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War Memorial Gates

The Domain - pre european settlement  

Pre 1828 Ngai Tamarawaho and Ngati Tapu hapu occupied the land as their food basket before the Ngati Maru taua (Hauraki tribe) attack in 1828. The tribe was heavily armed with muskets and the loss of life was catastrophic.  Those remaining fled. For many years the land lay fallow. 

In 1838 the land where the Tauranga and Wharepai Domains stand today, was used by The Papa Mission Station (The Elms Te Papa #19) for their animals and as a garden for their food. 

In 1873 The Domain started the journey to become a public green space - with Wharepai being added in 1878 when a Domain Board was set up to administer the public park.   

The Memorial Gates: Est. 1921. Historic Places Category 2.  A tribute to the Tauranga soldiers of all races who died in World War I, the War Memorial gates are the main entrance to The Domain.  Lead lettering on marble memorial plaques lists names and brick walls curve towards concrete pillars with pyramidal tops linked by Art Nouveau styled wrought iron gates.

Map No. 9.
47 Cameron Rd,
Tauranga, 3110.

 Memorial Gates: The Domain

Tauranga's War Memorial Gates, Undated postcard - Collection of Justine Neal

After the end of WWI Tauranga, like many other New Zealand towns decided a War Memorial was needed to recognise the brave sacrifice of the many local boys who had gone to fight and not returned. On March 29 1919 a public meeting was held to decide what form the memorial at the Domain should take. It was agreed to a War Memorial in the form of an ornamental gateway and gates to the Domain. The gates were to be funded partly by public subscription, although according to the paper the people of Tauranga had not been exactly forthcoming with their money. On December 11 1921 the opening ceremony for the Memorial Gates was held. The official parade was in charge of Lt. Col. Wilson. Immediate next of kin of fallen soldiers were invited to wear their war medals on their right breast and were seated with veterans and returned soldiers.

Rotunda in the Domain, Tauranga, Postcard, published by F.G. Radcliffe (3565) - Collection of Justine Neal

The Domain - the early days ...

The origins of the present day park go back to 1873 when Tauranga residents applied to the Native Minister for a domain to be set aside as a public green space.  Five years later the park was extended to the south. In 1881 the northern part was set aside for a secondary school. The southern part of the Domain was called the Wharepai Ground or Domain after David Asher’s boarding house, Wharepai, which was built in Hamilton Street in 1901 and demolished in 1971.

Quarantine site in 1890:
  a temporary tent hospital was erected in the grounds to cope with typhoid patients, the disease having been caused by the poor sanitary conditions in the town.

The band rotunda was well used over the years, on August 1 1906 the Bay of Plenty Times reported: The newly formed brass band will make its first appearance in public, when the members will give an open air concert in the band rotunda, in the Domain. A collection is to be taken up in aid of the fund in connection with the recent shipwrecks in Gisborne.

Special Note:  the peoples of Aotearoa New Zealand are known to help each other in times of need or catastrophe. This has not changed in this modern day.