spent years bringing to life their vision of a grand-scale ball clock at the Town Basin.

Picture of the team working on the Ball Clock.

So many years in fact that some of the earliest members of the group have passed on during the journey (tributes to the late Malcolm Hawthorn and Brian Adcock). 

But group member Warren Thomas said they would have been delighted that fund raising and a $110,000 grant from Council’s Partnership Fund last month brought the group’s funding pool to $150,000, meaning it can draw down a $750,000 grant from the Provincial Growth Fund. 

“Now we can really get the ball rolling!” 

Mr Thomas said the idea of the ball clock was sparked a decade and a half ago by patron, Graham Brice. 

“There was a miniature ball clock at Clapham’s Clock Museum, and we thought that building a large-scale one would be a good way to help promote the museum. The idea grew from there. Initially the plan was for a two-metre by two-metre clock, but now we have settled on an even bigger installation, six by four metres in size.” 

Mr Thomas said the clock had been built to full size over the past five years, and is being refined constantly to ensure it will last the distance when it is installed in a glass box near the Children’s Playground at the Town Basin. 

While the group has been working on refining the clock, Council has been working on plans for a new major park development including an amphitheatre, wind sculpture and water feature beside Quay Street, while the Whangarei Art Museum Trust has been developing the Hundertwasser Arts Centre with Wairau Maori Art Gallery.

Further along the Hatea loop the Ball Clock will go in and the children’s playground will be upgraded and enhanced. 

All these projects should come to fruition in the 2020/2021 summer – and that will surely be a time of celebration.


Partnership Fund

The grant was made from Council’s Partnership Fund which was established following requests from many community groups for support for significant community-initiated projects during the Long Term Plan consultation last year.  

This year’s recipients were:

  • the About Time Group ($110,000) towards the rolling ball clock to be built at the Town Basin, 
  • the Northland Vintage Machinery Club ($60,000) towards Stage Two of their facilities at Heritage Park, 
  • the Taiharuru Marae ($150,000) towards a new marae building, and
  • the Waipu Croquet Club ($80,000) for new clubrooms.   

Last year’s recipients were:

  • Kiwi North for conservation of heritage buildings,
  • Te Ora Hou for a community centre in Tikipunga, and
  • Whangaruru North Resident and Ratepayers Association for a community centre in Bland Bay. 

Sandra Boardman, Council’s General Manager Community Development said Council had $400,000 to allocate in this, the second year of the fund.  

“From next year we will have $600,000 available. The maximum for a single application that can be awarded is $150,000.” 

“The purpose of the Partnership Fund is to support the development of community facilities in the District – including social enterprise hubs, artisan workshops, rural craft centres, community centres/hubs, multisport and recreation hubs, tourism facilities, and other initiatives that support community development.” 

“We call it a partnership fund because the community projects involved are also funded by the community. Applicants must show that they have at least 30% of funding in place for their project, or that they can obtain it from other funders.”  




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