Thomas Kingwell Skinner: Board Member 1881 – 1902

Skinner was a Board member from 1881 to 1901 but had surveyed for the Board from its inception. He trained as a surveyor under Octavius Carrington and amongst many other things he surveyed the New Plymouth to Hawera railway in 1882.

Robert Clinton Hughes in his 1916 history of the park said the following about Skinner.

“Another person who deserves special mention is Mr T. K. Skinner, surveyor, who was appointed to the board on the resignation of Thomas Colson. With Mr. Skinner’s professional qualifications were united a great admiration for the grounds and a capacity to foresee and provide for their development on permanent lines. He cheerfully gave his time and that of his cadet to take levels and do such other survey and engineering works as were necessary. He laid out nearly all the paths.  A feature which he insisted on was to have a common level for the main paths, thus the level or altitude of the path at the Carrington Road entrance is the  same as that of the paths around the upper lake, even up as far as Brooklands. He also laid out and supervised the work of converting the swamp near the Liardet Street entrance into a Sports Ground.

He suggested and supervised the cutting away of the southern extremity of what is now called Cannon  Hill, which extended  almost to  the edge of the lake, to  provide a site for the Band Rotunda. The material was found very useful in strengthening  the dam of the large lake, the condition of which had given reason for much anxiety during many  a winter flood. The planting of the puriri trees near the rotunda was his idea. He also designed and supervised the extension of the large lake and the forming of the little islands at the upper end, and he converted the swamp beyond it into a long area of firm ground which was planted with a great variety of native trees. A love of flowers, a knowledge of native trees, unbounded enthusiasm, combined  with his engineering ability, enabled  him to render services to the public which deserve grateful acknowledgment. Mr Skinner resigned in 1902.”