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.


 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 Draft 2022 Programme includes:

10 Feb (MMMHP) – “The Singapore Strategy – Part 2” (80th anniversary of the Fall of Singapore, in February 1942), by CDR (Rtd) Richard Jackson, RNZN

10 Mar (MMMHP) – “The NZ Army Staff College at Massey University and Linton Military Camp” (80th anniversary of both, 1942), by LTCOL Dr Peter Wood, ONZM, Director of the NZ Wars Study Centre, NZ Defence College (NZDC)

14 Apr (MMMHP) – “The First Battle of the Somme in 1916” by LTCOL (Rtd) Prof Glyn Harper, QSM, Professor of War Studies at Massey University

27 Apr (Globe 2 Theatre) – WW1 topic presentation by Assoc Prof Maartje Abbenhuis, Auckland University

12 May (MMMHP) – “Life as a Beefeater in the Tower of London” by WO1 (Rtd) Partrick Nolan, RNZEME (now RNZALR)

9 Jun (MMMHP) – “Soldiers Without Guns – (Operation BIG TALK) – Part 2 – The continuing Bougainville and PNG peace talks”, by RADM (Rtd) David Ledson, RNZN

21 Jun (Tue – EPLP) – “First Battle of Alamein, including Alam Halfa Ridge and Ruweisat Ridge” (80th anniversary, 1942), by LTCOL (Rtd) Prof Glyn Harper, Massey University

14 Jul (MMMHP) – “Operation FARAD – Multinational Force Observers (MFO), Sinai” (40th anniversary of establishment/NZ involvement), by MAJ Mike Pettersen, MNZM, RNZE

11 Aug (Thu – MMMHP) – “Able Seaman Just Nuisance, RN”, by WGCDR Peter Hurly, RNZAF

30 Aug (Tue – EPLP) – “Balkans Blitzkrieg – NZ’ers in the Greek Campaign in WW2”, by LTCOL Dr Peter Wood, ONZM, Director of the NZ Wars Study Centre, NZDC

8 Sep (MMMHP) – “Titokowaru’s War – South Taranaki,1868-69”, by LTCOL Dr Peter Wood, ONZM, Director of the NZ Wars Study Centre, NZDC

13 Oct (Thu – MMMHP) – NZ Wars Month – “The Musket Wars in the early 1800’s”, by LTCOL Dr Peter Wood, ONZM, Director of the NZ Wars Study Centre, NZDC (in Heritage Section, PNCL)

11 Nov (Fri – EPLP) – “A Tale of Two Myths., 1914-15”, by Dr Ian McGibbon, ONZM, General Editor (War History) at the Ministry of Culture and Heritage

24 Nov (Thu – MMMHP) – “Hunting the Bombers – the Luftwaffe Night Fighter Campaign”, by PO(EWO) (Rtd) Dennis O’Rourke, MNZN, RNZN

(Note that all the 2020-21 audio recordings and Powerpoint presentations are on the “nzsappers” website (see letterhead above). EPLP = Evening Public Lecture Presentation at the Globe Theatre and MMMHP = Monthly Midday Military History Presentation at Level 2, Heritage Section, PN City Library or the Globe Theatre.)



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

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

9 Mar (MMMHP) – “The Signals Corps Centenary”, by LTCOL Jared McGregor, RNZ Sigs

13 Apr (MMMHP) – “The Battle of Gate Pa (Pukehinahina) in 1864”, by LTCOL (Rtd) Dr Chris Pugsley, ONZM, FRHistS

11 May (MMMHP) – “The Battle of Manners Street (in 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 Army

27 Jun (Tue – EPLP) – “The RNZAF (permanent Air Force) Centenary”, by 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 LTCOL Dr Peter Wood, ONZM, Director of the NZ Wars Study Centre, NZDC

29 Aug (Tue – EPLP) – “80th Anniversary of WW2 (1943) topic”, by LTCOL (Rtd) Dr Glyn Harper, QSM

14 Sep (MMMHP) – “RNZN selected presentation”, by RADM (Rtd) David Ledson, RNZN, ex Chief of Navy

12 Oct (Thu – MMMHP) – NZ 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) – “A Place for Heroes – The Battle of Rossignol Wood (Copse 125 – July 1918)”, by LTCOL (Rtd) Dr Chris Pugsley, ONZM, FRHistS

30 Nov (Thu – MMMHP) – “RNZAF selected topic”, by PO(EWO) (Rtd) Dennis O’Rourke, MNZN, RNZN

(Note: These presentations and topics may change according to speaker availability.  Also, that all the 2020-22 audio recordings and Powerpoint presentations are on the “nzsappers” website (Heritage Audio Section – see letterhead above). For 2023, all EPLP = Evening Public Lecture Presentations will be at the Globe Theatre and MMMHP = Monthly Midday Military History Presentations will be on Level 2 (Heritage Section) of the PN City Library.

This includes the military history presentations known as the “Evening Public Lecture Presentations” (EPLP) and the “Monthly Midday Military History Presentations” (MMMHP). 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, Chair of the PNCC Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee, PNCL Heritage team, PNCC Events team, PNDHAG members and the PNRSA Executive Committee.  The programme is very dynamic, venues include PNCL Level 2 (Heritage Section), The Globe Theatre and Te Manawa Education Rooms, depending upon availability and evolving Covid-19 restrictions.  Following invitations will confirm dates, timings and venues, together with any associated health and safety requirements.

Otherwise for 2024-2027, 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 an annual NZDF activity/event, provided by Linton Camp (1 (NZ) Bde) and RNZAF Base Ohakea, as Charter partners of the PNCC.


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