TODAY |

Musician moves from Auckland to Whanganui and takes on quaint elevator role

In the golden days, an elevator ride came with a snappily dressed attendant.

Your playlist will load after this ad

These days we're usually expected to find our own way. Source: Seven Sharp

Someone who'd ensure you got to the right floor and wished you well on your disembarkation.

These days we're expected to find our own way, but not so in Whanganui - home of a century-old elevator and a fabulous attendant.

Anthonie Tonnon moved from Auckland to Whanganui to focus on his music, but that’s not the only craft he’s attending to.

Tonnon is also Durie Hill’s elevator assistant, welcoming tourists onto the lift.

The Durie Hill elevator. Source: Seven Sharp

The public transport service was opened in 1919, to enable the hilltop residents to get into town and back.

Access at ground level is via a passageway and was completed in 1917.

"Technically an adit, because it's not a tunnel, because it doesn't have two exits at ground level," Tonnon explained.

"It took about two years to dig, and it caved in at least once along the way. And you must remember they were digging this 213-metre space in the First World War, during a labour and materials shortage."

The 55-second ride costs adults $2 and children only $1 – dogs and bikes are also allowed.

Tonnon is also a musician with his third album, Leave Love Out Of This, out next Friday, but visitors won’t hear any music on board Whanganui’s charming old lift.

"I have a philosophical position on that. I believe music has no place on public transport. It's important to allow all users to mediate their own experience," he said.