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New Taupo Museum exhibition looks back at the first IRONMAN

Take a step back in time to when one of Taupō’s most iconic events began with Taupō Museum’s IRON Taupō 1999 exhibition.

The year was 1999. Fax numbers were still commonplace, a cyber cafe in Taupō could charge $10 an hour for internet access, Cobb n Co’s sizzling steak and chips was just $14.95, and the event landscape in Taupō was about to change forever.

Just four days before the first IRONMAN event, the Taupō Times celebrated the start of what would become one of the region’s most iconic events with a newspaper supplement. IRON Taupō 1999 takes a trip down memory lane with a nostalgic look back at this snapshot in time.

The supplement was designed to welcome competitors and their supporters, celebrate locals taking part, inform the community of associated events and road closures, share stories of Taupō’s dedicated local volunteers, and show Taupō as a great destination determined to ensure the IRONMAN would return in years to come. And it did, with the 26th annual event being held this March.

Taupō Museum exhibitions officer Kerence Stephen says the supplement is not only a trip down memory lane for the IRONMAN event but for the whole era.

“It is a nostalgic look back at many of the retail and hospitality businesses in Taupō at the time. It was their support and advertising that made the supplement possible. Most of these businesses are just a memory and others are still operating today.”

Visitors to the exhibition will be encouraged to add their own memories of the first IRONMAN event and of Taupō in general in the late 90s, on the eve of a new millennium.

IRON Taupō 1999 is on show at Taupō Museum from Friday 16 February to Tuesday 2 April.

Taupō Museum is open from 10am to 4.30pm daily and entry is free for Taupō District residents with proof of address.


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