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Toby the Tractor retires from Nelly Jull Park

It was back to the farm and a quiet retirement for Toby the Tractor today, after years of dedicated service at Nelly Jull park in Waipawa - delighting children with his colourful paint job.

At 7am this morning (Thursday, July 1) after a short karakia, Toby the Fordson Tractor rolled towards retirement, returning to the farm of a local family who originally donated him in the late 1940’s.

The trusty tractor has played a memorable role for the many children and adults who have visited Nelly Jull Park over the years.

In recent times, however, he’s tired from use and harsh outdoor conditions -  with rust, sharp edges and other parts becoming a potential danger for little fingers, hands and arms.

Toby’s retirement marks the end of an era, but for the family who donated him – his return to the farm was a warm homecoming.

“My father did a mechanic apprenticeship, and as a project was required to do something up; somehow he got his hands on Toby and made him mobile again,” said a family member, who did not wish to be named.

“So the story goes, Toby was only ever used to turn over the front lawn so my father could grow watermelons, then he was driven up to Nelly Jull, stripped down and he’s been there ever since. We used to play on him as kids, our kids did too, now he’s come home.”

Some small changes will be made to safety surfacing at Nelly Jull park in the coming weeks with more substantial upgrades planned for 2023.

Council Chief Executive Monique Davidson said Toby had become a landmark, and would be sorely missed by many, but thanked the family who donated him for many years of service to the Central Hawke’s Bay community.

“Like you, we're sad to see Toby go and want to thank his family for lending him to us for all of these years,” she said.

“Due to Toby’s age, and the wear and tear he’s faced being outside all this time –he was no longer safe for children to be playing on, and we felt it was the right time to retire him. While there are no plans to replace him in the near future, we know he will live on in the hearts and minds of many generations.”

Media contact 
Monique Davidson, Chief Executive | T 06 857 8060, M 027 601 1711

5 July 2021

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