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Our pursuit of increased efficiency, capacity, performance and profitability over the last century has driven technology forward further and faster than ever before. Each new invention or advancement delivers cascading advantages and opportunities across countless industries and undertakings.

In the face of this unprecedented progress, we can be forgiven for forgetting the redundant technology that provided the foundation or stepping stones to what we enjoy today.

So much older equipment and knowledge has been gradually left behind, but where it’s been preserved is often due to the dedication of passionate volunteers.

As a technology and expertise-based organisation – these are precisely the kinds of projects where we delight in lending a helping hand, so when we were contacted by Ferrymead Post & Telegraph Historical Society, we simply couldn’t resist.

Remembering where we came from

The New Zealand Post Office shut down its morse code system in 1963 and its telegraph service followed in 1988. Recognising the need to preserve these essential analogue technologies and equipment, Ferrymead Post & Telegraph Historical Society was established in 1970.

What’s most impressive is that the society has gone many steps further and maintains fully functioning equipment to ensure the preservation of knowledge and the education and enjoyment of interested kiwis in perpetuity.

Located in Christchurch, Ferrymead Heritage Park’s Post Office building was altered to replicate a 1920's small town Post Office, providing the perfect location for the restoration and display of the equipment.

The society’s secretary, Neale Graham says that safely storing the legacy equipment away would have protected it but would risk the knowledge and experience of its use fading away over time.

“By having the equipment constantly maintained and used as it was over the last century, new generations are able to get hands-on with how communications technology was used and how it has evolved,” he says.

Graham also points out that the fundamentals still apply and much of today’s communication technology is based upon the same principles.

“It’s such a great pleasure to see families and groups of school children throughout the year, not just looking through a window into the past but coming through the door and experiencing it. That’s the payoff for our volunteers be they hobbyists or experts – it’s their enthusiasm and knowledge that remains so valuable and at Ferrymead we’ve built the perfect place to pass it on,” says Graham.


More than a museum

Alongside its valuable work in maintaining the museum exhibits, live displays and providing educational services to schools, the society also delivers expertise to the wider Ferrymead Park organisation.

The exhibition may look like a museum, but it has not strayed too far from its original purpose – the building still provides postal agency services and philatelic (postage stamp) sales.

The society team provides communication telephony and internet services to other societies within the Ferrymead Park environment along with technology and support to the wider park’s communication services such as the fibre, wireless and DSL installations that run the CCTV system.

It was this scaling of the park’s security system that prompted the society to contact UPS Power Solutions for a helping hand.

“Ferrymead Park is fundamentally run by volunteer societies in a not-for-profit environment. When power outages occur, it can take significantly longer periods of time to restore services. Our assistance with the improved security system includes a small data centre for storing of security information within the park. Along with the communication systems, power loss can have a real impact on our operation,” says Graham.

Future protecting the past

The perfect solution was an Eaton 5PX2000iRT UPS that will deliver an added layer of surety and protection for some of the society’s, and the wider park’s, important communications and security infrastructure.

The society team also intends to showcase some of the New Zealand Post Office’s early computer technology which is particularly sensitive to power issues so exploring the opportunity for these systems to safely shut down will provide additional assurance that they can be preserved for kiwis to enjoy long into the future.

UPS Power Solution’s General Manager, Nicky Blackmore says that every project the Helping Hands Initiative supports brings its own rewards and experiences,

“It’s continually exciting to support such varied elements of our wider community. Ferrymead Post and Telegraph Historical Society was particularly interesting because so much of its mission to protect and preserve technology resonates with our experience as a technology-based business.

“Organisations like Ferrymead are crucial in reminding us that the past will always have lessons to teach, fundamentals to remember and principles to honour. We couldn’t be happier to lend a helping hand to the great work they do,” she says.

Learn more about Ferrymead Heritage Park here

Learn more about Ferrymead Post & Telegraph Historical Society here