Thursday, 22 October 2020


Kotare Reserve Memorial Garden formally opened

More than 150 people attended the formal opening of the Kotare Reserve Memorial Garden in Hahei last Sunday morning.

The event started with a short hikoi led by Ngāti Hei kaumatua, Joe Davis, from the Hahei Ambulance Station to the landscaped garden - featuring an impressive “Tree of Life” wall, park benches and Corten steel boards touching on the history of Ngāti Hei and the Harsant and Wigmore families, two of Hahei’s most prominent pioneering families, and containing plaques remembering those who lived or enjoyed holidaying in Hahei.

At the garden, Christine Bannan, chair of the Kotare Reserve Memorial Garden Hahei Trust, welcomed everyone present. She outlined the 13-year process to have the garden established and thanked the many people involved in making it happen. The bulk of the work was done by members of the Hahei community, generously donating their time and skills.

Christine’s opening remarks were followed by Thames-Coromandel District Council mayor, Sandra Goudie, congratulating the Hahei community on yet another outstanding achievement. “A very special garden in a special place and a special country,” she said. “I can already feel what lovely place the garden will be to sit and remember those who came before us.”

Before a plaque was unveiled by prominent Hahei residents, Peter and Rhonda Hawley, Joe Davis invited everyone to join in a waiata.

The last word belonged to Joe who, to the amusement of all the ladies present, requested all the men to perform a haka, which, by the looks of it, was a first-time experience for many of them.

Pictured: (from left to right) Christine Bannan, Gilbert Bannan (Christine’s husband and fellow trustee of the Kotare Reserve Memorial Garden Hahei Trust), Sandra Goudie and Joe Davis.


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The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.