“E kui, e te kuini o Ingarangi, moe mai, moe mai, okioki ai.”
“Revered lady, the queen of England, go well to your place of rest.”Tauranga City Council
It seemed fitting to take a wander down to Memorial Park this weekend. Tauranga welcomed the Queen here on 9 February 1963, arriving on the Royal yacht Britannia which berthed at Coronation Pier in Mount Maunganui. A reception to honour her visit was held in the same hall [Soundshell – Memorial], I play basketball most weeks.
Snippets of History
Firstly, the Memorial Park area was initially known as “Hawaiki,” and local Kaumātua – Māori elders state this area was used for kumara gardens in the early twentieth century. Perhaps this explains the use of the name “Honolulu Beach” in 1929.
In 1936, the land was purchased from the estate of Eleanor Jordon as part of an attempt by the Tauranga Borough Council to obtain and develop land for public recreation purposes. A portion named “Jordan Field” was used as a camping ground over the summer.
In 1945, the name’ Memorial Park’ was chosen to access the New Zealand Government’s pound-for-pound subsidies for World War II war memorials.
It is not a tiny park, stretching from 7th Ave to 11th Ave, sitting prettily next to the harbour and over 11 hectares. Generations of children have enjoyed the park’s playground, which appears to have opened in the 1950s, which makes Humpty Dumpty, who sits on a wall in Memorial Park, around the same age as me.
Another reason for my walk I was overdue to pay him another visit, which motivated me to head out my door on a Sunday afternoon while the Squire had his usual afternoon sleep. Another delight for the little people is hopping on a train and viewing the park when their energy has been spent.
Toot Toot, hop on the train.
The Tauranga Model and Marine Engineering Club have been running rides at the Memorial Park railway for more than 40 years. Leaving Palmerville Station, trains come and go on Sundays, circling between the trees, through the tunnels and across the viaduct.
It’s a reasonably scenic walk from our home to Memorial Park, made more enjoyable when accompanied by the warmth of the sun and less rain. I tend to do my most productive thinking and conquer most of life’s obstacles with positive self-reinforcement when out walking.
There are plans in the making to have a waterfront walkway from the Strand [City Centre] to Memorial Park, which is approximately 1.6kms away. We shall see as our Council has much to do. In the meantime, the park is a lovely destination for a stroll and viewing the established trees and harbour.
Spring is nearly upon us.