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Antique returns to region

A walking stick carved during WWII by a Japanese prisoner of war in the Featherston internment camp has returned to Wairarapa.

Local archivist and historian Mark Pacey, from Wairarapa Archive, bought the walking stick at a recent coin, medal and banknote auction in Wellington.

The wooden stick has a frog and a ship carved at the top, with a paua-eyed snake coiling around its length, and a bullet casing at the base.

Pacey, who trained as a furniture maker before becoming an archivist, said he was impressed by the level of detail in the woodwork.

“It’s just beautiful, and it would have taken so long to carve,” he said.

He intends to keep the stick with him at Wairarapa Archive.

Mobray Collectables said the stick was acquired by a man delivering goods to the camp, who traded for it with one of the prisoners.

Throughout the war, the prisoners made woodwork to trade with the guards.

Pacey said the object challenged the mainstream narrative of the camp’s history.

“Everyone knows about the incident, the violence, but these artworks show that there was a relationship between the prisoners and the guards.

“I’m just glad to bring it back to Wairarapa.”

Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age who regularly writes about education. He is originally from Wellington and is interested in environmental issues and public transport.

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