John Carter did not runaway to join the circus – but he made a circus work for the Ashburton Museum.
Mr Carter has tackled many jobs for the museum in his 21 years as a volunteer.
One of the first was getting an old model circus to work.
Now he is on to the rates.
Not those paid now, but those in 1902: he is copying material from old council rates books on to the computer system.
It is slow but interesting work.
Mr Carter has a strong interest in history, so familiar names keep cropping up.
The museum presented Mr Carter with a cake last week by way of celebration.
When he first started helping out, he would sometimes handle incoming calls if director Rita Wright had to leave the building.
A favourite job in the early days was sorting out maps, plans and photos.
The maps were of particular interest because Mr Carter was a stock agent and had a good idea who lived where in rural Ashburton.
In some cases he was able to add information.