Higgins Park

Higgins Park Highlights

Higgins Park and it's family of museums is the home to a large variety of exhibits ranging from hand tools to New Zealand's largest portable steam engine. Other rarities include the last known, original, 1913 International 15hp tractor in the world; a superbly restored R & P tractor from 1918, one of only three remaining; the Rover Club of Nelson's club rooms designed as an old garage with antique petrol pumps and of course, the original sawmill restored by Ross Higgins that helped start Higgins Park.

Below are images of some of the Park's highlights.

The Saw Mill

After working on many different sites around the Nelson area the 1920 model sawmill was shifted to Pigeon Valley in the early 1970s. This was on the land given to the steam museum. Originally driven by steam it is now powered by a Diesel motor.

A lot of the timber used in the development of Higgins Park has been cut by the mill.

Bush Tram

1913 International

International 1913 15 hp 2 speed.

Only original one known in the world. Two replicas have been built with measurements taken from this tractor.

Owned by Mr P B Higgins and family of Tapawera.

R & P Tractor

R & P Tractor no 56 owned by Mr & Mrs Roger Quinney of Wakefield is at present on loan to NVEMC.

Taken from the sales brochure:
It takes 5 acres to support one horse. Five acres will grow 100 bushells of wheat. The R & P tractor takes the place of 6 horses.

The tractor was made in Alma Michigan by Ruggles and Parsons and rolled off the Republic Truck assembly line probably about 1918. Two tractors came to Nelson late 1919.

No 56 was railed to Kohatu and then driven to its new owners, the Kerr family of Blue Glen station at Kikiwa. The Kerrs used the tractor untill they sold the farm in 1943 to Joe Abrahams. The farm was sold in late 1949 or early 1950 when the tractor was bought at auction for 49 pounds [$98] by Mr Lew Quinney and moved to his farm at Motupiko. There it replaced the horse team doing all the farmwork.

Eventually it fell in to disuse and remained on the farm untill Lews son Rodger retired in 2000. Rodger restored the tractor in 2005/06. The tractor's first showing was at the Rangiora Show in October 2006 when it lined up with the only other 2 known R & P tractors. These 3 R & Ps were also taken to the Royal Show in Christchuch.


  • 12hp on drawbar
  • 20hp on belt
  • Fuel tank capacity: 19 gallons
  • Weight: 3600 lbs
  • Gearbox: 3 speed forward 1 reverse

8hp Fowler Traction Engine

The 8hp engine was imported from South Africa about 1902 after service in Boer War. Once in New Zealand it spent its working life around the Nelson back country.

In 1983 it was donated to Pigeon Valley by Mr and Mrs Chambers. It is used on Steam Up days to tow a trailer giving rides, and occasionally powers a chaffcutter and a hay baler.

The 5hp is currently undergoing restoration.

Big Betsy

'Big Betsy' is a 28hp portable Marshall steam engine believed to be the biggest and only one in NZ.

Rover Club of Nelson Club Rooms

The Rover Car Club's rooms are modelled to be a replica of an early garage complete with a range of restored, historic petrol pumps and a small museum of early motoring items.

Army Group Centre

AGC is a military history society based at the Higgins Park Steam Museum. The society formed in September 2009 brings together vehicle restorers, militaria collectors and military re-enactors from the Nelson-Tasman area.

The group specialises in depicting the Second World War and has an interesting and expanding collection of original American, German and New Zealand vehicles, uniforms and weapons. In addition there are two re-enactment units based on the US 45th (Thunderbird) Infantry Division and the German 3rd Panzer Grenadier Division.