Rail Air Shed

US Marines in New Zealand

This unique Category II heritage Building (registration No 4961) was originally built as a supply depot for the Marines in 1942 and called the Commissary. The building was hurriedly put together by the Public Works Department in 1942 as the Rail Depot for the three large Marine camps.

Building materials, food and equipment to support thousands of men were distributed from this Depot. The South end contained refrigerated rooms for perishables. At the end of 1943 the Second Marine Division left the camps to fight in the Battle of Tarawa.

In the 1950s and 1960s the Rail Air Shed played a key role in inter-island airfreight operations. Cargo from the South Island was delivered to the shed, then lashed to pallets, trucked to Paraparaumu Airport and rolled by conveyor belt through the waiting doors of a Bristol freighter bound for Blenheim.

The shed has been owned by Steam Incorporated since 1972 when it took over its current site on the main trunk-line rail corridor from what was then New Zealand Railways. The Society now uses the shed for storage and as a carpentry centre for its restoration activities.

The Rail Air Shed is our largest surviving piece of 1940’s Marine infrastructure. It is one of three key buildings in the Paekākāriki Rail-heritage precinct. The other two, the Category 1 Signal Box and the Railway Station have been restored and painted, with help from professionals, volunteers and heritage funding.

Marines chalk drawings on the walls of the Air Shed

US Marines in New Zealand

US Marines in New Zealand