The site of Kawaroa Close in New Plymouth was formerly occupied by the railway yards. The name comes from the nearby park and its adjacent reef. Developers Delwyn and Bryce Barnett quickly recognised the value of the site for residential use.

The couple were equally astute in seeing the value of the Banks’ Florilegium, a collection of etchings based on the drawings of Sydney Parkinson, which they donated to Puke Ariki. Pages from this illustrated work formed the basis of Shadowing Venus, a 2012 Puke Ariki exhibition.

Such enthusiasm for the community is shared by residents of Kawaroa Close who are well known for decorating their houses with lights to celebrate Christmas.

Kawaroa Park is a recreational gem. Brooklands Kindergarten recognised Sea Week by visiting the rock pools and learning about conservation, sustainability and caring for the environment.

Near the children’s playground, a stone memorial seat recalls the good work of Victor Beal, a founding member of the society that developed the park, their works including a children's playground, tennis courts, croquet greens, public baths and an aquarium.

The park’s current attractions include the aquatic centre, a playground for children, the siege gun, those magnificent pōhutukawa trees with their understory, and of course the coastal walkway.

Not everybody appreciates the work that has been done in the past. An attempt was made in 2002 to poison the pōhutukawa trees. In 2006, vandals attacked a large section of Kawaroa Park bush, hacking back the understory of karo and kawakawa, and unwittingly promoting the growth of weed species such as Tradescantia.

In a similar vein, in March 2012, poachers plundered the reef, helping themselves to excessive numbers of undersized pāua. 

This story was originally published in the Taranaki Daily News.

Please do not reproduce these images without permission from Puke Ariki. 
Contact us for more information or you can order images online here.