Save Our War Memorial Park
Hear From Those Who Built The Memorial.

Who Wanted to Re-Concept the Memorial?
What Is The Memorial?
A Lasting Memorial to be Cherished
The Semi-Sunken Garden
A Taniwha in the Semi-Sunken Garden
The Sunken Fernery

The Pergola Colonnade
Bikes in the Park
Arch-Ways Over the Pergola
The Peace Fountain
The Boating Lake
The Last Rustic Footbridge

The Zion Sundial
The Scenic Drive-Way
Entry Arch-Ways
The Original Long Term Concept
Puna Restoration
The Lost Sunken Garden

Concerning the Boffa-Miskel Re-Concept Plan for our War Memorial Park.
In June 2018 Waipa Council decided in error to permanently remove the central footbridge and also an alleged non-functioning fountain along with it. This decision was made without knowledge of their symbolic meaning and purpose or understanding the parks heritage. Removing either of these memorial features should never have even been considered.
Council has yet to admit via minutes or courier, that they were not aware of the memorial significance of these heritage features. They made a mistake.

The entire park was designed, funded, built and dedicated as a war memorial. No further concept is required. The park is a memorial complex.

Initially in August 2018 Heritage Consultant Ann McEwen recommended a ‘heritage assessment‘
Community Board, 14.8.18 McEwen. “First up, as a general principal, I think that it would be a really good idea if council were to undertake a heritage assessment before they [whoever they are] decide to demolish or redevelop any council-owned asset of possible/likely historic interest.”

Heritage Assessment morphed into: Development Plan and then into a ‘Concept Plan'
16 Oct’ 18 Service Delivery Agenda:
“staff recommend that a ‘development plan’ for the area be created to ensure the wider reserve area development is ‘captured’ before committing to ad-hoc projects.”
16 Oct’ 18 Service Delivery Minutes:
“It was suggested that a more holistic approach could be taken in the development of the ‘concept plan’ for Memorial Park.”

In July 2019 Boffa Miskel were appointed to develop a ‘Concept Plan’. ie’ a Re-Concept of the Memorial.
Fact: The ‘Concept Plan’ for our Novel, Artistic and Symbolic War Memorial Park was established at a public meeting at the Town Hall 16 August 1951. What is now required is a ‘Heritage Assessment’ to identify and protect the parks many significant memorial features from notions of re-developement.

Boffa Miskel:
“While Council had previously undertaken a range of planning and development projects to provide quality amenities and address issues such as water quality and the future of non-operational assets, it identified the need for a concept plan to identify, protect, restore and enhance the values associated with the reserve, and to provide a co-ordinated and staged approach to implementing the plan.”
In other words, in June 18 Council decided to do away with two memorial features without knowledge of their significance. A plan is now adopted (again without knowledge of heritage and memorial significance) to go about a ‘staged approach’ of even further destruction of the park in the name of: (Boffa Miskell) “Strengthening the reserve design and historic identity”

Waipa and District War Memorial Park. 17 April 2020.
View from the Scenic Drive-Way.
Scenic View of the The Peace Fountain. 17 April 2020
The Rocky Knoll now restored with foliage. Perennials are required.

13 Aug’ 2019 Boffa Miskel met with the Te Awamutu Community Board seeking input for a concept plan for the Memorial Park. Next to no input was given.
The Boffa Miskel Concept claims: “This input, together with historic documents, information from key stakeholders and further investigations, have informed the concept plan development by Boffa Miskell Ltd and Community Services staff in partnership with mana whenua.”
Thus: a War Memorial, that was publicly funded independant of council, and was built through community efforts, is “Captured” by a council funded Boffa Miskell Draft Concept Plan that Proposes to Decimate the Park. Public comment will be sought to make amendments prior to implimentation of the plan.


There is a misconception that the Sunken Cross alone is the Memorial.
Indeed, most people today in Te Awamutu and district are unaware: that entire park was planned, built and dedicated as a War Memorial. Or that the original scheme was simply to have memorial gates to a park, or of the pound for pound government subsidy that the Memorial Park was found eligible for, or of the scale model of the park made to encourage donations. Or that birds and monkeys were considered as an attraction. Or that the three footbridges, between Mutu St and the netball court end, commemorate the service of the Navy, Airforce and Army.
Or know of the Peace Fountain or the Peace Roses within the Sunken Cross of Memory, or of the Taniwha in the Semi-Sunken Garden with its Mercury Bay lawn and Manaia. Or of its Historic Mural Wall that depicts the coming together of Maori and Pakeha “Ways of Life” toward “Peace and Reconciliation under One Government and One Crown”
Or of the three Memorial Archways over the Columned Pergola, that curves around the sunken cross to dignify it. Or of the paddle boats in the Ornamental Lake. Or that the Queen was approached to open the park, or that the Prime Minister did open the park before a crowd of 3,000.

Such unawareness that the entire park was planned, built and was dedicated as, a war memorial, was warned of by Arthur Warburton in his 5 Dec 55 editorial following the formal opening of the park.
“Sonorous phrases floated over the Cross of Memory, over rockery and play-ground, yesterday, to be lost forever. Will the real meaning of this monumental piece of work also be lost in similar fashion as the years heal sorrow and bring a new generation to the district?”
The entire park is a dedicated war memorial. It provides a facility that enables comfort and peace, that was fought for.
See Arthur Warburton’s editorial 5.12.55“Thus it can be reasoned that those who were prepared…to protect the freedom of the people are now, even in a memorial, continuing to serve and ensure comfort and peace to those for whom they were prepared to sacrifice between 1939 and 1945.”
Arthur Warburton served on the committee that established the park from inception to completion. As editor of the Te Awamutu Courier, he made land available for the park through Couriers (NZ) LTD. Rest assured, he was familiar and correct with this symbolic vision of the parks objective.

The Sunken Cross of Memory 17 April 2020
See The Sunken Cross Inscription List.

Opening Day Ceremony. Photo by Bill Stirling c/o Shirley
Opening Day Ceremony, Sunday 4 December 1955. Photos c/o Stirling Family collection/ not for reproduction without permission.

See 5 Dec’ ’55 Opening day speech of Prime Minister Sidney Holland.
Although we dedicate this park to the memory of the fallen, it is not enough, we who have survived have an opportunity to see that their sacrifice was not in vain.”

Prime Minister Sidney Holland sits at the podium on Opening Day Opening day speech of W.S Goosman, of Internal Affairs. “This park reflects credit upon those who conceived it…it is a worthy memorial and will remind younger generations for all time of the past and the debt we owe to our fallen.”
Opening day speech of Gerald Gower. RSA Executive and War Memorial Committee member:
“This park is in memory of those gallant lads who gave their lives so that we may live as we would do.” “They fought for freedom, love and beauty and we must carry on with the fight to see that peace on earth and goodwill towards all men shall reign.”
“We have built this beautiful park in their memory. See that it is kept beautiful so that we will remember them.”

Courier articles during the parks construction casually refer to the park as a whole being a memorial.
7 Nov’ 52. Gerald Gower RSA President:
“When this park is completed it will be a living tribute to those gallant men who gave their lives that we may enjoy freedom and prosperity. We owe it to them, to our generation, and to generations to come to provide a suitable memorial so that we will remember the sacrifice they made. It will be something of which we can be proud-something which will be in keeping and harmony with the principles of those who died.”
“We want the park to be a memorial of which we can be justly proud.”
11.11.53 “A visitor…had expressed the opinion that it was an ideal War Memorial and far better than halls. Relatives of those who had fallen could visit the park.”
21.7.54 WMP Committee:
“It was resolved that Mr Gower, through the schools, make an approach …so as to cultivate an appreciation of the park as a memorial”
See end of 11.5.55. “Foremost…is the future maintenance of the park which is a memorial for both the district and the town to those who fell overseas in battle.”

The Memorial Complex
A Triad of Stone-built Monuments to Peace. The Cross, Semi-Sunken Garden and Fountain.
Above Waipa and District's War Memorial Park
Waikato Times. 5.12.55. Viewed from low altitude. Prime Minister Sidney Holland:
"A beautiful piece of work"

Into the Fernery Gully
Into the Fernery Gully

A Lasting Memorial.
The park does not need replacing. It was meant to last forever and be cherished.

See 25 July ’51. Harrold Babbage had joined the Committee. His artistic concept came from observations of overseas memorials.
“A true memorial as put forward by Mr Babbage...In its form it is truly emblematic-distinctive, and for all time preserving its symbolic meaning.”
See 15 Aug’ 51. “Mr H.G Babbage who had brought back from overseas the plans for a memorial that was unique and beautiful…a memorial that would carry forever and a day what a War Memorial should be.”
See 20 Aug’ 51. Harrold Babbage:  “The park would be something that both rural and urban population would at all times be proud of as a memorial”
See Mayor C.F Jacobs Opening Day Speech 5 Dec’ 55.
“War…was to be deplored, said Mr Jacobs, who expressed the fervent hope that there would be an abiding peace.” “On behalf of the Borough Council, we ask that you will protect and cherish this memorial.”
See 27 May ’55. The Mayor: “They could not allow it to deteriorate. The park was a unique one of its type and it was essential that it should be maintained.”

Council forgot.

The same error is now being repeated by consultants Boffa Miskel, Council staff and Mana Whenua with their Draft Concept Plan that would decimate the park.

The Semi-Sunken Garden and its Historic Mural Wall: should be protected, and maintained.
It is in the Sunken Fernery, where excavation was deep enough to expose spring water. There is a more suitable spring site for Puna Restoration below the netball courts, with no need to destroy a memorial feature.
This memorial to pioneers of the district is not a ‘function space’ nor is it an amphitheatre (field Showground) or stage. It is one of the parks three Stone Built ‘Monuments to Peace’ along with the Cross and Fountain.  It is the ‘Semi-Sunken Garden’ made to incorporate an Historic Mural Wall that depicts: 
See Harrold Babbage correspondence 20 May ‘53:
“the known history of the human race in this district.” Toward “Peace and reconciliation under one Government and one Crown.”
It is that Peace and our ‘Ways of Life’ that those (named in the Sunken Cross) who fell in war, fought for.
See Courier 3 Aug ‘55. It illustrates the merger of Maori and Pakeha ‘Ways of Life’ in the Waipa district, united to uphold a prosperous future.

The Historic Mural wall within its Semi-Sunken garden was well designed, crafted and placed.
It is placed by careful design within the ‘Dignity Supporting Perimeter’ of the Sunken Cross’ mound.
There were five stone built sunken gardens: The Rose, Lily pond, Semi-Sunken Mural Wall, the Sunken Fernery and also a sunken pathway with seating, beyond the carpark. Note the Sunken Theme?
All are supportive memorial features of the Sunken Cross and its Columned Pergola, that was to feature Memorial Archways.
Sadly, The Sunken Rose Garden was destroyed by council in 2007 and replaced with a flower bed.
See 7 Nov’ 52: “We want the actual Memorial Cross to be in a quiet and dignified area in keeping with its purpose.”
See 11 May ’55. “Well planned contours of the park…make themselves prominent…around the natural mound in which the Sunken Cross has been set…sunken rock gardens (the Sunken rose, lily pond rockery and Semi-Sunken Garden) leading around to the fernery and continuing the wide semi-circular sweep around the cross with the colonnades in the pergola”

The Semi-Sunken Garden. Not an Amphitheatre or Function Space. Not a stage.
The Semi-Sunken Garden. United in Peace and Prosperity.
Our Ways of Life. United in Peace and Prosperity.

The Cross was the Central Idea of the Memorial Complex.
See 11 Feb’ 53. “Mr Babbage (Park Designer) would like to see a good job made of the cross, which was the central idea of the memorial”
The three stone-built Sunken Garden features, and the Fernery, (also sunken and stone-built) the Pergola that surrounds the Sunken Cross’ mound (and the yet to be built, Fountain) are ‘Dignity Supporting Features’ of the Sunken Cross. As such: the above features are all protected memorial/heritage Items. Planned, Built and Dedicated.

Well planned contours of the Semi-Sunken Garden
Above the Semi-Sunken Garden

The draft proposal builds upon a misunderstanding of this memorial feature because of recent misuse of the Semi-Sunken Garden as a ‘function space’ for stage plays. In the absence of a stage.
Rockery apertures at the front of the Semi-Sunken Garden exposed views of the water table. But unfortunately these and a small rockery fountain were paved over aprox’ March 2018 to assist the annual staging of plays in the semi-sunken garden. (In the absence of a stage)
It has always made an idyllic setting for wedding ceremonies. Brides are walked in through the Colonnade.
But it has not been appropriate to modify this stone built memorial, a Monument to Peace and to our “Ways of Life” and its area, into a stage.
It is not appropriate to propose relocating it, (destroy and replace it with a stage) while holding a misguided notion that it is an inadequate “function space”, as is erroneously stated in the proposal.
Councils recognition of and respect for this very significant heritage item is completely absent. Boffa Miskel and Mana Whenua’s failure to “identify, protect, restore and enhance the values associated with the reserve” is immense here.
Their draft concept plan literally proposes the destruction of the Semi-Sunken Garden along with a general decimation of the park.

Appropriate proposals for the Semi-Sunken Garden.
Boffa Miskell objective: identify, protect, restore and enhance the values associated with the reserve. The water table is near the ground surface in the general area. Re-expose the rock apertures that exposed ground water at the front of the flat area within the Semi-Sunken Garden. This can provide facility for ‘community engagement’ concerning (objective) “the importance of water, where it comes from and why it is precious” There was plenty of room for these at the left and right of the enclosure in front of its Mercury Bay lawn, which also needs re-establishing.

Stage/Classroom.
It is obvious that space at a separate location of a proposed Stage/Classroom with terraced seating is available elsewhere in the park. Such a facility would then actually “enhance” the memorial park and leave its Semi-Sunken Garden and mural wall intact, and respected as one of the parks three significant stone built monuments to peace and also a unique Treaty Sculpture.

A Taniwha in the Semi-Sunken Garden. Enhancement, Instead of Destruction.

(Boffa Mskell objective) “Upgrade current assets and develop new assets to enhance the visitor experience and provide opportunities for education grounded in ecology and culture.”
Despite the government pound for pound subsidy a funding shortfall in Nov’ 52 meant cutbacks on the full developement of the memorial park concept, including one footbridge and a pergolla with arch-ways to accompany the Sunken Cross.
The park designer; Harrold Babbage, envisioned additional Maori Culture depictions within the Semi-Sunken Garden. See Original Concept, 16 June 1953:
H Babbage: “It might be possible to depict in the vicinity” A ‘Taniwha Rau’ of ‘Waikato’s Hundred Taniwha’s’ and also a ‘Manaia’ A favoured bird like design of the Ngati Ruakawa.
It would be fitting to realise from the original memorial concept, such desirable sculptures, or mural additions to the Semi-Sunken Garden, along with its re-established Mercury Bay lawn.
Thus, along with educational community engagement, this beautiful asset could be appropriately upgraded to further acknowledge ecology and culture.

“Our Ways of Life” “Peace and Reconciliation Under One Government and One Crown”
Ways of Life United Under One Government and One Crown

Entry to the Sunken Fernery on Opening Day.
Enter the Sunken Fernery
c/o Stirling photo collection.

The Sunken Fernery should be protected and maintained.
There is a suitable spring site for Puna Restoration below the netball courts. As with the other sunken memorial gardens, the fernery also has extensive stone built features; its eastern perimeter, stone lined paths and island features.
The area of the fernery was bogy ground seeping toward the Mangaohoi steam prior to its development. A spring emerges at the entrance to the fernery.
The Sunken Fernery area was excavated to enable the spring drainage to emerge as it does.
See 16 Sep’ 53 “the fernery excavations have begun” “Bulldozing will be needed…to remove and re-construct the area where the Sunken Fernery will be placed.”
Thus: The Sunken Fernery with its indigenous plantings is a respectful and idyllic presentation of spring water, connecting it through native planting to the Mangaohoi stream.
See 15 Sep’ 54. “The fernery has been completed, being entirely covered in brush and is ready for planting.” The wire netting and brush covering enabled forest floor light conditions. Climbing Clematis later replaced the brush. The covering was removed in the late 80’s as the trees had matured. Trees, water channels and paths through the fernery require maintenance.

Pergola/Colonnade VS Shared Pathway Spine.
The Pergola should be protected and maintained.

The draft proposal is to demolish the curved section of the Columned Pergola to assist a three metre wide shared pathway.
The Memorial Park has never allowed bikes within it. There was a prominent sign near the main entrance that stated so and there was a chained off bicycle yard next to the rocky knoll where the water course for the waterfall should begin. The reason for not allowing bikes within the park was surely to assist the safety of all, on paths within the park and to protect its features.
Yet the proposal refers to such a bike track being the primary pathway through the park with the existing road and its car parking removed. The proposed pathway would include boardwalk sections where the trails traverse through unidentified ‘sensitive landscaped areas.’
The Columned Pergola is arguably the most attractive landscaped feature in the park. Yet it is here proposed to be half demolished for a pathway, and shared with bikes that have never been allowed in the park!
Is the demand so great for somewhere to ride bikes in Te Awamutu, that heritage features within our War Memorial Park must be sacrificed for the required space? The proposal completely fails to “reinforce and strengthen the reserve design and historic identity”

The Pergola’s proximity to the Sunken Cross was planned to contribute to the dignity of the sunken cross.
See 20 Aug’ 51. “The memorial (cross) would have to have appropriate surroundings and between it and the flat land on its left a curving pergola covered with climbing roses and wisteria was suggested”
See 7 Nov’ 52. H.G Babbage: (Due to a shortfall in funds) We want the actual Memorial Cross to be in a quiet and dignified area in keeping with its purpose. The pergola, originally estimated to cost 1500 pounds, will not now be erected, although it was a most attractive feature.” Fortunately funds were found.
See 28 Jan’ 55. The Pergola was nearly finished: “non-arrival of timber for the cross pieces” It was completed by May ’55.

The Curved Section of the Pergola Colonnade Covered with Climbing Roses.
The Curved Section of the Pergola Colonnade.

See 11 May ‘55. “Well planned contours of the park…make themselves prominent…around the natural mound in which the Sunken Cross has been set…sunken rock gardens (the Sunken rose gardens, the lily pond rockery and the Semi-Sunken Garden) leading around to the fernery and continuing the wide semi-circular sweep around the cross with the colonnades in the pergola”
Thus, the required supportive, appropriate and dignified surroundings for the Sunken Cross were established.
A bike path through the Sunken Cross’ accompanying Pergola does not assist the required dignity. Nor would demolishing half of it.

See 24 July 2018 Service Delivery Committee Report page 44. Stats from consultation:
Access to Park: Walk-45, Drive 145, Bike-8.

The original park design included an area for bikes.
See also, the end of 11 May ‘55. “There have been no applications…for the use of the two and a half acres…between the park and the State Highway’ ‘There is sufficient area to develop…cycling needs”
Thus the Original Park Concept is a ‘Competent and Inclusive Concept.’

White Faced Heron in the Park. 11 Feb' 20
White Faced Heron in Te Awamutu

An Appropriate Concept for a Shared Pathway would be:
Use the two and a half acres of open space north of the Pergola for an entry/exit.
Or if the pioneer walk on the north of the Mangaohoi stream was used, then the Navy footbridge (Mutu st end) and the Army footbridge (netball end) would require widening. This would be very expensive.
Affordably, a shared path not requiring a bridge, could enter the park off Mutu St, along the south side of the Mangaohoi stream all the way to the netball courts via:
the open space along the south edge of the stream, across the existing flat access bridge that spans the Fernery Gully, (no need for a boardwalk section) along the north edge of the lake, then along the lower river path (currently washed out by road drain 3) to the netball courts.
As pedestrians have two separate existing paths along this ‘lake to netball’ section, this portion of bike track can be much narrower.
This allows for a repaired Airforce footbridge (the last of the original rustic design) to remain intact and for the lower river path to be repaired. As there are three river paths, in a park themed in three’s, Mayor F Parsons: ‘much in the general layout was to commemorate engagements’ the paths could be separately named in memorial.
Thus, with bicycle use developed elsewhere in the park (as was originally planned) the sunken cross and other stone built and sunken memorial features, are respected and dignified with their purpose and identity protected.
Or, cyclists might also prefer to use the existing Scenic Drive-Way.
Or just simply use the existing Scenic Drive-Way through to the netball end and keep bikes out of the park.
The re-concept shared path ploughs through the current playground area. There is also wild life to consider.

An appropriate proposal for the pergola would be to enhance it, rather than demolish half of it.
Memorial Archways in the Columned Pergola. The significance and symbolism of the Sunken Cross’ surrounds are further revealed.
See 3 Nov’ 52 “Our deficiency...will mean the abandonment of the Pergola with its three memorial arches”
See 20 Oct’ 52. “Much of the park and many of the memorial (cross) surrounds would have to be left undone...archways in the pergola, and much in the general layout scheme were to commemorate engagements in which our servicemen took part.” “I feel that between now and the closing date...it will not be necessary to curtail our Memorial or any of its features”

The Scale Model of the Park.
On 28 Feb’ 2020, I spoke to Hilary Nobes, daughter of ‘Park Committee member, Eva Nobes. She recalls as a child, seeing a scale model of the Memorial Park. The model was made by Harrold Babbage and G. A Gibbs and was put on public display in Mr R. K. Grieves’ shop window in Aug’-Sep’ 1951 to encourage donations. Diagram plans were also put on display in J.H Burns shop window.
See 27 Aug’ 51 and 15 Aug’ 51.
Hilary confirms that the model of the park had arches over the Pergola. Does anyone know of photographs taken of it?
Keith Burgess who was also a Park Committee member would also have been familiar with the commemorative Archways. In 2001 he was involved in a project to place entry arches at the front and rear of the park. The stone cladding and cement theme of the park was adopted for the style of those arches.

Harrold G. Babbage’s Commemorative Archways over the Columned Pergola.
See three photo items “Commemorative Archways over the Colonnade.” It would be fitting that the archways could yet be established along the Columned Pergola, bearing details of engagements and theatres of war in which our servicemen took part.
Belatedly building the little known, yet much desired Commemorative Archways to the Columned Pergola would greatly “Strengthening the reserve design and historic identity” of our War Memorial Park.
Thus, as with the sunken gardens, the Columned Pergola not only assists with the dignity of the area surrounding the Sunken Cross, it is also intended to further acknowledge their sacrifice by commemorating the theatres of war they served in for our ‘Ways of Life’ depicted in the Semi-Sunken Garden, and who “even in a memorial, continue to serve ensuring comfort and Peace.”

The Peace Fountain Plays, August 2018.
The Peace Fountain. Last playing 26 August 2018.

The Peace Fountain.
One of a triad of Stone Built Monuments to Peace within the Memorial Complex.
The Historic Mural wall depicts our country’s history and our ‘Way of Life’ toward a Prosperous Future of Peace and Reconciliation.
The Sunken Cross, referred to as the cross of memory, honours those who served, those who suffered and those who gave their lives for our country and our Way of Life, that we might have Peace.
The Peace Fountain symbolises that earned Peace, residing over a park made to provide and enable those qualities.
See George Warburton, Park Committee and Courier editor 30 May ’55: “The design and construction have been predominantly that of a scene of restful beauty surrounding a memorial to those who gave all that we might have peace and happiness.”
See 5 Dec’ 55: “Thus it can be reasoned that those who were prepared…to protect the freedom of the people are now, even in a memorial, continuing to serve and ensure comfort and peace.”
See 20 Aug’ 51. A large fountain was part of Harrold Babbage’s original concept, originally to be placed at the end of the Pergola.
See 28 Jan’ 55. After first: finishing the playground, the front stone wall, paving in front of the Sunken Cross, clearing ground and removing the Army Hut that was used for storage, the fountain was to finally be built in Nov’ 55, and would conclude the works programme of the Memorial Park.
See 11 May ‘55. “A fountain is to be built and the overflow from this will run into the large pond which will be filled sometime this winter from its own natural springs.”
See 2 Dec’ 55. The fountain was first turned on, Wednesday morning 30 Nov’ 1955, just four days before opening day, by Alf Smart who built the fountain that month. Water gushed up three feet initially and ran directly out to test the fountains emptying channels in the fernery, then being tidied by Alf Smart with collage pupils. The fountain was christened with an eel in its dish.
The fountain is 3.28 Metres high. Built in a weeping style, water is first collected in a bowl-platter and then falls. Photos from opening day and earlier show its plume to be 2 Metres high and cascading down.

The fountain’s perimeter stones differ in colour, texture and shape from the limestone and rock used throughout the park. Its stone pillar and perimeter depict the column and blast wave of an atomic detonation, making the fountain additionally significant as a memorial sculpture. It is possibly unique in the world as the only such WW2 memorial feature.
The opening day speech of Prime Minister Sidney Holland was in keeping with the post war hope for peace via nuclear deterrent:
Te Awamutu Courier 5 Dec’ 1955.
“Mr Holland spoke of the strength given to the western powers through possession of nuclear weapons, which he said, gave us great powers to stop wars.”
“We of the western powers have become stronger and we can now negotiate with strength behind us in our relations with other powers.” “Peace and freedom are not gained lightly.”
Waikato Times 5 Dec’ 1955 page 8.
“international affairs…were in a better position today because the western nations were stronger and therefore better able to negotiate for peaceable termination of disputes. Development of atomic weapons was an important factor” He then referred to the meaning of war memorials, and congratulated Mr Babbage on his work seen from low altitude prior to the ceremony. “A beautiful piece of work”

In the 1950’s, Atomic Developments were popularised as great solutions for mankind.
WW2 ended due to the detonation of atomic bombs. This led to their association with peace. In post war Te Awamutu, people were well acquainted with atomic advances and issues.
See the Film ‘God of the Atom’ The colour film of war and atomic tests that screened at the town hall, 16 May ’51. 
In June ‘54, The Mayor, executive officers and councillors attended an address on nuclear energy.
The Courier was frequently featuring articles on Atomic Developments, with headlines such as:
‘A Power for Peace’ ‘Peaceful use of Powerful Weapon’ ‘Peacetime uses of Atomic Energy’ ‘Atoms for Peace Plan’ ‘Use of Atoms against Floods’ ‘Atomic Revolution’ ‘Disarmament and H-Bombs’ ‘X-Ray Solution to Atomic Age’ ‘Peaceful Co-existence’ ‘NZ Atomic Energy. Co-operation Pledged for Peace’
‘Radioactive Atoms Work for Mankind’ ‘Atoms for Peace’ ‘Atomic Power for Inter-planet Travel’ ‘Nuclear Policy for Peaceful Disarmament’ Advent of Nuclear Navy’ ‘Atomic Power for Peace’ Note The Theme.

An Appropriate Proposal for the Peace Fountain. There is ample room elshere for a contemporary sculpture/memorial.
The fountain can easily function without costly ongoing technical issues, just as the Rose Garden’s fountain has for aprox’ 50 years. See Water Recycling Plans attached.
This is not a ‘significant challenge’ as stated in the vague, defunct Boffa Miskell draft proposal.
The fountain’s dish holds 4.4 cubic Metres. Even if filled with town supply water, it would cost $ 7. If the fountain was run on weekends and holidays from 11am to 3pm with an immersed water pump, very little water would be lost to splash and evaporation, costing only cents per day.
However, if the fountain was instead filled and topped up with water from the fernery, it would not even have a daily cost.
A small top up pump in the fernery could run off a solar panel.
If the spring water top up was set to slowly overflow the fountain, its existing overflow outlet would again assist the ornamental lake, as was intended.

Buster Easy atomic test in Nevada 1951.
The Peace Fountain Symbology
Source image: www.wired.com/2010/02/0201ktla-atomic-test/

See 20 Oct’ 52. “much in the general layout scheme were to commemorate engagements in which our servicemen took part.”
Community engagement and signage educating visitors on the price paid for peace could take the form of a plaque fixed to one of the fountains perimeter stones, acknowledging V’J’ Day, the end of WW2 and subsequent J Force conscription service of our drafted J Force soldiers of 1946-48 for their service in Japan. 

The Ornamental Lake.
Initially called the ‘Boating Lake’ and also the large pond.
Originally low lying land covered in blackberry and gorse.
See 3 March ’ 52. It was one of the first features of the park to be formed beginning in Feb’ 52. The area was deepened and Te Awamutu’s only island was made in it by piling rocks.
See 15 Aug’ 51. The lake was envisioned as a boating lake where people would go “to spend an hour or two beside a sheet of water in quiet and beautiful surroundings” as they do at Hamilton’s lake.
See Parks Report 12 Feb’ 69: Boating was finally realised with paddling boats hired from the Tea Kiosk by Mrs L.J D’Ath. See 16 Dec’ 69. Scouts hired canoes on holiday weekends.
See 11 May 55. Ducks and Swan were introduced into the lake. Along with resident frogs, Carp/goldfish, crayfish and eels were later plentiful. Lilly pads and oxygen weed were also plentiful.
The edge was originally lined with a natural sloping cement edge. This enabled young ducks to get in and out. The current stacked limestone lake edge was built on top of that slope in 2001.
“The driveway has yet to be sealed…A fountain is to be built and overflow from this will run into the large pond which will be filled sometime this winter from its own natural springs.”

All through this summer drought without the waterfall or the two jet fountains.
Only one of three road drains contributing for 19 years.
Lake Shore With Stones.
March 2020. Looks OK where there are stones lining the shore, during low water level.

The driveway was sealed aprox’ in late May ‘55. So it was road drains that helped fill the lake as the fountain was not finished untill 30 Nov 55. The road drains are now vital for refreshing the lake.
Road Drain 1 on the road bend. Completely blocked for years with no outlet into the lake since aprox’ 2001 when the lake edge was relined.
Road Drain 2 (delivering water from both sides of the car park) has been working.
Road Drain 3 (delivering water from both sides of the road) west of the car park, empties below the middle of three footpaths and has been washing out the lower river path for decades. Its outlet is only 18 metres from the lake edge.
There is ample evidence that the lake has been poorly managed.
Road drain 1 was cleared 20 March ‘20. The drought relieving rain of 22 March ’20 significantly raised the lake level, with drain 1 emerging short and water making its way four Metres overland to the lake, with drain 2 also operating.
Drain 3 should now also be piped to the lake, after decades of washing out the lower river path.

The lake’s original open overflow channel is now a pipe. The lakes ability to flush out depends on the height of this outlet. There must be water seeping from either; the now raised edge, or the lake bed near the lakes emptying drain area, as the ground at the north-west end is consistently boggy.
Many trees surrounding the lake make leaf fall into the water. A partly felled tree had been left in the lake since August 2017. This, and a tree stump at the base of the river bank nearest the N-W lake edge, causing water to scour the bank, was reported to councils manager of facilities at the 14 Aug’ 18 Community Board meeting.
Such stumps had caused recent riverbank erosion adjacent to the netball courts and on Pioneer walk leading to expensive repairs.  Assurance was given that the lake was not being managed toward a case to dispose of it. The tree has just now been independently removed. The stump in the stream bend near the lake remains.
Two jet fountains are in place in the lake to assist water quality. When last functioning a year ago, only one was working due to a break in its supply pipe. These and the waterfall run off a pump supplied by an inlet pipe to a sump. The inlet pipe is left high and dry when water levels drop, when it is needed most, like all through this summer without waterfall or jet fountains and just one of three road drains contributing.

A Constructive Proposal for the Ornamental Lake.
A drought combined with years of blocked and neglected road drains and failed jet fountains should not be followed with a resolve to remove the lake.
Options to enhance the lakes water quality and biodiversity: The quality of the lake can be improved. This is not a ‘significant challenge’ as stated in the draft proposal.
1. The three road drains should all be connected to the lake. As detailed above, only one has been assisting the lake for many years.
2. Lake Water Aeration Pump/fountains.
Using water Aeration Pump-fountains in the lake would better assist lake water quality than the basic jet ones (left in disrepair) Water aeration pumps greatly assist water quality.
Power for their operation is nearby ready to go. They are not expensive. Two immersed in the lake should do it.
3. Waterfall/Pump.
The existing pump can continue to operate the waterfall which also assists aeration. The submerged pump can be situated within the lake so as not to shut down when the water level drops.
Water supply for the waterfall flowed from a rocky knoll along a cement course, then under the footpath, then down the waterfall, into the lake.
However this recycled input begins only half way along the cement course. It should begin further up at the rocky knoll.
This is the last remaining of the water-courses that were very popular with children floating twigs down them etc.
4. The North-West upper lake edge may require resealing. This repair would require part emptying the lake.
5. The present overflow level seems to be higher than originally. The overflow outlet could be optionally lowered to allow more frequent flushing.
6. Selected trees with leaf fall could be pruned/removed.
7. Water from the Mangaohoi stream could be pumped up into the lake during drought. The water being returned to the stream via the lakes discharge outlet would then be constant and of an improved quality.

Ornamental Lake VS Play Trail Kitchenette Pavilion.
The draft concept is not clear if the Kitchenette is for area 10 or 23 or both. Who would use a kitchenette so far off the road (with the park's road gone) near a bike track? Who would clean and maintain it?
As it is, people mostly use the wide open space (amphitheatre) north of the Pergola when gathering for a family function. What people miss is the Tea Kiosk that was to the right of the carpark. A weekend Cafe facility could be run here.
Mara Hupara Play Trail (for ages 2 to 12) There is space for this where the 18 hole mini-put golf course was; at the north-west corner of the open flat area north of the Pergola.
There is plenty of space for additional play equipment over the Magaohoi, in the Picnic area donated for such by Mr A Yarndley in 1951
Play equipment and picnic tables removed from there by council should be returned to the area. With a dogs ‘On Leash’ status for the area and a sign; ‘No Dogs over the bridge’ on the Picnic side of the Airforce footbridge to keep dogs out of the main play area.

The Te Kiosk, 1955
The Tea Kiosk. c/o Stirling family collection.

The Last Rustic Footbridge Commemorating The Airforce
The Last Rustic Footbridge

The Last Rustic Footbridge.
The Airforce footbridge is the last remaining of the original two ‘Rustic’ footbridges built by Lee Construction. Council should never have even considered removing this memorial bridge, essential to the parks layout and for access to the Picnic/playground area. It has been repaired a number of times. The Navy footbridge beside the Mutu street traffic bridge, was originally of identical construction. Three footbridges were planned but there was a shortfall in donations.
See 20 Oct’ 52. F Parsons “Each of the footbridges…were to commemorate engagements in which our servicemen took part.”
See 3.11.52 Mayor F Parsons “Technical advisors tell me this will mean the abandonment of…one of the rustic bridges connecting the park with the picnic area”
The footbridges are essential to the park. See Mayor F Parsons 20 Oct’ 52. “The lay-out of the paths and in fact the general lay-out of the park must accord with the number of bridges.”
See 7 Nov’ 52. “The cost of each of the rustic footbridges was said to be 250 Pounds.” See 16 Sep’ 53. “The approximate cost of each bridge will be 200 pounds.”
See 14 Oct’ 53. Railroad rails were used as girders. Trusses were welded onto them.
Park designer Harrold Babbage: “The bridges would be in keeping with the general idea of the park. They would last for years and would require little maintenance.”
Naming the footbridges was then referred to the RSA, but this didn’t eventuate.
By 21 July ‘54 the development of the picnic area north of the Mangaohoi was to “commence with the erection of the three rustic bridges over the Mangahoi stream.”
However, only two rustic footbridges were present on opening day, Sunday 4 Dec 1955.
See Courier 5 Dec’ 55. Mayor C.F Jacobs: ‘Each of these footbridges would be named by the Navy, Airforce and Army’ See Waikato Times 5 Dec’ 55 ‘they would be dedicated to the Airforce, Navy and Army in recognition of their services and sacrifices.’

Note: Courier Editor and Memorial Park Committee member Arthur Warburton would have been sure to get their order correct.
The third ‘Army’ footbridge was finally built in ‘67-‘68 following a bequest from Marion Dawson of the Beautification Society. Its pier foundations were built in 1960. See parks report July ’60.
It was not built the same as the Navy and Airforce footbridges and it did not last as long. Thus: the intended three commemorative footbridges were belatedly established, but without signage.

Proposal for the Last Rustic Footbridge.
The trussed railway rails could be replaced with stronger spanning H beams placed onto the existing foundations with the same wire net, pipe and tread board style, for the rustic footbridge to essentially remain the same. Plaques or signs should be put onto the three footbridges commemorating the three armed services, C.F Jacobs: “the Navy Airforce and Army” “in recognition of their service and sacrifice.”
This would leave the last ‘Rustic Footbridge’ repaired, intact and complete.

Scenic Drive-Way with parking VS Biking/Scooting.
The draft proposal fails to improve “accessibility through the reserve” It limits it.

The park is wide open with options for recreational walking/commuting between Mutu St and Racecourse road. The access road is essential for easy convenient access to the park.
A large part of visitors use car access and many regularly stay in the carpark for a short break.
See 20 Aug’ 51. The Original Concept:
“Mr Babbage said that a driveway would be constructed…Along this and overlooking the park would be a parking lot where people could pull up and look out over the park or go down into it.”

Bikes have always been allowed on the road, initially referred to as a ‘Scenic Drive-Way’
See 4 Feb’ 52 and 3 March ’52 when the Scenic Drive-Way was formed.
See 24 March ’54 “Buses and heavy vehicles were prohibited from using it.” However, who would not prefer to retain the road as an option for emergency service access?
There was originally a chain bordered bike yard. The post of the bike yard sign still remains on the rocky knoll. There is room for scooters along existing paths.
The drainage from the road greatly assists the lake. See ‘The Ornamental Lake’ above.
After road drains were in place, the road was then sealed approximately late May ’55.
The road has three drains that should empty into the lake. In recent years only one has been working. Reduced lake water level and quality throughout the years has resulted from the road drains not being maintained.

An Appropriate Concept for the Parks Scenic Drive-Way would be:
Retain the Entry Archways and their Scenic Drive-Way.
Return the bike yard (chained off area beside the rocky knoll at the bend in the road) This could also be used as an electric scooter depo including re-charging.
There should be access for all.
See 20 Aug’ 51 “the main feature of the park is that it is open to all sections of the public.”

April 2020. The Scenic Drive-Way Car Park Entry
The Tea Kiosk was situated just in there.
The Car Park Entry to the Memorial Park
The Scenic Drive-Way could be named: Babbage Way.

The second road drains outlet should be reconnected with the lake. The third road drain should be redirected into the lake. This would greatly assist the lake and also allow for the lower river path, toward the netball courts, to re-open.

The existing Scenic Drive-Way could be appropriately named: ‘Babbage Way’
Harrold G Babbage was the designer, planner and supervisor of the parks construction. See 5 Dec’ 55 review of opening ceremony. Mayor C.F Jacobs:
“The Park will stand as a living memorial to your citizenship.” Directly addressing Mr H.G Babbage.
Retaining and naming the existing road (essential for general accessibility through the reserve) would acknowledge and enhance the heritage values associated with the formation and dedication of our artistic and symbolic War Memorial Park.

Entry Archways VS Many Gateways. Boffa Miskell: “Strengthening the connection between areas.“
By function or by title, Gateways do not “strengthen connection between areas” They restrict/demarcate from the wider community.
From the outset, the park design envisaged the requirement of a road bridge connecting Mutu St with Ohaupo road. The bridge was finally in place by 21 April 1989.
See 20 Aug’ 51. The Original Concept: “As a route would be immediately past the park, their first impressions would be lasting.”
The Park, including the Entry Archway of 2001, is impressive to all who pass by, to or from that bridge. Removal of the park’s road and its Entry Arches and making Racecourse road the main entrance, would be far from the proposals objectives to: identify, protect, enhance or strengthen the reserve design.
Traffic would pass by a ruined memorial concept that is overwhelmed with irrelevant disrespect.

Gates were considered inappropriate for the Memorial Park.
See 20 Aug’ 51 “The Government has laid down that finance for war memorials must be for projects which are public in character, and the main feature of the park is that it is open to all sections of the public.”
15 June ’51 Prior to Harrold Babbage joining the committee: “It was generally agreed that gates be erected at the entrance”
25 July ‘51 After Harrold’s Concept Plan was adopted: “Memorial gates have been mentioned…as a memorial feature of the park, but I consider that gates are a failure” “The original scheme was simply to have gates to tell the people that they were entering a memorial park”
20 Aug’ 51 “Gates to the park had been eliminated as unnecessary” Instead the stone wall along Mutu st was suggested, with steel gates sliding inside the walls during the day.
20 Oct’ 52. Mayor Parsons: “A beautified, restful area, open at all times to all people” Only the stone wall eventuated.
11 March ’53. “Mr Babbage reported that an offer had been received from engineers in town to make iron gates to be placed at the entrance to the park and the offer was accepted”
11 May ’55. “It was at one time intended to build a large memorial gateway to the park…lights are to be installed in preference” They too were not installed.

An Entry Archway. Not a Gateway.
Mayor F Parsons: "Open At All Times To All People"
Enty Arch-Ways, Open At All Times To All People
See the Zion Sundal at the entrance of the Scenic Drive-Way.

The original long term objective for the Memorial Park Concept, was a development from Albert Park to the racecourse.
See 25 July ’51. “A long range objective…development of the whole area from the racecourse to Albert Park for wide range public benefit…along the banks of the Mangahoi and Mangapiko streams almost limitless opportunity.”
See 20 Aug’ 51. Green Belt. “Looking further to the future…finally there would be a green belt right across…from the racecourse to Albert Park.”
Many of the current draft proposals to “provide opportunities for education and play grounded in ecology and culture,” could become developments in area’s at either end of the ‘Memorial Park.
Such as the Awamutu site opposite the squash courts. And the area through Montefiore reserve from the Te Wananga, to the Netball court area.
The proposed gateway access from Racecourse Road would make a strong statement and provide more parking in this area. An educational gathering place at the Mangaohoi and Mangapikpo confluence, telling of the culture of the Kaipaka Pa, would consolidate the cultural theme.

The Mangapiko Stream was realigned. It had wound its way toward the Mangahoi (as it was then spelt) to meet it head on, at the present confluence. The final section of that original Mangapiko stream bed still exists, full of branches and leaves, surrounded in trees. The area to the left of where pictured, lay under the protection of Kaipaka Pa.
This area can be reached via Racecourse Road. As part of the original long term objective, it could be developed as an addition to the Pioneer Walk and become Kaipaka Park.

The Mangaohoi stream was also realigned at the netball end of the park some time prior to 1962.
The section between the three river paths and the netball court, was straightened. The grass sloped end of the netball courts was the original ‘left bank’ of the Mangahoi stream. However, all current local maps, still show the streams original ‘Z’ shaped course.

Remnant of the Original Mangapiko Stream Bed.
Viewing South toward the Mangaohoi confluence.
The end section of a remnant of the original Mangapiko Stream bed

Puna Restoration
Just below the netball courts is a significant spring that could be developed without destruction, as is proposed for the Semi-Sunken Garden memorial feature.
Emerging from the slope below the netball courts is a spring outlet feature clad in limestone. It flowed immediately under a small stone slab footbridge (removed by council) The output is now piped under the path as if a nuisance, and heads off to enter the stream. All of the objectives for Puna restoration can be met here.

See Park reports of 1967. In this area was a Double Sided Picnic Shelter. It and the Army footbridge, were installed as late as 1968 via a bequest from Marion Dawson in 1966.
Alf Smart developed the area from 1965 onward with plantings and paths including a large boulder rockery beside the spring, donated by Mr C.H Douglas. This picnic area should still be benefiting winter netball attendees. Double sided picnic shelters as built by A.L Waters ltd could be rebuilt. It would be nice to see the small stone footbridge over the spring again.

View of the Sunken Rose Garden

The Lost Sunken Garden.
The Sunken Rose Garden was destroyed in April 07 due to “ongoing maintenance problems
Ironically, the flower bed that has resulted from the removal of the Sunken Rose Garden, takes up an inordinate amount of maintenance at the expense of the parks many memorial features.
See 24 March ’54. Stressed from inception: permanent materials, rock, concrete, paths and roadway would complete the park.
“It was not considered that the planting of flowerbeds or plots came within the scope of the construction of the park, whereas trees, shrubs, and lawns, which were of a permanent nature, did.”
Despite this maintenance concept, over attending to flower beds instead of the general upkeep of the park, continues.

5 April ’07. The destruction was referred to as a “significant upgrade for the garden” with new drainage, footpath and kerb.  $42,000 was spent levelling it, rather than making repairs. Within the Lost Sunken Garden were waterways that wound their way through around and under rockery features of steps, paths, seats, small footbridges, small pools, four rose beds and a sloped cactus plot. Toward the entrance the water passed under the road to the Sunken Lily pond.
5 April ’07. Shirley Stirling: “It is a shame that the rockery and Sunken Rose Garden which was created through community efforts 52 years ago seems destined to be grassed over.”
”This project has been described as a restoration, but it sounds more like replacement to me”

Do not allow the same to happen to the rest of Our War Memorial Park.

At the entrance to the park on the curve of the stone wall is a brass plaque.

“Built in proud and grateful memory of those men who served their country in the 1939-1945 War.
Opened by Sir Sidney Holland 4 December 1955.
Designed by H.G Babbage and G. Gibbs. Constructed by H.J Webber and A.E Smart.”

See the Sunken Cross Honour Roll
2 Dec’ 55. Arthur Warburton: “It is the result of the combined efforts of many public spirited citizens and a credit to us all. To view the project in retrospect may not bring back completely the task that these people set their hand to, but at least it will give the people some idea of the hopes, the fears and, indeed the accomplishments over a long period.”
See Published Contributors List.

5 Dec’ 55 Arthur Warburton. “Will the People in their turn be as faithful? Will they as this generation passes on, hand down the same spirit of service and sacrifice?”

Let this Submission also serve as a Heritage Assessment.
14.8.18 Anne McEwen. “I think that it would be a really good idea if council were to undertake a heritage assessment before they [whoever they are] decide to demolish or redevelop any council-owned asset of possible/likely historic interest.”


Should Boffa Miskel, Council’s Reserves and Biodiversity Planners and
Community Services Manager be named here instead?

THE BEST SENTIMENT COMES FROM THOSE WHO KNEW. Those who built the park, even with the next of kin in mind.
That is our heritage to cherish and value, not to remodel or re-concept.

God Save Our Memorial.

By what reasoning do Waipa Council’s Reserves Planners, Biodiversity Planner and Community Services Manager determine that: only the Sunken Cross, Front Wall and Scent Garden should be protected? Forsaking the very many obvious features of the memorial complex and the Planned, Built and Dedicated Concept of our Novel, Artistic and Symbolic War Memorial Park?

Marc Dawson.
acb3d@xtra.co.nz
I would like the opportunity to speak about this submission.