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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Provincial Districts]

Parks and Gardens

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Parks and Gardens.

The Egmont National Park Board was constituted in February, 1901, under the Egmont National Park Act of 1900, and consists of ten members, two of whom are Government nominees, and the remainder representatives of local governing bodies. The Commissioner of Crown Lands is chairman. Members for 1906: Messrs F. Simpson (chairman), S. Percy Smith and R. Dingle (Government nominees): W. A. Collis (New Plymouth borough), J. R. Hill (Taranaki County Council), N. King (Stratford borough), F. J. Wrigley (Hawera borough), F. W. Wilkie (Hawera County Council), A. J. Hastie (Stratford County Council), and A. H. Moore (Opunake Town Board). Mr. G. W. Palmer is secretary. The Park has an area of 78,922 acres, and in order to facilitate effective control and management, it is divided into four sections, each of which is under the control of local sub-committees, each consisting of about four members, who report periodically to the Board, and see to the proper conduct of the mountain houses, as well as other matters of detail.

The New Plymouth Botanical Gardens are under the care of a Board of Trustees; namely, Messrs F. P. Corkill (chairman), C. W. Govett, R. C. Hughes, S. Percy Smith, W. L. Newman, H. Ford, and three members appointed by the Borough Council. Mr. E. H. Tribe acts as secretary. The lovely gardens under the control of the trustees are commonly called the Recreation Grounds. There are forty-five acres of land under the management of the Board, and when taken over, about the year 1880, the whole area was rough, rural land. From the first the work of laying out and beautifying the grounds has been steadily carried out, without a Government subsidy, and the expenditure has amounted to from two to three thousand pounds in all. The New Plymouth Borough Council has for years subsidised the work up to £50 per annum, and this has now been increased to £100 a year. The land consisted originally of hills and gullies, with a splendid supply of water, and so it naturally lent itself to the intended purpose. Lakes covering an area of seven acres and a-half have been artistically laid out, and the waters of these reflect, with an idealising beauty, the tree forns, ornamental shrubs, and other vegetation on the adjoining hillsides. One of the principal objects of the Board has been the collection of New Zealand shrubs and flora, a very large number of which have been planted, and many remarkably fine specimens are growing in the grounds. A band rotunda and an areadian bridge, together with pretty refreshment rooms, have been erected by the Board. There are swans and other water fowls on the various lakes. A very fine sports ground has been made, and the tiers of seats on the surrounding amphitheatre of hills will accommodate about ten thousand visitors. On this spot the principal football matches have hitherto been held, and band contests have also taken place on the grounds. It is the intention of a specially appointed committee to spend a sum of about £1300 on further improvements in that portion of the grounds known as the sports ground. The grounds are much used by picnickers, and those who have visited almost every part of the colony declare that there is nothing in New Zealand to surpass the Taranaki Botanical Gardens. Two men are constantly employed in planting, clearing, and caring for the property. In one part of the grounds there is a fish hatchery, under the care of the local Acclimatisation Society.

Collis, photo.Recreation Grounds, New Plymouth.

Collis, photo.
Recreation Grounds, New Plymouth.

Mr. Edward Henry Tribe has been Secretary to the Trustees of the Taranaki Botanical Gardens since 1804.