History of King Edward Park
The newly formed Hāwera Town Board proposed to set aside a 28-acre section as a recreational reserve.
In response to representations from members of the public at the May 1902 council meeting it was agreed that the recreation ground at the north end of High Street should be developed into a park. The park would be named King Edward Park to mark the coronation of King Edward VII. An oak tree planted by Mayoress Mrs Robbins on opening day 26 June 1902 still exists, alongside another planted the same day to commemorate the relief of Mafeking
The park’s wrought iron entrance gates commemorating the Hawera Industrial Exhibition erected. Charles Goodson appointed as chairman of reserves committee.
The parks first Caretaker Alexander McNeil appointed and the smaller side gates in memory of those troops from the Hāwera district who died during the South African (Boer) War 1899-1902 were installed.
Approval was granted for the erection of the statue commemorating Arthur Albert Fantham. The statue’s foundation plinth was installed at the end of November 1907 and the statue was erected and unveiled early in 1908.
The first custodian’s house was built in the Park.
The Band Rotunda, Paddling Pool and cannon were all installed in the Park.
Begun two years previously, the model boating lake was completed and opened.
The Park Croquet club was established on the site of the current children’s playground.
J M Townsend, replaced Charles Goodson as chairman of the reserves committee and relocated the tennis courts, croquet club and cricket grounds.
HRH the Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII, visited the Park on 3 May and met Hāwera’s Victoria Cross winners, 2nd Lieutenants John Grant and “Harry” Laurent.
Park Bowling club established.
Work began on the planning and construction of the Parkinson Bequest Fernery, which was officially opened on 28 February 1923.
WG Strange succeeded Mr Townsend as chairman of the reserves committee.
After more than two decades in the Park custodian Arthur Lay was succeeded by Donald Ross on October 17. New cricket wickets installed.
James E Campbell elected mayor. With his encouragement the camp grounds were established and many other improvements to the Park made.
125 Evergreen or Holm oak (Quercus Ilex) trees were planted along the park boundary.
A seedling grown from an acorn from an oak tree at Royal Lodge, Windsor, was planted in the Park by Sir Stenson Cooke, Secretary of the Automobile Association (AA) of Great Britain.
A public thanksgiving service celebrating New Zealand’s centenary was held in the Park on 17 March.
James (Jim) Edmondston was appointed chairman of the reserves’ committee.
The Wendy Statue, commissioned by the widow of former mayor James Campbell, was unveiled.
The band rotunda was converted to become the King Edward Park Observatory and the Charles Goodson Memorial Garden was planted by the Hawera Horticultural Society with an extensive collection of rhododendrons and azaleas.
After 33 years in the Park as its custodian, Donald Ross retired and was succeeded by Harry Beveridge on 18 June.
Plans were approved for a new ‘lodge’ as a residence for the Superintendent of Parks and Reserves, replacing the cottage that had served his predecessors. The Parkinson bequest fernery was converted by superintendent Beveridge into the Willow Pattern Garden.
The Jessie Buchanan Memorial Rose Garden was opened on 29 October 1968.
The Park Croquet and Bowling clubs were relocated to the former technical high school site in High Street allowing development of Hawera High School.
The King Edward Park Swimming pool complex opened, replacing the old facilities in Albion Street.
New facilities were built at the motor camp, Harry Beveridge resigned and William Chrichton was appointed superintendent of parks and reserves.
William Chrichton moved to Wanganui and was replaced by Ross Cantwell as parks superintendent.
Ross Cantwell resigned and in August was replaced by Stan Foster, who had previously curated parks in Porirua and Wellington. The adventure playground, was completed by the Hawera Lions Club.
The same club worked in with the TSB trust to build the pirate ship to commemorate the international year of the child.
The Hawera Lioness Club sponsored the construction and planting of a scented garden for the blind.
A carnival held in the park on 9 November celebrated the opening of the toddlers’ playground, which was promoted by the South Taranaki District Parents’ Centre and built with the help of Hillary commission funding.
Provincial of Women Division of Federated Farmers (now Rural Women) donated three Kate Sheppard Camellias commemorating the centenary of women’s suffrage.
The park hosted the first of its annual National radio controlled small ships regattas over Labour weekend. Council transferred the park’s upkeep to a business unit as a maintenance contract.
The paddling pool, was filled with shell rock to create a petanque court and a plaque was installed at the base of the park’s largest totara tree to celebrate its being a wintering over tree for monarch butterflies. A raised garden opposite the arboreal area was installed and the hebe collection, previously in that area, relocated to Naumai Park.
The Newstalk ZB Concert on the Lake and fireworks display was held in February as well as the inaugural Arts in the Park outdoor exhibition featuring artists, craftspeople and buskers. The Stan Lay Entrance to the Park was opened.
Wendys from all over the country visited the Park in March to celebrate Wendy Week and the 50th birthday of the Wendy Statue.
The Larcom Bequest Garden was completed.
New children’s play ground equipment installed and new toilet block erected near High Street entrance.
King Edward Park was the first park in New Zealand to be declared smokefree.
Mayors Mary Bourke and Shi Zhongxin plant a Ginkgo tree to commemorate the sister city relationship between South Taranaki and Harbin in northern China.
David Bruce appointed Parks’ Curator and tasked with redesigning and redeveloping the Park. The historic gates were lifted out and taken away to be repaired and refurbished. They were returned in time for Christmas 2009.
The former superintendents’ lodge was sold and transported off site. The scented garden demolished but re-established as part of the new Wedding Garden.
The Petanque court (formerly Maclam’s Lake) re excavated and restored as an ornamental pool.
Parks Team brought back in house, New parks depot and nursery facilities built on former park nursery site;
Children’s playground extended with “insect” toys and rainbow bridge, new electric barbecue and shelter installed.
Palm garden removed and new stage built behind former croquet pavilion in time for Arts in the park. Project to bring an avenue of lights through the Park begins with first light turned on at Carols by Candlelight concert in December.
TSB avenue of lights completed and floodlight installed to illuminate Wendy Statue. KEP awarded 4 stars and recognition as a Garden of Regional Significance by the New Zealand Gardens Trust
Victoria Cross Garden - to commemorate VC winners Harry Laurent and John Grant built adjacent to the park.in partnership with Hawera RSA. KEP participated for the first time in Taranaki Garden Festival and received international recognition with Green Flag Award.
King Edward Park awarded 5 stars and recognition as a Garden of National Significance by the New Zealand Gardens Trust. New waterplay addition to Children’s playground.