The Board was aware that the ladies of New Plymouth needed a meeting place and in 1905 decided to take action. The following article appeared in the Taranaki herald on March 22.

Recognising the need for a ladies’ room at the Recreation Ground the committee of management have had plans prepared for a suitable structure, neatly designed and convenient.

The committee have been unable so far to carry out the work owing to lack of funds but are now in a position to allocate £15 for the purpose, besides having a quantity of suitable material available. The master builders of the town on being approached have generously offered to supply the labour for the erection of the building free of cost. Before it can be put in hand, however, a further sum of £25 is required and the committee trust that the ladies of the town will interest themselves in raising this amount. A united effort would undoubtedly be successful, and enable this necessary work to be undertaken without further delay. To date the fair sex have made no move in this direction but it is hoped that the committee’s offer will be taken advantage of otherwise the proposal to add to the ground’s attractions will lapse.

The plans, which were prepared by Mr J. A. Maisey, architect, may be inspected at the office of the secretary. Mr Tribe, Egmont Street.

These provide for an attractive little structure with ladies’ retiring rooms, spacious verandas and ample seating accommodation, and there is to be a tea room attached, the dimensions of which will be 10ft by 15ft. Among the conveniences will be a large copper, which will prove of service in case of public gatherings. The tea rooms are designed with sliding doors so that upon special occasions they can be opened out and the accommodation largely augmented.

The Board used the Tea House as a meeting room in September 1905 and it was first opened as a Tea Rooms under the supervision of Mrs. Connop in November of that year.

J. A. Maisey left New Plymouth for Wellington in 1905 and the Tea House may well have been his New Plymouth swansong. He famously designed the saltwater baths at Kawaroa.

Original Tea Kiosk built in 1905

Puke Ariki PHO2008-077 (1914)

Replacing the original Tea House with a better building was discussed as early as 1919 and the Mayor Mr. Burgess donated two years of his honorarium supplemented by £100 for this purpose. This came to £400 in total. Unfortunately, the cost of building a new Tea House was still beyond the means of the Board, who made do with some minor improvements carried out in 1921.

The Park got its new Tea House in 1931 courtesy of Mr and Mrs Burgess. Mrs Burgess organised the tendering process herself and ultimately chose the final design. The Mayoral honorarium of £300 had been invested and was worth £430 in 1931, this sum was put towards the cost of the building. Mrs Burgess chose the design of Inglewood born architect Surrey Allerman and employed Frank Hartnell as the builder. The Tea House was opened on November 14, 1931, with a grand opening ceremony. The Burgesses gifted the Tea House to celebrate their Golden Wedding Anniversary. The building cost approximately £1000, but their generosity did not stop there, they also donated £150 for furnishings and later another £60 for silverware.

Before the new Tea House was constructed the old bathing shed and the old tea house were relocated. The bathing shed was moved halfway along the path leading from the Tea House to the Fernery. The old Tea House was moved along the same path closer to the entrance of the Fernery and it was repurposed as a ladies rest room and an office for the curator.

Tea House - Opening Day. Auckland Weekly News Nov 18, 1931

On the right - Mrs. Burgess at the opening day.

Below is a list of some of the Tea Rooms operators.

Old Tea Rooms
Mrs Connop          1905 – 1908
Mr Legg                1908 – 1910
Mrs Cory               1912 – 1915
Mrs Phipps           1915
Mrs Webb             1921 – 1925
Mrs Ainsworth      1925 – 1930
New Tea Rooms
Mr Burrows           1931 – 1942
Miss Price             1942 (2 months)
Mrs Pascoe           1942 – 1950
Mrs Luxton            1950 – 1957
Mabel Jensen        1957 – 1964
Lola Jane Mancer   1964 – 1970
Molly & Tom Nagle 1979 – 2005
Eurest                    2005 – 2009
Orsborn family       2009 – present