The Whangarei Model Engineering Club is based at Heritage Park, Maunu, Whangarei.
Its early years were at Tarewa Park, Whangarei.
The club's beginnings were from a meeting arranged by the Whangarei South Rotary Club. The meeting was held in the Whangarei Intermediate School Library on Thursday 26 April 1979 at 7:30pm. John Bonetti outlined Rotary’s involvement in a project to install a Miniature Steam Railway in Tarewa Park. Rotary had raised $1500 for the project.
Following this meeting the Whangarei Model Engineering Club was set up and gained its Incorporation in December 1980.
The plan for the track was tabled and approval was received from the Whangarei City Council.
Track work had started by November 1979. Rotary was involved in building the first loop and a small station/storage building and the club then took over to complete the track work.
By April 1980 the tunnel was completed and a third of the track had been laid. The station only needed the roof and doors to be fitted. The track and facilities where officially opened on 23rd November 1980 by then Councillor Joyce Ryan. Joyce became the mayor for Whangarei and she was asked to become the club's patron.
Work continued to complete the second loop and a larger station/clubrooms was built.
In 1997 the club had outlived the Tarewa Park site, and with all the problems from vandals it was decided to uplift the track and move to Heritage Park, Maunu.
The club had many options of where to lay a new track at Heritage Park, and the present layout was decided on after many long discussions.
Using the track uplifted from Tarewa Park, the track was laid around the mountain and the steam-up bays were built with a rise and fall turntable.
The club was soon back in business giving rides to children of all ages.
In 2001 we were able to get funding from the ASB Trusts and extended the track by 700 metres. This included a 25-metre tunnel, a 23-metre viaduct and a small bridge.
In 2004 we again received funding from the ASB, Pub Charities and Southern Trust to help with the building of the Station/Clubhouse. This building was officially opened in January 2005.
The hard work put in by club members means the public is now offered a great experience on a very good track.