The Morrinsville Kiwanis train first chugged along at the Christmas parade in 2015, followed quickly by another appearance at the Morrinsville A & P show in early March.
The idea was born when President Diane and her husband David were visiting Iowa, USA, not long after the Kiwanis International Convention in Indiana. They were invited to stay with a lovely couple they had not met previously who farmed corn and soy beans. « They were the loveliest of people we could ever have met » Diane said. « They took us to their local town on July 4th. There were people everywhere – children dressed up in red, white & blue, and of course a parade! » There were also a lot of John Deere tractors involved with people carrying flags. It was an awesome atmosphere, such a happy place with food and lemonade stalls, and everyone enjoying a warm summer’s day.
Diane became very excited when she saw something she thought could work at home. « It was near the end of the floats, when I saw it!! This cute little train, filled with children. I recognised the blue 44 gallon drums immediately as we have piles of them at home » So they took lots of photos, and even spoke with the man who made the train. « It was such an awesome idea, I knew we were going to have to replicate it when we got home. »
Diane and David came back to New Zealand armed with lots of enthusiasm and photos which they showed to Ken, the husband of one of the club members. Ken viewed it from a more practical point of view before deciding “Yes, we can do it!”.
With his enthusiasm and practical knowledge, and Diane’s blue plastic 44 gallon drums, the Kiwanis train was born! They printed the letters K-I-W-A-N-I-S on to card then another member, Pat, laminated them. « A bit of Christmas tinsel and some children and some toys, just made it look awesome! » The Kiwanis logo was put on the back carriage and one of the bike dealers in town loaned a four wheeler to tow it.
So, it’s a huge “thank you” to Ken for realizing the dream and turning the Morrinsville Kiwanis train into a reality! This is great publicity for Kiwanis and great for the children of Morrinsville.