Parks & Recreation
The Parks & Recreation department is responsible for the provision
and policy operation of all urban and rural parks and reserves:
Manager Assets & Operations
Parks & Facilities Manager
Parks & Open Space Officer
Property & Facilities Officer
Routine maintenance and services for these amenities are completed
under contract by Recreational Services Ltd.
When Masterton was surveyed in 1854 an area was set aside for
"Public Reserve" on the site which is now Queen Elizabeth Park.
However when the reserves were gazetted in 1861, Queen Elizabeth Park was
included among the "Education Reserves". (Land from which
revenue was generated to provide schools). As a result the land was leased
and vested for rough grazing.
Queen Elizabeth Park from the air
In 1870 an attempt was made to set the land aside for public use, but
it was not until 1875 that a successful petition achieved acquiring the
land for the town. A publicly elected Trust was formed in 1877.
One of the first Trustees was a local nurseryman W.W. McCardle who
prepared plans for the park. The first major planting occurred in 1878.
The park was known as "Masterton Park" until 1954 when it was
renamed after the newly crowned monarch, Queen Elizabeth.
Activies & Features
As well as the Park office, nursery and depot, Queen Elizabeth Park
also incorporates many activities and features:
Queen Elizabeth Park Lake - "Lake of Remembrance"
One of the priorities for the Park Improvement Committee when the
Masterton Park came under the control of the Masterton Borough Council
was the establishment of an "ornamental water." When the land
was awarded to the Masterton Trust Lands Trust to add to the Park in
1904 it was decided to construct the ornamental waters in an old ox bow
off the Waipoua River.
In September 1906 it was resolved by the Council to add some
protective works to the banks of the river (along the old river course
at the bottom of Dixon Street, at Bruce Street) and to add the
"artificial water". The lake was completed in 1907. Bathing
was popular in the early years of the Park's existence, and as early as
1908 swimming carnivals were held in the Lake, to raise funds for
further improvements. A diving board was placed at the eastern end of
the Lake, and high diving events were placed on the programme.
A childrens' paddling pool was added to the Lake, at the area where
the inlet came into the Lake, in 1914.
During the early years the Council turned down applicants who wished
to run motor launches on the Lake, as well as a commercial water shute.
The major island is divided into four by several channels. Extensive
planting having taken place at different times.
The major refit came when it was decided to make the lake a memorial
to World War II. The lake was extended and renamed the "Lake of
Remembrance". At the same time an avenue of trees (oaks) was
planted to establish Memorial Drive around the northern side of the
Park Cafe - Cecille in the Park
Situated in the historic Kiosk building, Cecille in the Park is
operated as a private operation.
The Kiosk was built in 1912 as a tearooms and was known as Coronation
Hall to commemorate the coronation of King George V.
Alyner Pownall moved to Masterton as a 22 year old in 1887 a year after
becoming a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court in Wellington.
He established a legal practice and was elected Masterton's Mayor at age
24 - the youngest to ever hold the office. In 1893, he implemented the
raising of 30,000 pounds to establish a water and drainage scheme for
the town, putting an end to artesian wells and cesspits. Pownall was
elected to the position of Mayor twice more between 1896 to 1902.
He had a special interest in the beautification of the town and in
the Park. The gate was dedicated on June 3rd 1903. Pownall died in 1912
aged 47 years.
There were problems with the procuring of the gates. Originally the
four pillars were to have been of cast iron but the agreed tender of 65
pounds supplied posts of only half the expected diameter. To provide the
correct size would have been too expensive, so concrete posts were
erected instead. These provided a strong base for the cast iron gates to
be hung with the inscription "C.A. Pownall" and "Mayor
In the early 1960's an arch was erected over the gates bearing the
words "Queen Elizabeth Park".
Wairarapa Soldiers Memorial
The bronze figurine of "The Last Anzac" stands atop the War
Memorial just through the gates of Queen Elizabeth Park. Erected in
1923, it commemorates the last soldier off the beach at Anzac Cove and
was sculptured by the Lynch brothers of Auckland. It is one of two
figurines, the other being on the Devonport memorial in Auckland. There
are 438 names engraved on the original plaque.
In 1952 a special ceremony was held on Anzac Day where panels of the
names of men and women who lost their lives in the second world war were
The historic cemetery was revitalised in 1973 when consideration was
given to convert the site into a passive recreation area.
The community reacted strongly against this, taking into account the
notable figures buried there, including Masterton's founder, Joseph
Masters. The pioneer cemetery was officially established and cleaned up
by a group of volunteers. A lych gate creating an entrance into the park
was also erected.
In November 1974,, Miss Lena Iorns, a direct descendant of Mr Joseph
Masters unveiled a plaque "In memory of our pioneers ...". It
was erected by the Wairarapa branch of the New Zealand Founders Society.
The Hosking Garden
William Henry Hosking or "Old Doctor Hosking" was a
familiar figure in the rutted and dusty streets of the small Masterton
township of the 1890's. He was small, dapper, bearded and wore a top
hat. He was reportedly always in a hurry.
Superintendent of Masterton Hospital for 20 years, Dr Hosking was
ahead of his time using hypnosis on his patients and he had an x-ray
machine in his home. He bought radium to use on his patients, made his
own serum for injections and did his own research. He is reported to
have been one of the first doctors in New Zealand to introduce x-ray
apparatus and perhaps not surprisingly he died of radium poisoning at
the age of 76.
The most famous anecdote about Dr Hosking was that in the centre of
his top hat he carried his stethoscope or plant cuttings or specimens
from patients insides to be analysed at home.
He was keenly interested in horticulture and was responsible for the
introduction of hedgehogs and toads to the Masterton District.
Today's sunken garden was originally the Christina and Alice Hosking
Baths (commonly known as the C and A baths) which in 1910 were given to
the women of Masterton by Doctor Hosking. The baths were named after his
wife and daughter.
The baths were a grand affair with changing rooms while the baths
themselves were 75 feet long and 40 feet wide. There was also installed
a seat in one corner of the building where a woman was employed to sit
to "supervise the behaviour of the swimmers." It was the
doctor's daughter Christina who completed the opening festivities of the
day by being the first to dive into the pool.
The baths however, were badly damaged in the 1942 earthquake but it
was not until 1967 that the council of the time listened to their
Superintendent of Parks, Colin Pugh and agreed to have a sunken garden
built, using the original foundation from the pool.
The gardens were opened by Miss Christina Hosking.
Masterton Municipal Brass Band Rooms
The Masterton Municipal Brass Band opened its new band rooms in Queen
Elizabeth Park in Masterton, in March 1986. Previously it had been
housed in an old room on the Dixon Street side of Queen Elizabeth park
for some eighty years before the shift.
The band's origins date back as far as 1873 and is one of the oldest
bands in New Zealand.
Edward VII Band Rotunda
Since its settlement Masterton had attempted to raise funds for a
band rotunda. It was not until the Coronation of Edward VII on August 9,
1902 and the help of a special celebration subsidy that the plan became
reality. The band rotunda was built on the park oval as a coronation
memorial being completed in June 1903.
The Masterton band led a large crowd of dignitaries and residents in
procession from Masterton Post Office to the park for the double opening
and dedication of the band rotunda and the C.A. Pownall Memorial Gates.
Mr P.L. Hollings, Chairman of the Coronation Celebration Committee and
President of the band officially opened the band rotunda.
One of the original trees in Queen Elizabeth Park - a great Redwood -
was struck by lightning during a storm in mid 1989. The damage caused
the tree to be dangerous and had to be felled.
Parks staff counted the rings on the tree stump left in the ground
and ascertained that it was over 114 years old, making it one of the
original trees planted in the park.
It was decided that the stump was to be kept as a 'history table'.
The felled wood was used to create a memorial.
Today forming an intricate 'umbrella' over the tree stump, the
redwood shingle roof and trellis sides form the shade, while the trunk
beneath it forms a seat or table for viewing the oval.
The grandstand which stands alongside the oval in Queen Elizabeth
Park was built in 1895. As early as 1879 there had been attempts to
erect a grandstand, but these all faltered until 1895 when a concerted
drive for public subscriptions was successful in getting the building
During the 1920's a Beautifying Society was formed in Masterton. This
society was very interested in upgrading the Masterton Park, and they
provided a number of new features to the park over the years.
One of the first of these was the fernery, which was built in 1924,
and planted with 57 different varieties of fern.
The following year the Rose Garden was built, and planted with bushes
provided by the society.
Within the Park the society provided the scarlet oaks for the
Memorial Drive around the lake after World War 2, a native border near
the Pioneer Cemetery, and the Rhododendron Walk on the southern
Colin Pugh Sports Bowl
Originally known as Masterton's Sports Bowl, the sports field
attached to Queen Elizabeth Park was renamed, the Colin Pugh Sports Bowl
in 1989. It was named after Colin Pugh following his retirement from the
position of Superintendent of Parks in Masterton after 27 years service.
The park is used for soccer, athletics and cycling. In 2012 a synthetic
athletic track was completed at the Sports Bowl.
Henley Lake park covers 43 hectares adjacent to the Ruamahanga and
Waipoua Rivers on the North East boundary of Masterton. The lake itself
covers 11 hectares and includes 4 small islands.
The origins of Henley Lake, can be traced back to the 1930's and the
vision of Masterton lawyer Henry Major.
Along with several other people who formed a geological society, Mr
Major felt that a lake attraction would bring visitors to the region in
search of water-based recreation.
The society earmarked the derelict and largely unwanted area
including a gravel pit bordering the Ruamahanga River near Te Ore Ore
Road as the logical site of the lake.
Spasmodic development followed but it was not until the formation of
the seven member Henley Trust in 1966 that work began in earnest. Mining
rights to the site were obtained by the Trust and the revenue earned
from the sale of shingle funded bank loans, crown leases and property
Balloons over Henley Lake
The lake advanced to working drawings in 1985 and the first contract
for its construction was let the following year.
The lake was filled in 1987 while work continued on the greening and
landscaping of the surrounding grounds. Over 5,000 trees were planted
that year and a policy of ongoing planning was adopted by the Henley
Trust on the recommendation of conservationist Murray King.
The official opening of Henley Lake Park was held on 14th February,
1988, conducted by Henley Trust foundation member Mr John Mackley.
Henley Lake was passed from the Henley Trustees to the Masterton
District Council in 1991. The Trustees become the "Henley
Guardians" who oversee proposed developments. In 1993, the District
Council developed a management plan which aims to ensure Henley Lake
Park continues to be developed in line with the original vision.
The Masterton District Council manages and/or owns approximately 130
hectares of forestry plantations. This includes the Trimble Trust blocks
at Kaituna and Kaiwhata.
The Masterton District Council manages six cemeteries. The Pioneer
cemetery and Archer Street cemetery both adjacent to Queen Elizabeth
Park. Riverside on the east side of Masterton, and public cemeteries at Tinui, Mauriceville
A number of sports clubs and associations have their home lease on
Council owned park land.