Community Contributed

Levins, Iconic Clock on the Post Office Building, Oxford Street Levin 2019

Kete Horowhenua2020-03-23T16:47:21+00:00
Repairing Levins' Iconic Clock that needed repairs to keep the clock working for the next decade. A view of of how the work was carried out during the months of January, February and March 2019.

In the early 1980s the existing Levin post Office build in the 1890s was demolished, to make room for a new post office building to be constructed on the site, south eastern corner of Queen and Oxford Streets. The old telephone exchange building at the rear of the post office had earlier been relocated to a new Telecom building in Devon Street.
When the new building was constructed, provision was made to build a suitable base to install a clock tower near the Oxford and Queen Street corner, so that a clock could be installed at a future date.

The clock was installed in 1999 with a donation from Rotary after a fundraising drive.
In 2009 the clock needed a complete makeover, the cost being $66,000. The Horowhenua Community Trust made a donation of $31,000 to help fund this cost.

Now in 2019 the clock needed another makeover, contractor were employed to install scaffolding to make it safe for tradesmen to carry out the needed repair works.
Following are photos of the works taking place.

This is the fault with the clock- 4 clock faces each showing a different time.
This extract by courtesy Horowhenua Mail, written by Mr. Alex Loo Printed 14th February 2019
Life in Levin is anything but clockwork, with the town's iclonic clock giving a different time on it's faces.
The clock has been confusing both the town's residents and people driving past it on State Highway 1.
A donation from the Rotary Club of Levin , the clock was installed in 1999 and upgraded a decade later..
Horowhenua District Council property and parks manager Arthur Nelson said each clock face had itsown motor, and two of the four motors had failed.
The German manufacturer of the clock confirmed the motors had reached the end of their life span, so all four would be replaced, he said.
But the repair job would not be easy. There is no internal access to the clock, so scaffolding would need to be built around the old post office below to reach it.
The work would require traffic management , Nelson said. Keeping the clock's time correct was not difficult when the motors were working, he said.
A statellite-linked GPS world time controller automatically adjusted the time if there was a power outage, or when daylight savings rolled around. The adjustment took time, though. so the clock faces showed the wrong time when it happened, Nelson said. The clock is notorius for it's hot headed temperature gauge as well. Often showing temperatyre well above the official MetService one. Nelson said the temperature gauge was in a less controlled enviroment than MetService one in Levin.
It was hit by direct sunlight, and heat radiating from the building and tarmac, while MetService was isolated from such effects, he said.
"We would not expect the temperatur gauges on the Towen Clock to show the same temperature as MetService Temperature gauges.

Levins' Cllock Tower with scaffolding installed ready for tradesmen ready to repair the clock 1-3-2019

HJP 0374 Showing scaffolding require for tradesmen repairing levin towns clock 1-3-2019

Levin Post Office clock tower before the clock was installed in 1999
Levins' clock Tower before 1999

HJP 0375 17 Repairs to Levins Town clock1-3-2019 Showing Scaffolding required to access clock towe

 HJP 0376 Scaffolders who put up the scaffolding to repair Levin Towns Clock 1-3-2019 Photo courtesy Horowhenua Chronicle.Paul Williams
Levin Town Clock fixed 15-3-2019 by Paul Williams
The Levin town clock tells the right time again and the man who fixed it didn’t have to risk his life to do it.
Levin East Electrical owner Craig Procter said in the past an old ladder was the only way to gain access the clock tower. He was happy to have solid scaffolding on which to work this time.
“It’s pretty high ... there’s very few people that would have been up there,” he said.
“The scaffolding make our job pretty easy.”
In the past a hired crane would park nearby on Queen St and dangle someone from a cage so they could access the ladder, as there was no internal access to the clock.
One of the clock faces was hinged and acted as a door allowing access to the motor.
“In the old days the postmaster would get up there on the ladder,” he said
Horowhenua District Council property and parks manager Arthur Nelson said each clock face had a separate motor.

Two of the four motors had failed and the manufacturer confirmed they were all near the end of their normal service life after 10 years.

Mr Nelson said a decision was made to replace all four clocks while there was safe access to the clock. All four clock motors have now been replaced, and the clock tower lights have been replaced with LEDs.
“Although the clock is now working normally, it will occasionally show the wrong time when it is adjusting to match the world clock,” he said.
“The clock is fitted with a GPS world time controller, which is linked to a satellite. It automatically adjusts the time to match the world clock after power failures and for daylight savings time changes.

“It does this by fractionally speeding up or slowing down the clock hand movements so the time is altered over a period. When this adjustment is happening, the clock can be seen showing the incorrect time from the street.”
The clock’s temperature gauge was working although it often differed from officially recognised readings taken from a Met Service site in Mako Mako Rd.
That was because the clock was affected by direct sunlight and heat from the building and road below.
The clock was installed in 1999 with a donation from Rotary after a fundraising drive.
Repair costs were getting cheaper with time. The recent expense was $13,186. Repairs in 2009 cost $66,500, offset by a $31,000 donation from Horowhenua Community Trust.
With the clock now fixed the Levin Scaffolding crew removed the scaffolding. They placed a copy of Horowhenua Chronicle inside the clock as a memento for the next crew to open the hatch.
Every town clock needed ongoing maintenance, according to Paul O’Brien who’s company Timeworx serviced large clock systems through New Zealand.
Mr O’Brien said clocks was not immune to failure. They ran 24 every day and were often exposed to harsh environments.
“They suffer wear and tear,” he said.
“There are a lot of dead or dying clocks around New Zealand.”

HJP 0377 Mr. Roy Williams enters the Clock space to view machinery in the clock tower

HJP 0392 Craig Proctor 2 Errol McAulise both Levin East Electrical electricians who carried out repairs to the Levin Iconic Clock
HJP 0378 Nathan Rota from Levin Scaffolding works alongside the Levin Clock last week by Paul Williams 14-3-2019

Nathan Rota from Levin Scafolding is enjoying the view of Levin from the scafolding behind the Post Office clock tower.
On the lower left is the service lane behind the north side of Queen Street,then the railway line running north.

In the center is the Mitre10 building and the Queen Street and Cambridge Street roundabout.
Yellow building on the corner is Tony' Tyre Service workshop.
Center left the yellow building is the St. Marys' Anglican Church, due to be demolished in 1920, then replaced with a new church.
The high hills in the background are the Tararua ranges, the lower hills are covered with a pine tree plantations. All part of the north east side of Levin.