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Kids give new play gear the thumbs up

A mad rush onto the new playground equipment in Haumoana Memorial Park spoke volumes on Friday – the play area is a confirmed hit with the kids.

Councillor Ann Redstone cut the ribbon surrounded by a bunch of children from the local school and preschools after Councillor Rod Heaps, who grew up in neighbouring Te Awanga, told the crowd that the park was now entertaining its third generation of youngsters since the land was bought by the residents in the early 1950s.

His mother could remember the efforts the community had made to raise the funds to buy the land. The events included the Queen Carnival and a raft of individual community carnivals leading up to it, stalls and dances. It is believed that every possible fundraising option was put to use; including growing a paddock full of onions to sell to add to the total.

Documents from the era showed that the community wanted to run a range of sports on the seven acre park: football, cricket, bowls, tennis, rifle shooting, hockey, basketball, croquet and baseball. The children’s play area would include “swings, slides, boating and sand pits etc”.

The land was expected to cost £1500 and the “facilities” £500. The Department of Internal Affairs agreed to supply a “£ for £” subsidy, according to a news media report dated 1948.

The road leading to the park was renamed Memorial Park Avenue in 1954. That road sign was marked as a Poppy Place in a ceremony following the playground opening on Friday.

The community went on to build the Haumoana Memorial Pavilion and the Memorial Arch in the mid-1950s. Both were designed by noted architect John Scott, who was born in Haumoana. Three of Scott’s children (Jacob, Adam and Ema) were among Scott family members who attended on Friday to put a poppy places plaque on the pavilion, after which a morning tea was held in the pavilion.

The archway was dedicated in 1956. On it are the names of those who had died in the two World Wars: Christoffer Jensen; Tomas Mullins; Alfred Reeves; Claude Bishop; Robert Bradshaw; Robin Caskey; Wilfred Krebs; Robert McCarty’ Maxwell McCormick; John Reeves; Blake Scott; Alfred Secker; Basil Shaw; Douglas Stanley; George Struthers; Jack Taylor; Ian Thorburn; Donald Tibbles.

Poppy Places is a national programme set up to commemorate and recognize the participation of New Zealanders in international conflicts.

4 October 2017

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