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Browse the history of Waimakariri District
History of the parks and reserves in Rangiora
Baker park was formed in the 1960's, and is named for James and Sarah Baker, who came to New Zealand on the 'Cressy' in 1850. In the mid1850's the Bakers bought land in the area, Their first house was between Otaki and Sneyd Street. The first Methodist services in Kaiapoi were held in this house. In 1859, their second house was built in Otaki Street, and descendants lived their ir nearby until recent times.
Early in its history Baker park was under the control of both the Eyre County Council and the Kaiapoi Borough Council as the boundary ran directly through the middle of the park. It was administered by a joint committee. The Kaiapoi Borough Council carried out most of the work, but could only do so with the agreement of the Eyre County Council, who also had to pay half the costs. The anomaly ended in 1989 with local body amalgamation.
In 1972, Mrs N Minchington, a descendant of the Bakers, organised a group of people to plant trees around the perimeter of the park. These have taken many years to establish, with the ones by the roadside being continually being vandalised. The on the north boundary are now well established.
Hinemoa Park takes its name from the Hinemoa Hockey Club. Hockey was firstplayed in New Zealand at Kaiapoi where it was introduced by the vicar, the Rev. H H Mathias about 1892. In the 1890s both the men’s and women’s clubs were formed.The women’s club took the name `Hinemoa’, and it went on to become one of the strongest in Canterbury.
The clubs have recently amalgamated to become the Hinemoa/Kaiapoi Hockey Club [see Kaiapoi Park].When the Mansfield Park subdivision was in progress, suggestions were called from the public for a suitable name for the reserve and `Hinemoa’ was chosen from the names put forward.
The Kaiapoi Domain was gazetted in 1873 under a Domain Board, and was the first such reserve in North Canterbury. It is situated opposite the Kaiapoi Woollen Mill buildings. Before 1873, it was the site of Kaiapoi’s first cemetery, pound and rifle range in a waste of fifteen acres of sand dunes, wild Irishman and manuka. The pound was removed and then the cemetery site changed. The area had not been suitable as a burial ground since water was met five feet below the surface and the loose sand shifted with each northwest winds.
George H. Wearing, a Borough Councillor, boatbuilder, and later a hotel proprietor,was a tree-planting enthusiast who moved in 1873 that `a committee be formed to arrange for the planting of trees in various parts of the town.’ His interest led him to a term as Chairman of the Domain Board.
In 1894, the Board offered to give the Kaiapoi Borough Council control of the Domain if the public wanted it, and after a public meeting, the change was gazetted in November.
In 1923, the Kaiapoi Beautifying Association decided to erect entrance gates to commemorate the domain’s golden jubilee. The Council made a grant of £10 towards the project. The concrete pillars are inscribed for the jubilee and in memory of Mr. Wearing. The double jarrah gates and smaller ones for pedestrians are no longer there. Mr. J. Lothian Wilson, one of the original board members, officially opened the gates with a gold key on October 21, 1923, before a large gathering of residents. The Beautifying Association’s secretary, the Rev. W. B. Scott, said, “the gate posts were a memorial to Kaiapoi’s first beautifying association, which consisted of an ideal committee - an executive of one. The many beautiful trees in the domain were the result of George Wearing’s enthusiasm, and much of the early planting had been at his own expense.
”The flat area was once swamp and bulrushes, surrounded by scrub. Members of the Kaiapoi Model Aero Club began restoring the area in 1952, the result being a fine sheltered ground. Through the club’s efforts, the town gained an asset for passive recreation and special occasions. The annual Christmas carnival was held on the ground for several years. The domain was also an ideal spot for mill workers to enjoy their lunch break.
Early on, the Domain featured a small lake, which was fed by a well that was funded as part of the Diamond Jubilee Committee’s celebrations for Queen Victoria’s 60-year reign.
Until recently the Domain featured a set of whalebones forming an archway at one of the entrances. Isaac Sanders found the bones at Kairaki Beach in 1857 and he and his wife Jane dragged the bones more than two miles to their cottage on the North Road where they were set up. Their house became known as Whalebone Cottage. The bones were shifted to the Domain about 1911. They have been removed and stored because they were deteriorating and subjected to vandalism.
From pre-European times this area north of Kaiapoi was well inhabited. The Pa nearby was the main settlement for the Ngai Tahu in the central South Island. Surrounding the fortified Pa were many Kaianga trading their produce with each other and the Pa. The Ngai Tahu Kai A Te Atua Cemetery, the burial place of several influential local Maori elders, is adjacent to the reserve, and is an important historical and cultural feature.
For most of the 20th century, gravel and sand has been extracted from this area on both sides of Williams Street [previously the Main North Road], which has led to the formation of some of the lakes. The extraction was granted under licence to several companies over those years. In the early 1900s, the Reserve was owned by the Crown and administered by the Kaiapoi Borough Council.
In 1930 the land title was transferred from the Crown to the Council. Since 1989, with local body amalgamation, the Lakes are under Waimakariri District Council administration.
The southern portion was previously the town’s rubbish dump. This has now closed and the refuse area included in the Kaiapoi Lakes redevelopment. Local schoolchildren and scout groups have assisted in planting native shrubs and New Zealand tussocks to create a pleasantly shaped raised open grassed area. The redevelopment is ongoing.
Kaiapoi Park, adjoining the domain, is not owned by the Council, but was bought in 1896 by public subscriptions and debentures, and is vested in a board of trustees and controlled by them.
Back in 1895, the Park almost came under the borough council’s control, when the Mayor Edwin Feldwick called a public meeting to discuss the possibility of buying‘Hurse Park’ for a public recreation ground. The land was owned by James Hurse of Rangiora, and was little more than scrub and sand. Not enough votes were recorded to go ahead with the purchase. In March 1896, it was decided to buy the ground for £550, and another public meeting in April resolved to hand over to three trustees -George H. Blackwell, T. Caverhill, and Dr. J.A. Murray `for the benefit of all local athletic bodies having their headquarters in Kaiapoi.’ Mr. Blackwell, as well as his business and public activities, was a great believer in healthy recreation and remained a trustee until his death in 1914.
Rugby has been the major sport played at the park, but it is also home to cricket,hockey, and touch football. The Rev. H. H. Mathias, vicar of Kaiapoi, first introduced the game of hockey into New Zealand. Both men’s, and women’s clubs were formed in the 1890s. The clubs amalgamated recently and is now the Hinemoa/Kaiapoi Hockey Club.
The Kaiapoi Cycling Club was founded in 1899. An Easter Carnival was one of the big attractions of the year, and riders from all over New Zealand competed. In 1903 the club laid down an asphalt track, and a running track was formed inside this. An asphalted tennis court also existed. These facilities are no longer there. Recently, an old macrocarpa hedge on one side of the park’s road frontage was gum trees planted to provide shade.
The Council acquired the Kiln Place Reserve in 1991 as a reserve contribution. The area was the site of a brick kiln operated by Belcher and Fairweather, early businessmen in Kaiapoi.
In 1919 at the end of the First World War, the Kaiapoi Patriotic Committee considered several options for the town’s war memorial. At first a Memorial Town Hall was considered, but with escalating costs, the committee felt that a more fitting memorial would be a statue of a private soldier.
Stonemason William Thomas Trethewey was selected to sculpt a statue to be sited on the riverbank between the traffic bridge (now Williams Street bridge) and the band rotunda. In his speech at the unveiling, Mayor, J. H. Blackwell described the statue as capturing the spirit of `a typical Anzac.’ The statue is considered one of the finest memorial statues in New Zealand.
In 2004, the band rotunda was moved to Trousselot Park. The reserve has been redeveloped with memorials for the Second World War and the South African War relocated from their previous positions in the town. The whole Memorial Reserve isnow a quiet place of remembrance.
Until local body amalgamation in 1989, ‘The Pines’ and ‘Kairaki’ Beach areas were in the Rangiora County Council rating area, but were vested in the Kaiapoi Borough Council. A new Reserves Act in 1922 allowed the borough to lease out sections for a small annual rental, but the dual control by the county and borough produced some quite farcical situations, with things like mowing and rubbish collection shared between the two bodies. Since 1987 the sections have been gradually freeholded as leaseholders have bought them.
A Plantation Board, while in control in the early 1900s, planted a number of pine trees at Kairaki. C. Morgan Williams [see Morgan Williams Reserve] was to have a great influence in the establishment of the trees as a means to halt the drifting of sand. Seeds from these trees generated northwards along the coast, giving the area the name `The Pines.’ Hector McIntosh, a son of one of the pioneers in the area,and Mayor of Kaiapoi 1924-1927 also worked to improve the beach reserves.
From the early days both areas were favourite picnic and weekend resorts for Kaiapoi and Christchurch people, providing good sea and river fishing, bathing and boating.Because of the anomaly of the two councils having jurisdiction of certain aspects of the reserves disillusioned residents and leaseholders have been self-sufficient since
The Scott Rose Garden is situated next to Trousselot Park. It was established about 1923 by members of the Beautifying and Burgesses Association. This was one of the first projects that the Association undertook after being formed in 1922. Together with Trousselot Park the area was formerly swamp and was used as a rubbish dump. An enormous amount of work was undertaken by Association members to make the site ready for planting.
In February 1925, the Borough Council recommended that the Rose Garden be known as the Scott Rose Garden in recognition of the work the Reverend W. B.Scott had done for the town, as a Methodist minister, Councillor, and as a founding member of the Beautifying Association.
On at least two occasions the garden was sadly neglected. The first period was during the Second World War years after the first gardener, Mr. C. H. Ching left and before Mr. H. G. McAllister took over about 1947. The second period was after Mr.McAllister left. He was elected to the Kaiapoi Borough Council in 1968 and with other interested people created a new design for the garden. Since then, the Rose Garden has flourished to become a popular spot for picnics and weddings.
In 2005 the solid wooden fence on the Charles Street boundary has been removed.A natural hedge has been planted in its place. The wooden pergola has been replaced. Additionally the fence between the Rose Garden and Trousselot Park has been removed.
Trousselot Park is named for H. W. Trousselot, the first Chairman of the Kaiapoi Beautifying and Burgesses Association, formed in 1922. The Association’s first meeting discussed the possibility of beautifying the riverbanks. In 1923, it was decided to apply to the Waimakariri Harbour Board for sections in Charles Street to make a miniature park. This was approved the following year, at a cost of a shilling a year. The ground was fenced, cleared, ploughed and sown for the first time in 1926, and an avenue of silver birch trees planted along the road frontage.
In 1946, Trousselot Park was handed over to the Kaiapoi Borough Council to be managed as an open space reserve. Many improvements to the drainage, and tree planting have occurred over the years.
A War Memorial plaque for the Second World War sits on top of the stopbank at the rear of the park. Next to the park is the Scott Rose Garden and between the two runs a pathway that leads to the Mandeville swing bridge across the Kaiapoi River. This bridge, built in 1874, used to stretch over the swamp as far as Charles Street.
In 2004 the Band Rotunda was moved from Raven Street and completely renovated.The park is now the venue for outdoor concerts and weddings.