The Kowai Archives is housed in the former Kowai County Council building at Balcairn, on highway 72 halfway between Amberley and Rangiora.

The 1922 District Peace Memorial building has an Historic Places classification Grade 2 and inside are Marble War Memorial plaques for World War 1 and 2.

Kowai Archives was established after Sefton Country Women’s Institute recorded recollections of older residents. The interest and community bonding was inspiring so it was decided to “collect, preserve, research and exhibit records …to illustrate and record (the) cultural history of the area.” The Kowai-Sefton Archives and the Amberley Historical Society combined and together restored the County Council building, moving in, in 1995.

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Map showing Kowai Archives