On this page, you will find Heritage-related items. This may include Military Heritage items, Military History presentation programme details, and other items of heritage interest.

Our local heritage community continues to shine this Heritage Month. They are hosting open days, playing games, giving talks, providing tours, making displays and delivering workshops. What more could a person want? You could attempt to find the lost monument, view machine art in a steampunk style, attend open days at Hoffman Kiln, the Electric Power Station, the Regent Theatre, Caccia Birch and Square Edge Community Arts. You can join a genealogy workshop on more sources to build your family tree, or bring your children to LibLab – Hear ye! Hear ye! Not to mention the fascinating displays at Central Library, Community Libraries and Te Manawa Museum of Art, Science & Heritage.

This is the link to the brochure where you can find the activities programmed for the rest of the month. Copy the link into your browser to see the brochure.




This draft programme follows on from the approved and successful previous activity listings. It includes the military history presentations known as the “Evening Public Lecture Presentations” (EPLP) and the “Monthly Midday Military History Presentations” (MMMHP) series. There are also “Major City Events” (MCE) as shown below and other related military historical anniversaries, activities, and events. This programme has been based around discussions with the PNCC Mayor, PNCL Heritage team, PNCC Events team, PNDHAG members and the PNRSA Executive Committee. The programme is very dynamic, and venues include PNCL Level 2 (Heritage Section) and Ground Floor (entrance on George Street), depending upon availability. Following separate invitations will confirm dates, timings, and venues, together with any associated RSVP and/or health and safety requirements.

Other notable anniversaries in 2023:
180th anniversary of the Wairau Affray in 1843
160th anniversary of the Waikato Campaign in 1863
160th anniversary of the Pai Marire (Hauhau) religion established in 1863 by Prophet Te Ua Haumene
80th anniversary of the Featherston – Japanese POW mutiny and casualties (in Feb 1943)
80th anniversary of Catalina Flying Boats entering service with RNZAF in Apr 1943 (withdrawn from service in 1953)
80th anniversary of the formation of 40 Sqn RNZAF at Whenuapai in Jun 1943
60th anniversary of Confrontation between Malaya and Indonesia in 1963
60th anniversary of NZ involvement in Vietnam (1963 – 1975)
50th anniversary of 1RNZIR and RNZAF Support Unit Singapore (3 Sqn Detachment) serve in Singapore 1973-1989. Both units withdrawn to the Manawatu in 1989.

2023 Notes – the programme has been developed during the latter course of 2022/early 2023, with a similar pattern to previous years. The 2022 Local History week is likely to extend out towards Mar 23, with more details to follow from PNCL. Other activities could include the “Battle of the Bridges” event in March (or later in) 2023 (hosted by Linton Camp and run by the Corps of RNZE and Defence Recruiting) in Te Marae o Hine/The Square. Also, the potential rededication of Memorial Park (a PN WW2 memorial) later in 2023. There is also the potential for a RNZAF commemorative event to celebrate the Centenary of the establishment of the NZ Permanent Airforce in 1923, at either RNZAF Base Ohakea and/or Wigram in Christchurch.
Otherwise for 2024-2028, a similar format/pattern as in previous years for both EPLP and MMMHP programmes, two major commemorative events (or MCE – ANZAC Day and Armistice Day), plus potential for an annual NZDF activity/event, provided by Linton Camp (1 (NZ) Bde) and RNZAF Base Ohakea, as Charter partners of the PNCC. Note that 2024 and 2025 hold some significant anniversaries of military campaigns from the early NZ Land Wars, through until more recent time and will be reflected in the respective programmes for each of these years.

MMMHP sessions are normally held on the second Thu in each month, Feb thru Dec, in the Heritage Section (Second Floor, PN City Library). EPLP sessions are normally held on Tue evenings (except for Mon in Apr) in the months of Jun, Aug and Nov, in the PN City Library Ground Floor (entrance on George Street). Other military history presentations by visiting historians and book launches/releases are also programmed throughout each year and will be advised separately. Event invite posters will confirm all timings and venues for these activities.


 The Engineer Corps Memorial Centre (ECMC) as part of the RNZE Charitable Trust and in partnership with the Palmerston North City Library (PNCL), will continue to host these presentations.

The 2023 Programme includes:

9 Feb (MMMHP) – “A Conscripted Society – NZ in the Second World War”, by Dr David Littlewood, Massey University

9 Mar (MMMHP) – “The Royal NZ Corps of Signals 101 – Certa Cito”, by LTCOL Jared McGregor, RNZ Sigs, Deputy Director Information Domain, Capability Branch, HQ NZDF

13 Apr (MMMHP) – “The Battle of Gate Pa – Pukehinahina in 1864”, by LTCOL (Rtd) Dr Cliff Simons, ED

24 Apr (Mon – EPLP) – “Muddle, Myth and Meaning – Another Viewpoint on the Gallipoli Campaign in the First World War”, by LTCOL (Rtd) Dr Glyn Harper, QSM

11 May (MMMHP) – “The Battle of Manners Street (Wellington on 3 April 1943)”, by LTCOL Dr Peter Wood, ONZM, Director of the NZ Wars Study Centre, NZDC

8 Jun (MMMHP) – “Vietnam War Presentation”, by WO1 (Rtd) Dave Hayward, RNZIR, ex Sergeant Major of the NZ Army

27 Jun (Tue – EPLP) – “The RNZAF (Permanent Air Force) Centenary”, by Simon Moody and SQNLDR (Rtd) Jim Rankin, DSD, RNZAF

13 Jul (Thu – MMMHP) – “The Battle of Kolombangara and NZ Cruisers in the Pacific”, by CDR (Rtd) Richard Jackson, RNZN

10 Aug (Thu – MMMHP) – “70th Anniversary of the End of the Korean War (Armistice on 27 June 1953)”, by COL (Rtd) Don Jones, ex-Defence Attache to Korea (in Seoul, 2018-2022)

29 Aug (Tue – EPLP) – “To the Sangro and Orsogna” – 80th Anniversary of the NZ Division on the ‘Winter Line’ in Italy, in 1943, by LTCOL Dr Peter Wood, ONZM

14 Sep (MMMHP) – “Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, Wellington”, by RADM (Rtd) David Ledson, RNZN, ex Chief of Navy

12 Oct (Thu – MMMHP) – NZ Land Wars Month – “Te Kooti’s War, 1868-72”, by LTCOL Dr Peter Wood, ONZM, Director of the NZ Wars Study Centre, NZDC

11 Nov (Sat – EPLP) – “Armistice DayThe Battle for Passchendaele”, by Hon CAPT (RNZN) Dr Andrew Macdonald, FRHistS, RNZRSA Official Historian

30 Nov (Thu – MMMHP) – “The Battle for the Mareth Line and Tunisia” – End of the North African Campaign and 80th Anniversary of WW2 in 1943, by LTCOL (Rtd) Dr Glyn Harper, QSM

(Note: These presentations and topics may change according to speaker availability.  Also, that all the 2020-2022 audio recordings and Powerpoint presentations are on the “nzsappers” website (Heritage Audio Section). For 2023, all EPLP = Evening Public Lecture Presentations will be at the PN City Library Ground Floor (entrance on George Street) and MMMHP = Monthly Midday Military History Presentations will be on Level 2 (Heritage Section) of the PN City Library.


RSA Paddling Pool, Victoria Esplanade, Palmerston North

In 1937 the New Zealand Returned Soldiers’ Association, which had been founded in 1916, celebrated its twenty-first anniversary. To commemorate the occasion, local branches of the RSA presented statements to their municipal councils expressing their appreciation of the support provided by the community to soldiers both during World War One and in the years that followed. The Palmerston North branch decided they also wanted to provide “a tangible reminder of our gratitude.” This led to the organisation’s sponsorship of the paddling pool constructed in the Botanic Gardens on Victoria Esplanade.

Bertram (Bert) Jacobs, the Dominion vice-president of the RSA and president of the Palmerston North branch, had originally written to the town clerk on 4 March 1937, proposing that the association “donate to the City two seats of appropriate design in the close proximity (one either end) of the Memorial in the Square Gardens” (B. J. Jacobs to the Town Clerk, 4 March 1937). However, following  a meeting in May the RSA instead agreed to the suggestion of “a Children’s Paddling Pool … with seats at the sides and tablet on the back thereof” with the work to be “undertaken with R.S.A. labour employed by the Council” (Town Clerk to Jacobs, 25 May 1937). Work commenced on the pool in mid-1937 and it was ready for use in October. The Manawatu Times reported: “It was not long either, before the children discovered that there was water in the new paddling pool which the Palmerston North branch of the R.S.A. has constructed as a gift to the city.  Boots and socks were soon stripped off and the joy of a new pastime indulged in” (18 October 1937).

The total cost of constructing the paddling pool was £416-13-0, towards which the members of the RSA contributed a donation of £75. Labour costs included £38-16-7 for workers hired under the unemployment relief scheme and £90-18-4 for the wages of council employees.

The form of the paddling pool is that of a circle intersected by a rectangle, which broadly resembles the shape of the RSA badge. The pool is 80 feet (24.4 meters) in length and filled with six inches of water. Alongside the paddling pool are a pergola and brick wall, which were funded through donations from Palmerston North businesses. The commemorative marble tablet was donated by W. E. Jones and installed by H. W. Johnson. (‘Returned Soldiers,’ Manawatu Standard, 31 May 1938).

Repairs were made to the pool over the years, but by 1978 the loss of water through cracks had become a major problem. The Director of Reserves, John W. Bolton, recommended that the paddling pool be replaced and that a filtration system be installed to help maintain the cleanliness of the water. Upon learning of this proposal, Arthur Lockwood, president of the Palmerston North Returned Services Association, contacted Bolton, writing:

“The Paddling Pool is a gift of which we are extremely proud and one of the most used facilities in the City, and it would be a great loss to this Association if our connection with this facility was obliterated in any way.

     It is requested therefore that in any replacement Pool the sentiments of the Returned Soldiers original gift to the City of Palmerston North be preserved and to this end this Association would wish to be consulted and represented in any proposals for the replacement of the Pool.” (16 November 1978).

After being assured that the replacement would replicate the original design and acknowledge its connection to the RSA, the Palmerston North branch selected the paddling pool as their fundraising project for 1979. Later that year they presented a cheque for $2824 to the council, as a contribution towards the costs of either repairing or replacing the paddling pool.

The contract for reconstructing the pool was awarded to A.J. Wood and Robson Ltd and the new filtration system was provided and installed by Filtermaster N.Z. Ltd. Work commenced in September 1983 and the new paddling pool, which was painted ‘iceberg’ blue, was available for children’s enjoyment in December. In total, the cost of the project was $40,905. The brick wall, pergola and commemorative plaque are the original structures that were installed in 1937, although the wall beneath the pergola is now decorated with a mural by Gemma Farrell.


‘Ex-servicemen Say Thank You: Paddling Pool Presented to Citizens as Appreciation of Assistance Rendered,’ Manawatu Times, 8 June 1937.

‘Gratitude of R.S.A.: Gifts to City: Co-Operation Appreciated,’ Manawatu Standard, 8 June 1937.

‘Sunshine and Cherry Blossoms: Esplanade Popular Rendezvous,’ Manawatu Times, 18 October 1937.

‘Returned Soldiers: Palmerston North Branch: Annual Meeting,’ Manawatu Standard, 31 May 1938.

PNCC 1/5/5:0:83/13/4 Part 1, Correspondence for Reserves: Esplanade Paddling Pool, 1937-1984.

‘Mural in Palmerston North Parks Pretty Up Landscape, Put Taggers at Bay,’ Manawatu Standard, 3 March 2017, https://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/90031170/murals-in-palmerston-north-parks-pretty-up-landscape-put-taggers-at-bay