Park a pop­u­lar spot since the 1920s

More His­tor­i­cal Dis­cov­er­ies of Waihı¯ Beach, Bowen­town and Athen­ree Ex­hi­bi­tion will fea­ture at Waihı¯ Beach in Jan­uary. Or­gan­iser Mar­i­lyn Roberts is sup­ply­ing sto­ries of lo­cal in­for­ma­tion in the lead-up to the his­tor­i­cal ex­hi­bi­tion, which has been post­pon

Hauraki-Coromandel Post - - News - North End : Po¯hutukawa Park — Sup­plied by Mar­i­lyn Roberts

Joe An­der­son in the hine­muri Re­gional His­tory Jour­nal 10, Oc­to­ber 1968, wrote: “On 18-9-41 Mrs. Shaw gave the north­ern part of her prop­erty as a do­main. This area of 655 acres is known to-day as the Orakawa Do­main, and what a lovely Do­main it is, mostly cov­ered with na­tive bush, which in­cludes Kauri, Rimu, Puriri and some of the big­gest white teatree to be seen. At the head of a gully that runs from Shark Bay there is a puriri tree that is re­puted to be one of the big­gest in N.Z. When I last saw it the lower limbs had grown so big that they had shorn off the trunk and the tree looked as though it might die. If we take a walk to the top of the Orakawa Hill in De­cem­ber, we can look down on that bay with its coarse white sand and a fringe of Po­hutukawa trees in bloom and see a very pretty sight. We are well served with re­serves and do­mains at the beach and the ratepay­ers have rea­son to be grate­ful to Mrs. Shaw for her great gift.”

Orakawa Re­serve is well known as a place for hikes, walks and en­joy­ment of na­tive bush. Fringed to the west and south are two ar­eas man­aged by Bay of Plenty parks and re­serves; one is where the Trigg Walk is and the other Po¯hutukawa Park.

Po¯hutukawa Park has been a pop­u­lar place for re­cre­ation since the 1920s.

The shore­line to the north end was quite dif­fer­ent a hun­dred or more years ago to that to­day. Shift­ing sands change shore­lines. The trees on the slope of the park seen on pho­tos of the 1920s to 40s have been largely re­moved over the years, and a na­tive for­est planted at the back.

In the early days Po¯hutukawa Park was used for graz­ing. Mrs Shaw grazed her pigs there, and later Snow and Pearl Ma­jors’ fa­mous 1950s don­keys. In the 1940s and later Arthur Leech grazed his sheep there.

The most public use the park had in the 1920s and 30s were the pic­nics. Pos­si­bly this was be­cause it pro­vided shel­ter. In the 30s and 40s peo­ple would dress in their best, park their cars un­der the trees and re­lax.

In the 1930s the ten­nis club and the bowl­ing green were de­vel­oped in the left-hand south­ern cor­ner. And it was in the 1950s that the au­di­to­rium Sound­shell was moved there.

The orig­i­nal sound­shell was be­hind the orig­i­nal surf club. Crowds sat on wooden planks be­neath the po¯hutukawa trees and were “privy to some of the best bands of the day”.

The sound­shell was re­lo­cated to Po¯hutukawa Park in 1957 when the roller-skat­ing rink was built. The skat­ing-rink con­crete later be­came the base for the new surf club build­ing in 1971.

One­muri Coun­cil records show con­sent for the build­ing in Novem­ber 29, 1974 but records prior to 1974 are miss­ing. The ap­pli­ca­tion was made for a “per­ma­nent Sound­shell”, which pos­si­bly means that the ear­lier struc­ture in the 50s and 60s may not have been con­sid­ered per­ma­nent.

The build­ing was at that point owned by the Pro­gres­sive As­so­ci­a­tion which later dis­banded and roles of the as­so­ci­a­tion merged into the Waihı¯ Beach Events and Pro­mo­tions Inc which took over the guardian­ship of the build­ing.

Over the decades it pro­vided for lo­cal en­ter­tain­ment, bands, Christ­mas fes­tiv­i­ties, Miss Waihı¯ Beach, tag wrestling, fundrais­ers and oth­ers which, when asked, evoke mem­o­ries for those who were there,

It was al­ways a sim­ple struc­ture — a con­crete block shell with a roof over the top and two chang­ing rooms out the back — but the years haven’t been kind and it’s in need of a ren­o­va­tion to­day.

The Waihı¯ Beach Ten­nis Courts Club was built in one cor­ner in 1948 and the Waihı¯ Beach Bowl­ing Club be­side. When the Waihı¯ Beach Bowl­ing Club was moved to the RSA in 2000, the ten­nis club bought the land and cre­ated two more courts.

Be­hind the ten­nis courts is a piece of bush planted by Arthur Leech. Archibald Leech was a Waihı¯ con­ser­va­tion­ist whose plant­ings are ev­i­dent to­day. Archibald Leech (1880 — 1972) was a Cantabrian who moved to Waihı¯ in 1921 af­ter he served in World War I. He mar­ried in 1922 and worked ini­tially as a bush worker, but for most of his years he was a gold miner who bought and sold land, and prop­a­gated plants. He re­tired at Waihı¯ Beach in his later years to live with his daugh­ter.

In the 1940s he leased the land be­hind the ten­nis courts to run his sheep, us­ing the graz­ing land from there across to Orakawa. A res­i­dent re­mem­bers him of­fload­ing the sheep from the back of a truck and off they went. There were no trees there then.

Arthur Leech planted the first set, kauri in the 1940s, and ev­ery year an­other set of na­tives were added, un­til it was no longer a graz­ing area but a na­tive for­est.

Some re­mem­ber sheep graz­ing among the im­ma­ture trees.

There is a plaque to the left of the for­est fringe be­hind the ten­nis club which com­mem­o­rates his work. It is a large stone set on a base which is in­scribed, “Leech Grove: This fine col­lec­tion of na­tive trees was planted by the late Archie Leach to whom we are in­debted”.

His Johnny Ap­ple­seed pas­sion is ev­i­dent in other plant­ings he in­sti­gated. He planted hy­drangea ar­bo­rium in a small area to the right above Po¯hutukawa Park, whose de­scen­dants are still vis­i­ble to­day.

He also planted hy­drangeas above Cave Baby at An­zac Bay which are less con­spic­u­ous.

He had a hand in the scat­ter­ing of Nor­folk pine along the shores on the cen­tral part of the beach, the palm trees in Waihı¯, and also the cir­cu­lar set of po¯hutukawa at An­zac Bay that pic­nick­ers park un­der to­day.

The Vestry of the Whanga­mata Angli­can Church on be­half of the Angli­can Op Shop re­cently ap­proved the fol­low­ing do­na­tions: Whanga­mata Scouts $500, Whanga­mata Area School Prin­ci­pals Fund $500, Fire Ser­vice So­cial Club $500, Com­mu­nity Gar­dens $300, Dot­terel Group $300, West­pac Coro­man­del He­li­copter fund $500 Com­mu­nity Health (X-ray fa­cil­ity) $500 and the Drop in Cen­tre $300.

These do­na­tions were made pos­si­ble by the sup­port of the

Whanga­mata Com­mu­nity who have do­nated gen­er­ously to the Angli­can Op Shop in Ocean Rd, Whanga­mata. So thank you to the peo­ple of our town for their con­tin­u­ing do­na­tions of saleable goods to the Op Shop. We are in­deed for­tu­nate in Whanga­mata to have such sup­port.

Feel­ing low, up­set, or gen­er­ally not okay? Con­tact Whanga­mata Com­mu­nity Ser­vices Trust.

We of­fer high-qual­ity coun­selling, so­cial work, oc­cu­pa­tional ther­apy, bud­get­ing ser­vices and med­i­cal drives, and are a ded­i­cated team fo­cused on pos­i­tive shifts and out­comes that are tan­gi­ble and work to as­sure your ther­a­peu­tic jour­ney is pos­i­tive and em­pow­er­ing.

WCST proudly pro­vides a sup­port­ive and un­der­stand­ing en­vi­ron­ment for in­di­vid­u­als strug­gling with life’s chal­lenges.

You can en­joy a range of clin­i­cally proven ther­a­pies that have shown to pro­duce amaz­ing re­sults for peo­ple who have PTSD, anx­i­ety, de­pres­sion, trauma, grief and stress. WCST cre­ates a sup­port­ive and non-judg­men­tal space for clients to work through per­sonal chal­lenges. It al­ways wel­comes in­di­vid­u­als of all walks of life.

If this sounds like some­thing you’d like to ex­plore please con­tact the of­fice: 07 8657065 9am-3pm. Mon­day to Fri­day.

Photo / Sup­plied Ke­van Walsh Col­lec­tion.

Po¯hutukawa Park in the 1900s.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.