Robert Clinton Hughes tabled the question “Is there any land available for recreation?” at the Provincial Council meeting in January.

A petition asking for recreation land signed by 112 prominent local residents was presented to the Provincial Council.

Thomas Kelly, Provincial Secretary, identified land to be set aside for a  recreation area and town water supply.

Kelly introduced legislation to create a recreation area to be controlled by the Town Board.

The Town Board rejected the proposal, they did not want to burden the ratepayers.

Kelly modified the bill to place the Recreation Grounds under the control of a Board of Trustees.

The bill passed and was the last piece of legislation of the Provincial Council.

The members of the Board of Trustees were gazetted.

A premium of £5 was offered for the best design for laying out the grounds.

Mr Reginald Bayley’s design for the layout of the Recreation Grounds was accepted. 

The Board agreed to lease one acre of land to Mr Breidecker for a vineyard.

The Board unsuccessfully tried to get control of sections 1065 and 1084 to enable good access from Carrington Road (now Victoria Road).

Isaac Broad left the Board due to lack of attendance and was replaced by Thomas Colson.

A tender was let to Newell and James to clear Furze.

A tender was let to Huggett & Co to make some ditch and bank boundary fencing.


A Survey of the boundary was completed.

The Board tried to acquire sections 1065 &1084 but was told that they were not available.

A Furze cutting tender was accepted.

Work commenced on the ditch and bank fencing.

Pegging out of paths commenced.

Charles Tapp’s tender for constructing footpaths was accepted.

A decision was made to make the main entrance at Liardet Street.

The first pathway was formed, probably from Liardet St Entrance to Cannon Hill.

On May 29th, the formal opening took place, centred around Cannon Hill.

The Taranaki Botanic Garden Act 1876 was read for first time in the House.

In September the Taranaki Botanic Garden Act 1876 was finally passed in the House.

Two thousand shrubs were received from Canterbury Domain.

The boundary fence between the Recreation Ground and Brooklands was completed.

Charles Carnell was employed for two days a week as custodian.

Sections 1172 and 1175 (including cottages) were purchased.


Captain R. J. Collins left the Board to take up a position with the Government in Wellington. Reginald Bayley was appointed in his place.

A request for Prison labour was made to the Borough Council.

There was a fire in the Recreation Grounds. 

J. T. Davis donated two Sequiadendron giganteum (still in the park 2022).

Breidecker’s vines were damaged.

A dam design was received from Thomas Kelly.

A fundraising Bazaar was held.

A tender was issued for the excavation of the main lake dam foundation.


Dam construction started.

An under-sluice was added to the dam design.

The dam was completed.

A pleasure boat to place in the newly formed lake was gifted to Recreation Grounds.

Shrubs were donated by Messrs. Mitchinson, Skinner, Butterworth, L.A. Hammerton and S. Howell.

A Black Swan was donated by Mr W. Colson of Kakaramea.

The Custodian position was advertised. Twenty shillings a week.

Bathing in the lake was proposed by a group of residents which was allowed with three conditions attached. They had to build a bathing shed, issue season tickets and bathing was only allowed before 8am.



A committee was formed to erect the bathing house.

The Board gave the go-ahead for construction of the bathing house.

Paradise ducks were released into the lake.

A tender was issued for erection of the bathing house.

The bathing house was erected.

The first swimming competition in the Recreation Ground’s lake was held.

Mr. J. Gilmour resigned, and Mr. R. H. Thompson was nominated to take his place.

Thomas King resigned.

A swimming club was formed.

The first swimming club organised competition was held.


Plants were donated by Mr. George Duncan.

Captain Davidson was appointed to Board in place of Thomas King.

The Board agreed to set aside a portion of the lake for ladies bathing.

A motion to take over control of the Recreation Grounds was tabled in the Borough Council meeting then later withdrawn.

Vitis californica seeds were gifted to the park.

Trout ova were received for the Recreation Grounds lake.

The Recreation Grounds Board was presented with Water Lilies.


A Fancy Fair fundraiser was held.

A decision was made to start reclaiming the swamp for croquet.

Reginald Bayley resigned, and the Board recommended that Mr J. B. Roy replace him.

E. H. Thompson’s seat was rendered vacant due to lack of attendance and Dr. Gibbes was recommended as his replacement.

Mr Mitchinson offered a thousand plants to the Board.

Thomas Colson resigned, and T. K. Skinner was recommended for the vacancy.

1100 trees were planted during the season.

Work started on reclaiming the swamp inside the Liardet Street entrance, the fill came from a hill outside the main gates in Liardet Street.

A plant donation was received from Melbourne Botanical Garden.

Trout were spotted in Recreation Grounds lake.


Salmon were seen in the main lake.

Professor Furlong donated two statues which were mounted in the lake and a fountain in what is now the Hatchery Lawn.

The waterfall in the SW corner of the Hatchery Lawn was constructed.

Robert Clinton Hughes had a small lake constructed. The location was probably at the north-west corner of the present Fountain Lake.

The Board threatened to hand over Recreation Grounds to Borough Council due to a lack of subsidy.

A tender was accepted for filling in the swamp.

Filling of the Swamp commenced.

Bandstand plans were presented to the Board, and it got the go ahead.


The dam in the Hughes pond was breached.

Ye Old English Fayre fundraising effort was organised and was very successful.

Designs for The Poet’s Bridge were called for.

H. V. Barclay’s design was chosen for The Poet’s Bridge.

Hooker and Campbell were awarded the contract for bridge construction.

Bridge construction was started.


The Poet’s Bridge was opened.

Professor Furlong donated one of Dicky Barrett’s cannons to the Recreation Grounds.

A promise of double iron gates for the Liardet Street entrance was made by Mr. Rhind.

The dam in the Hughes Pond was repaired.

Two unoccupied cottages in the Recreation Grounds were removed. Probably on sections 1172 and 1175.

Mr J.  Revell (Blacksmith) completed making the Rhind gates for the Liardet Street entrance.


Furlong’s statues in the main lake were both destroyed.

The name Egmont Park was adopted for the Recreation Ground as suggested by James Davidson. Unfortunately, it had to be withdrawn because of the way the Board was constituted.

James Davidson committed suicide and J. T. Davis took over as Chairman of the Board.

A rugby Club was given permission to use the Recreation Grounds for practice.

The Government appointed Mr. F.  P.  Corkill to the Board.

Chew Chong donated a flagstaff  that was a salvaged mast from the Australind. It was erected on Cannon Hill.

Seats were erected around the flagstaff.

The decision was made to erect the Bandstand.

New iron gates at the Liardet Street Entrance gifted by Mr. Rhind were completed at some time in 1885. (These are the gates now at the Victoria Road Entrance)

Mayor James Paul donated £25 to kickstart the Band Rotunda fund.


Scott Bros of Christchurch were asked to quote to supply a Band Rotunda designed by James Sanderson of New Plymouth.

Lake cleaning and enlarging started.

Section 1086 was purchased giving access to the waterfall (current location of waterwheel).

The flagstaff was struck by lightning.

Ladies were allowed to bathe from 8am—11am (except Sundays) and a red flag system was introduced.

The Band Rotunda was to go ahead helped by a £25 donation from Mr J. Paul.


Band Rotunda earthworks were completed, and construction of the base was started.

One of Dicky Barrett’s cannons was mounted on the path near the lake.

Mr W. L. Newman donated a cannon to the Recreation Grounds.

The Band Rotunda base was used for the first time during Queen Victoria’s Jubilee celebrations.

A third cannon was donated to the Recreation Grounds.

The Jockey Club offered for sale five acres of land adjoining the park.


 Purchase of the Band Rotunda was put on hold due to a lack of funds.


 Dr. Gibbes resigned and Richard Cock’s name was submitted as his replacement.

Mr. Richard Cock joined the Board of Trustees.

A Sports Ground committee was formed with the aim of developing the swamp over a seven-year period.

T. K. Skinner produced plans for the new sports ground.

The clearing of the swamp got under-way in preparation for earthworks in the new year.


George Brothers won the tender for forming an athletics track.

The Board tried to acquire Section 1084 via a land transfer. This is the section that the Victoria Road Gates are on. Records show the transfer did not happen until 1894.

Mr Hughes Senior offered to fix and complete the Liardet Street entrance gates. These are the gates that still stand at the Victoria Road entrance.

An inaugural Sports Day took place on the new track.

Liardet Street entrance improvements were completed.

A tender Notice was issued for erection of the Band Rotunda.


T Bond & Co were given the job of erecting the Band Rotunda.

The Band Rotunda arrived in New Plymouth from Christchurch.

There were further improvements to the sports ground with a fence being built to keep spectators off the sports field.

A track to the waterfall (now waterwheel) and a bridge were completed.

Taranaki celebrated 50 years following the arrival of the first European settlers on March 30th, 1841.

The Band Rotunda was completed in time for New Plymouth’s Jubilee celebrations.

The Board initiated the purchase a block of land on Fillis Street formerly Native Reserve No 12.

J. T. Davis. Drowned in the main lake.

Reginald Bayley donated an old cannon.


Mr C. W. Govett was appointed to the Board to replace James Davis.        

The north end of the main lake was modified (rounded off) to make the promenade wider in front of the Bandstand.

The public were invited to take charge of flower beds. Mrs Hursthouse was the first to offer.

Cricketers laid down the first cricket wicket.

Mr Archibald Hood planted a maze of 3 – 4,000 Boxthorn plants.

The first cricket match was played on the Sports Ground pitch.


The facing of Cannon Hill and putting the cannons on the hill was completed.

Whale bones arrived at the Recreation Grounds.

Work started on forming Fountain Lake.

Dr Hector of the Colonial Museum produced a sketch for laying out the whale bones.

Fountain Lake was completed and filled for the first time.

Around this time section 1084 was finally secured.


The Boatshed and Boatshed Bridge were completed around this time.

Working bees were initiated to thin out pine trees in the Recreation Grounds.

The Recreation Ground Board acquired section 1135 from Reginald Bayley for £16 16s.

Mr J. B. Roy resigned.

Mr W. L. Newman was appointed to the Board of Trustees.

Archibald Hood’s fairy-tale – Johnny Fro – went on sale.


The first Arbor Day Planting in the Recreation Grounds happened in 1895.

The Swimming Club was wound up.

Archibald Hood became ill, but volunteers were found to take care of the maze.

A drowning in the lake witnessed by Darby Claffey led to his dismissal.


Charles Edgecombe was appointed custodian.

Taranaki’s first Floral Fete was held in the park


The Sports Committee was dissolved.

Queen Victoria’s Jubilee Fountain was unveiled.

A dressing room was built for the Sports Ground.

Martha King left her estate to the Recreation Ground Board. She was a famous Botanical Artist.

Robert Mace was appointed assistant curator.


A large collection of native trees and bushes was donated by T. K. Skinner.

A Floral Fete was held in the park.

Darby Claffey died.


Manhattan Island was constructed and planted out.

Taranaki Volunteers held a camp in the park.

The Floral Fete was an aquatic one this year with the competitors decorating gondolas.

The City Band had its inaugural swimming tournament.

A new swimming club was formed to get lake access in the evenings.

There were enough native plants in the ground’s nursery for the 1899 planting season.

The Borough Council made noises about having representation on the board.

Section 1182 on the corner of Gover and Rogan Streets was exchanged with a piece of land owned by the Jockey Club.

Board member W. L. Newman donated six iron garden chairs.


The old maze site was planted out with 200 trees.

The Board agreed to allow a Trooper’s memorial (Wiggins memorial) to be erected in the grounds.

A new track to Vogeltown was constructed.

The Board pressed the Borough Council to increase its subsidy and suggested that the Council could have representation on the recreation Ground board.


The Borough Council was invited to elect two of its members to sit on the Recreation Ground Board.

Curator (Edgecombe) was sent to Raglan to collect native plants.

Zinc tablets were introduced for tree name tags.

Some Jockey Club land was transferred to the Recreation Ground. Part Block D (Part of Carrington’s original Green Belt).

Kauri Timber Co of Auckland donated two substantial kauri spars to be made into a flagstaff.

Sash & Door Company donated 500 ft of 2-inch planking for seating.

There was a memorial service for Queen Victoria.


T.K. Skinner resigned from the Board of Trustees.

S. Percy Smith was appointed to the Board of Trustees.

A National band contest was held in the grounds.

Fishponds were established for rearing trout.

E. M. Smith M.H.R donated six white swans.

5000 Rainbow Trout fry were released into the ponds

There was another push to rename the grounds.


 The first trout from the Recreation Ground ponds were released into local rivers.

The Board granted permission to build the Wiggins memorial.

The Board started selling Pinus insignus trees to local contractors.


Borough councillors were selected to sit on the Recreation Ground Board.

E H Tribe was appointed Secretary and Treasurer of the Recreation Ground Board.

The first provincial soccer match in Taranaki was played at the Recreation Ground.

Concrete pedestals were put down for cannons on Cannon Hill.


A spar (mainmast salvaged from the shipwrecked Gairloch) was donated to Recreation Grounds to be used as a flagstaff.

The go-ahead was given to build a tea house.

There was mention of building a fish hatchery, but it did not happen until 1921.

The Tea House was completed, designed by John Arthur Maisey.

Robert Mace was appointed custodian and the assistant custodian job was advertised.

Mr W Pycroft junior was employed as assistant caretaker.

A new sports committee was formed to make improvements to the Sports Ground.


The Sports Ground Committee took over the development of the sports ground.

Robert Govett made a bequest of £100.

Plans for the Sports Ground improvements were drawn up by Messrs Sladden & Palmer. Estimate £1200.

A commemorative tablet to deceased donors was erected on the south face of Cannon Hill.

Earth from the railway realignment cutting in Molesworth Street was brought to the Sports Ground for raising its level.

A Richard Seddon memorial service attracted 3000 people to the grounds.

A trade exhibition and garden party fundraiser for the Sports Ground took place under patronage of Lord Plunket.


New terraces were cut on all sides of the Sports Ground and the playing area was increased.

The Sports Ground terraces were turfed.

The Recreation Grounds Board passed a resolution to change the name to Pukekura Park.

Work started on extending the main lake towards Brooklands (Serpentine).

The Board received a bequest from Mrs Broham’s estate.


The improved Sports Grounds was officially opened on January 1, 1908.

Robert Mace resigned and William Walter Smith was employed as curator.

Powerful Electric Arc Lamps were installed at the Sports Ground.

The Sports Ground hosted the New Zealand Championship Athletics Meeting.

The Serpentine was constructed.

W. W. Smith started developing the Gilbert Street Entrance area.

The Sports Ground Committee purchased a new roller.

New bridges were constructed at the waterfall near the Gilbert Street entrance (now the waterwheel).

W. W. Smith started developing a fernery on Manhattan Island.

The Wisteria pergola (bower) next to the Tea House was constructed by Percy Smith.

Work started on Central School swimming pool behind the Tea House.

The Borough Council increased its subsidy so that the Board could increase W. W. Smith’s wages.

The Taranaki ruby team beat a touring British side.


The memorial tablet on Cannon Hill was defaced. Lead was removed from the lettering.

A scheme to give unemployed men work was started

Work started on filling a swamp which is now called Sunken Dell.

The voting rights of the council representatives was questioned by councillor F. Bellringer.

The Acclimatisation Society constructed four new ponds in the park.

In July, Richard Cock was appointed Chairman of the Board taking over from F. P. Corkill.


New ponds were constructed by the Taranaki Acclimatisation Society and permission was granted to build a hatchery. Unfortunately, the society came up short with funds. The hatchery was not constructed until 1921.

The Central School pool in Pukekura Park was finally abandoned as the spring feeding pool the dried up.

Walter Smith and Percy Smith collected native plants from Government reserves.

The Taranaki cricket team held an Australian 11 to a draw.

The Board granted permission for a Tennis and Croquet Club to be built on Carrington Road (later Victoria Rd).

  1. W. Smith advertised to buy kiwis.

There was a memorial service for King Edward VII who died on May 6, 1910.


Around this time Walter Smith successfully bred Kiwi.

The Park Tennis and Croquet Club opened.

Richard Cock vacated his position as chairman and Harris Ford was appointed.


E. H. Tribe resigned as Secretary.

A Park Saturday fundraising collection was introduced.

There were more discussions about handing over the park to the council.

Mr Tippins the Council Inspector was employed by the Board to catch people breaking bylaws.

A new rose bed was planted behind the tea house.

Fish races around the trout rearing ponds were dismantled as the Acclimatisation Society were no longer using the ponds.

The Diving Board was removed.

A new path was made from the Vogeltown Entrance to the Racecourse.

Walter Smith continued planting ferns on Manhattan Island.

In June Harris Ford resigned as chairman and C. W. Govett was appointed in his place.



A plan of the Park was compiled by the Survey Department showing the Park to be 55 acres.

G. W. Govett died, and was replaced by C. H. Drew.

W. W. Smith developed the Sunken Dell and extended the Lily Pond (Hatchery Lawn).

The old fish races were filled in to form a curved walkway near the Lily Pond.


A meteorological station was installed in the park near the curator’s house on Victoria Road.

The curator shot several shags as they were too numerous and were eating all the carp.

A lawnmower was purchased. Until this time the lawns were cut with a scythe.

Claffey Walk was formed from the John Street (Rogan Street) entrance and round the back of the eastern terrace of the Sports Ground.


The Park Board took over the running of the Sports Ground.

Park Saturdays were reinstated.

An emergency water supply was taken from the racecourse.

Robert Clinton Hughes wrote a history of the Park.

Mrs. Hulke made a bequest of £100.


Holdsworthy Road at the southern boundary of the Park became part of the Park.

The wooden boat landing in front of the Band Rotunda was replaced by concrete steps designed by Frank Messenger.

The small wooden waterfall structure and basin near the Lily Pond was replaced with a concrete one designed by Frank Messenger.

Palms were planted in the Palm Lawn area and were supplied by Clement Wragge of Auckland.

Electric lights were installed around part of the main lake.

A hot water fountain was installed behind the Band Rotunda.

A bequest of £100 was received from C. W. Govett.

E. H. Tribe resigned as secretary and was replaced by Alfred Grey.

A pergola was constructed by the Sports Ground.


W. L. Newman resigned from the Board, having been a member since 1894.

Mrs C. H. Burgess was appointed to the Board to replace Newman.

A motor gymkhana to raise funds was organised and was successful.

The Board gave the racecourse a piece of land to build a new curator’s cottage. The house still stands at the back of the TSB Stadium carpark.

Percy Smith resigned from the Board.

The curator started to develop a fernery somewhere in the region of the current fernery.


A men’s toilet block was built by the old tea rooms.

A pergola was built at the base of Cannon Hill, on the northeast side.

W. C. Weston was appointed to the Board to replace Percy Smith, who had resigned the previous year.

Albert Grey resigned as Secretary of the Board and P. E. Stainton offered to take his place.


Richard Cock resigned from the Board. He had been a trustee since 1889.

A new Sports Ground Committee was set up to manage and improve the Sports Ground.

The council proposed to run a tram to Vogeltown through the Park.

Mrs Burgess came up with a bold fundraiser. £1000 Pukekura Park Fund.

There was a Royal visit by Edward Prince of Wales (future King, Edward VIII).

The Acclimatisation Society fish rearing ponds were resurrected in the Park.

More than thirty pine trees were cut down during the year.

W. W. Smith resigned his position as curator.

W. A. Collis passed away.

The largest trees in Truby King Dell were planted. They include Juniperus chinensis ‘Alba picta’, Cryptomeria japonica, Sequoiadendron gigantean, Abies nordmaniana, and Picea smithiana.


A new Sports Ground Committee was set up to improve the ground and facilities

The Acclimatisation Society was granted permission to build a hatchery which was constructed at the head of the Lily Pond (present day Hatchery lawn). The first trout ova were received in June.

The weather station became unused following the resignation of Walter Smith.

Because the Park was without a proper curator Victor Davies offered his assistance.

The Taranaki team held the Springboks to a famous draw.

William Bocock, a retired farmer, was appointed foreman to look after the staff.

Big improvements were made to the sports field drainage and 1500 yards of soil was brought in.


Harris Ford died. He had been on the Board since its inception in 1875. Past Board members, F. P. Corkill and Percy Smith also died that year.

Hector Dempsey (Central School Principal) and James McLeod joined the Board.

Charles Revell was hired as a curator at the suggestion of the Sports Committee who wanted someone for two days a week to look after the Sports Ground. Unfortunately, he died unexpectedly at the end of the year.

A couple of children’s swings were introduced which were installed somewhere near the site of the current children’s playground. Children had to wait another 33 years for a proper playground.

Charles Score Sanders planted the first rhododendron dell which was at the head of what is now Primula Dell.

A fernery was planted under the guidance of John Gibson, which was somewhere in Stainton Dell.

Section 1117 on Fillis Street was purchased. This is the site of the kindergarten.

Opossums were becoming a real issue. Back then they were a protected animal.


The Sports Committee started to build what is now the Bellringer Pavilion. It was designed by T. H. Bates and constructed by Jones and Sandford. The walls still form part of the current building (2022).

Park employee Mr. G Tunnecliffe was promoted to curator.


The Sports Ground Pavilion was completed.

Plans and estimates for the Fernery tabled by Mr. Besely were accepted, these were based on plans by Mrs H. Lovell of Hawera.

A Queen carnival was held to raise funds for the Fernery.

Tunnecliffe resigned due to ill health.

A tram line from Devon Street to the Park gates was built.

Thomas Horton became Park Curator, and remained there until 1949


Most of the Kauri, Rimu, and Totara trees along Horton Walk were planted.

T. K. Skinner died.

A donated pair of kiwi were released onto Manhattan Island.

Control of the Sports Ground was handed back to the Park Board.

In December the Board made the decision to proceed with the development of the Fernery.

Around this time a scout group started making use of the old curator’s house on Victoria Road. The house, built in the 1870s must have been abandoned as a dwelling after the departure of Walter Smith. By all accounts it was more like a shack than a house and would not have been acceptable to Horton when he arrived.


A letter was sent to all New Plymouth residents appealing for funds for the development of the Fernery.

In June the construction started on the excavation of the original three houses of the Fernery. Approximately 4000 cubic yards of earth was removed which was used to fill in a swamp which existed where the Fred parker Lawn is today. Some of this material was also used to create a dam to form the lower lakelet in Stainton Dell.

The main lake was dredged with the aid of the then newly acquired Fordson tractor.

An eel day was suggested to try and increase the mortality rate of the ducklings. Private individuals were taking ducklings home to rear them and bringing them back when they were big enough to fend for themselves.


Mr. Newton King died leaving large sums of money to various reserves in the town including Pukekura Park. The Park was to receive £3000.

The Park hosted a reception for the Duke and Duchess of York (The parents of Queen Elizabeth II ).

After a delay the glass for the roof of the Fernery arrived. The construction of the roof was done by Frank Hartnell.

Fred Parker donated and installed the entrance door for the fernery.

The Fernery construction was completed by mid-July after which the plants could be put in.

An agreement was reached that the Park would be handed over to the Borough Council.

The use of the hatchery was abandoned in 1927.


On January 28, the Mayor H.V.S. Griffiths opened the Fernery and Dells.

As the result of vandalism the cannons on Cannon Hill were removed to the Taranaki Museum.

There was a reception at the park for the Governor-General, Sir Charles Ferguson.

The documents necessary to transfer the Park to the Borough Council were almost complete.


In February the documents to transfer the Park to the borough were signed and sent to the Governor-General for ratification.

The old Park Board held its last meeting in June.

October 17, the Mayor H.V.S. Griffiths accepted the Park for the Borough and planted a commemorative Kauri on what is now the Fred Parker Lawn.

The Wiggins memorial was vandalised.

A small propagating house was built to the east of the fernery entrance.

The first official History of Pukekura Park was published. This was created by the board.


The old curator’s cottage which stood on the site of the Carrington Road Redoubt was pulled down.

A new curator’s house was built at 25, Victoria Road, built by Mr. L. F. Hand.


A new entrance was made at the west end of Fillis Street.

The old bathing shed was moved to a site on the path to the Fernery to make way for the construction of the Tea House. It was converted into a ladies convenience and an office for the curator.

The new Tea House, a gift to the people of New Plymouth from Mr and Mrs C. H. Burgess to mark their Golden Wedding Anniversary, opened in November. The Tea House was designed by Surrey Allerman and built by Frank Hartnell.

The Sportsground Committee erected two ticket boxes which remain in the park today (2022).


Victor Davies joined the committee to replace G. M. Spence who resigned.


Colonel Tate resigned from the committee and was replaced by Mr. E. J. Carr. The mayor E. R. C. Gilmour also joined the committee.

The lower lake was manually desilted removing an estimated 2350 ton of silt some of which was used to reclaim part of the Lily Pond near the old hatchery.

Brooklands bequeathed to the Borough, including all buildings on the land.

Charles Score Sanders left a large bequest to the park which included £350 specifically for the development of a Rhododendron Dell.

Eliot King, Newton King’s son joined the committee.

Brooklands was opened to the public in December.


March 10, Brooklands Park was officially opened.

List’s Garden, about half way up the Maranui Gully was given to the Borough, the first part coinciding with the gift of Brooklands, and a further area being given in the 1940’s. This did not become part of the park until 1944.

Land also gifted by Mr C.A. Wilkinson including the remainder Maranui gully in the Welbourn area where the tennis courts are.

Robert Clinton Hughes planted a kauri tree at the head of the Hatchery Lawn to commemorate his nearly 60 years of service and devotion to the Park. This unfortunately died and was removed in the 1950s.

The planting of the Fillis Street Botanical Reserve (Kindergarten Gully) using New Zealand native timber trees was started.

The ceremonial spade used by Jane Carrington on the opening day in 1876 was returned to the Park and hung in the Tea House along with a picture from the opening day.

The Brooklands homestead was demolished


Robert Clinton Hughes died. The path from the Victoria Road entrance to the bandstand was named “Hughes Walk” in his memory

Major reconstruction work was started on the Sportsground terraces which continued in 1936.

Prince Henry, the Duke of Gloucester visited New Plymouth.

The Wiggins memorial was removed from the Park. It had been the target of vandalism on several occasions.


Taranaki held the M.C.C. cricket team to a draw.

The area now occupied by the Kauri grove on the corner of Brooklands Park Drive and Brooklands Road was stripped of its turf and planting started under the supervision of Thomas Horton, with the range of native timber trees that you see there today. 3815 trees were planted over the next three years.

The Sanders Rhododendron Dell was planted using money from Saunders bequest. Most of the plants were sourced from the U.K. 270 rhododendrons were planted. The location chosen was the site of the old maze planted in the 1890s.

The Poet’s Bridge was deemed unsafe and closed until it could be replaced.


The Poet’s Bridge was rebuilt. It was designed by the borough engineer Mr. Brown and the building contract was given to Mr. F. W. Whittaker. Unfortunately, Mr. Whittaker had a heart attack and died on site.

Erection of the new main gates erected to commemorate the valuable benefactions of Charles Score Sanders began in December. They were designed by Messrs. Griffiths and Syme and the building contractor was Boon Bros.


The Sanders memorial gates were completed in 1938.    

The first Begonia House was built at the Fernery using timber and glass salvaged from the old grape house at Brooklands. The work was done by Messrs Cook and Son. The Sanders Bequest covered the cost.


A second glass house was moved from Brooklands and was used as a propagating house.

Ivan Waddle who had been in charge of the Fernery was called up to serve in the war and the Park employed Evelyn Lawson to help out in the Fernery. Evelyn was the first female employed at the Park.


The old main gates for the Liardet Street entrance were reinstated at the Victoria Road entrance.

Thomas Horton was appointed as Superintendent of Reserves.


The park staff joined a Borough Council Industrial Union reducing their working hours to 40.

Mr. L. W. Lovell joined the committee.

The park was the venue for several of the town’s centennial events.

300 x 12ft long slit trenches were dug in the park.

Two more park staff were called up to serve, George Huthnance and Edwin Grant. To help in the fernery Noline Lawson, Evelyn Lawson’s sister was hired.

Walter Smith died.  


A Lawson Cypress shelter belt was planted at Kaimata Street.


Mr T.C. List died, and a further part of his property known as Maranui was gifted to the Borough Council.


Iolanthe Small commenced work in the Fernery.





A ladies pavilion was built at the south-west corner of the sportsfield. It was designed by the Borough Engineer, Mr. Mainland and constructed by Curd Bros.


January 27 New Plymouth became a city

Thomas Horton retired and Jack Goodwin started work in the Park as the new curator.



The Children’s Playground site cleared of macrocarpa trees and initial developments took place.


A bequest of approximately £2100 was left following the death of Mrs. Walter Graham. This money was used for several developments in the 1950s.
The old curator’s office was completed in 1952. It was designed by Graham Harvey and built by J H Ashman.


December, First year of lights over the summer period.

The fernery houses were lit up at night for the first time, as part of the Park summer lighting features/festival.


HRH Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip visited the Park on January 9, 1954.


The Queen Elizabeth Fountain was built commemorating the Queens visit the previous year. In tandem with this the Hatchery lawn was formed when the Lily Pond was filled in. 

A Female staff quarters building was erected near the Fernery entrance. Designed by  Edward Borrell and built by Ross Allen. The building also served as a ticket office for the Fernery.


The sports pavilion was extended by adding a second story.

A glass walled shade house, for growing on ferns was built and Ailsa McCrone joined the fernery staff.


Development of The Bowl of Brooklands commenced. A large Copper beech, Fagus sylvatica, at the bottom of the bowl hill was shifted from the middle of the bowl.

A shade house for growing palms was built.
The Sportsground was fitted with floodlights


The first Festival of the Pines was held at the newly constructed Bowl of Brooklands.



A Bowl of Brooklands committee established.

A paddling pool in the Children’s Playground was constructed by the local Jaycees as well as the installation of the original Don Driver “Cats” sculpture.


The Brooklands Pine Dell was developed and planted.



A Nova roof shade house was built (circa 1963-64) to replace a set of cold frames on the same site.


Fred Parker, a well-known horticulturalist and member of the Pukekura Park committee donated a large collection of Cymbidium orchids to the Fernery and House 2 was converted to house them.     

George Fuller commenced work at the park with special responsibility for the orchids

Stainton Dell was named for Percy Stainton. He was Secretary to the board for 44 years.

The was an Arbour day planting on the Western hillside above main lake, many of the trees planted became replacements for the rapidly aging pines that were dangerous and needed felling.


New Plymouth Jaycees organised the completion of the original Brooklands Zoo.  It was officially opened in March.

Arbour day, the ridge to the south of Stainton Dell was replanted with the same range of trees as the Western hillside had been planted with the previous year, also there were Arbor Day plantings at Brooklands and the Zoo.


Silt was removed from the Main Lake by sluicing.


The old begonia house was pulled down and work started on a new structure given to the city by Mr & Mrs George Kibby. The project included new boiler and boiler house.
A deer enclosure was built at the zoo by the Jaycee.
An illuminated nativity scene donated by Mr. J. Swainson was erected on the Hatchery Lawn accompanied by Christmas music. This was probably the catalyst for the Festival of the Lights.


There was an Arbor Day plantings at the western end of Kaimata Street following removal of some of the 1942 Lawson cypress trees. 


At the Fernery, the original Begonia House was replaced with a structure four times its size, and was known as The Kibby House, a gift from Mr. and Mrs. G. Kibby.
The viewing platform for the Fountain Lake was constructed.

Arbor Day plantings in Ambush Gully and Zoo deer pen (now farmyard).


The Waterfall was completed, and formally opened on 21 October; it is 10.7m high and circulates approx 182,000 litres of water per hour.





The Jaycees completed the construction of the Brooklands Zoo free flight bird cage.
Work commenced on the waterwheel project.


Jones and Sandford fabricated the wheel for the waterwheel project.


The Waterwheel was constructed. It was built using the iron frames of the wheel that had powered the Omata Dairy Factory until the 1930’s

A centennial commemorative plantings took place in May around Fountain Lake and on Cannon Hill.



The Fernery marked its 50th Jubilee with special lighting features installed to celebrate the occasion.

 Silt was removal from the Stainton Dell Ponds.


Silt was removed from the Main Lake using a dragline.
The monkey cage was built at the zoo.


The Traffic Island at Brooklands was created using silt dredged from the Bowl Lake.



The last remaining pine and macrocarpa trees were removed from the Western Hillside.


There was an Arbor Day plantings on Western Hillside where pines had been removed and a new path was created leading down from the Victoria Road car park.


The Gables was restored by the City Council and the Historic Places Trust.



The top propagation house damaged by cyclone Bola and rebuilt.


The Rogan Street carpark was developed.

The children’s playground was remodelled (named at this time “TSB Children’s Play Area’, the TSB bank being a key sponsor of the project).

The viewing deck opposite the teahouse was constructed.

A Bowl of Brooklands trust was established.



Planning for a major redevelopment of fernery began.




Iolanthe Small retired from running the Fernery and Ken Davey took over as person in charge.


The first stage of plantings on Japanese Hillside took place after pines were cleared from the site.

Silt was removal from the Stainton Dell Ponds

An annual summer decorative lighting was established/branded as “Festival of Lights” (the concepts/origins for the summer lighting in the Park dated back to the illuminated fountain installation).

The staffroom in front of the fernery entrance was demolished and the potting area of the bottom propagating house was converted to a temporary staff room.



 Silt was removed from the Main Lake using a suction dredge. The associated dewatering plant was located to the north of the Brooklands Traffic Island near the path leading down into Rhododendron Dell.


The Vitoria Road Car Park was developed.

The Bowl of Brooklands stage was redeveloped.

A new outlet culvert for the Pukekura stream was created to reduce the risk of flooding.


The Zoo Deer pen was redeveloped to become a Farmyard feature.


Stage one of the fernery redevelopment including a new roof structure for houses two and three (includes 2A and annex) was completed.


The rhododendron Dell was extended onto bank below the Brooklands Traffic Island.



The 125th anniversary of the opening of the Park was commemorated with plantings by Mayor Claire Stewart at the Palm Lawn.

The second stage of fernery redevelopment, the rebuild of the Kibby House was completed

Brooklands Bowl was remodelled and re contoured.

The Tori gate was installed on Japanese Hillside, a gift from New Plymouth’s sister city Mishima, along with the development of the lower section of Japanese Hillside.

A Highlands Block of land was purchased from the Education Department (formerly part of Highlands Intermediate), to become part of the Park.


The Parks orchid collection was relocated from the nursery at Brooklands to the fernery. The warm growing/tropical collection housed in top propagating house , intermediate to the house 4 extension/growing area, remainder distributed around other
growing houses at the fernery and new palm house. Final stage/proposed redevelopment plans for House 1, and the growing areas occupied by Nova roof house, bottom prop including new staffroom and remodelled fernery entrance, drawn up. These
plans however put on hold.



Filming of parts of the
movie “The Last Samurai” on the sports ground

The first New Zealand
Womad festival at Brooklands Park

Scanlan Lookout developed
amongst Bowl Skyline Pines.

Paddling pool and “Cats”
sculpture in the children’s playground removed


Construction of Kunming Garden starts October/November

One of the two Torrey Pines at the Children’s Playground removed (remaining tree is the sole survivor of plantings of Torrey pines in 1888)


February 27 Kunming Gardens officially opened

 October/November New Waterwheel installed

Parks Nursery disestablished and buildings demolished

Ken Davey retires, Donna
Chrstiansen takes over as person in charge. Irrigation system installed at the
top of the fern banks in houses 1, 2 and 3.


Torrey Pine by Bellringer Pavilion removed

Teahouse renovated and refurbished


January Victoria drinking fountain vandalised (Lions faces and bowls), restoration undertaken to repair the damage

Michael Smither sculpture “Aotearoa” installed in the Bowl Lily Lake

Centennial of the naming of the park “Pukekura Park”, commemorative plantings took place on Eastern Hillside


Dead top removed from the northern most of the two Norfolk Pines at Brooklands


March, 75th anniversary of the gifting of Brooklands to New Plymouth City

Revamp of the Gables Garden with the assistance of the “Friends of the Park”

Wisteria Arbor by the teahouse rebuilt by Tenix Robert Stone to commemorate their 60th anniversary



Introduction of new fibreglass boats into the Main Lake boat fleet


final stage of the fernery redevelopment commenced.


Third and final stage of Fernery redevelopment completed including new administration offices

Redevelopment of the Children’s Playground and the installation of a replica of the Don Driver “Cats” sculpture. The original was restored and is now housed in the Govett Brewster Art Gallery collection.

Refurbishment/restoration of the Band Rotunda

Redevelopment of the Kaimata Street Entrance at Brooklands

Installation of “Geotech” bags as revetments for the Main Lake and Fountain Lake, silt removal undertaken in the Main Lake


Capillary irrigation matting installed in growing areas, Top Prop, 2A, Propagation house, Nova Roof


Redevelopment and landscaping of the Fillis Street frontage

New retaining walls installed on Racecourse Walk and the sealing of Racecourse Walk

New administration office built at the Zoo


New signage installed at Park entrances and track intersections throughout park

Rogan Street entrance remodelled

December removal of the Pine tree planted by Robert Clinton Hughes on the opening Day in May 1876


Redevelopment and landscaping of the Shortland Street entrance

Lighting on waterfall upgraded with new LED lights installed


February 27, removal of the last two 1876 pines in Goodwin dell.

March, Myrtle rust found in the Park for the first time. (This plant disease was first found in New Zealand in May 2017)

April 10, Abies relgiosa, which had been planted in 1965 blown over in a storm. The Storm coincidentally occurred on the 50th anniversary of the Storm that caused the inter-island ferry Wahine to sink at the entrance to wellington Harbour and was of similar intensity

June – August, landscape redevelopment of the Victoria Road frontage. 

September – December, redevelopment of the Tea House external landscape, new viewing deck and paving.

November 23-30, removal of two of the 1876 pine trees on Eastern Hillside.

New Arbor frame installed for climbing rose ‘American Pillar’.


Chris Connolly retires as park curator and Kristian Davies takes over as new curator

Sports Ground Eastern and Southern terraces new timber retaining walls installed.

A storm topples a scarlet gum on the sports ground southern terrace.

Large American elm removed from the gables garden.


Truxor dredging/silt removal of the Bowl of Brooklands Lake and Pukekura Park Main Lake.


Removal of the last of the original pine trees on Cannon Hill.


Major redevelopment of the Fountain lake outlet stream to improve the integrity of the lake dam.