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Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 23, June 1979

By TUI MURDOCK

The Alley Memorial Park on the banks of the Hikutaia River, close by the school is one of the district's landmarks of many years standing and celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 1973. In the early 1920's many memorials to servicemen were being erected, most of which could not be used in any way. Hikutaia people decided to build a more useful one and Mr. William Henry Alley gave the land for a memorial park in honour of those who served in the First World War and their names, plus those of the second World War, are engraved on the handsome gateway to the park.

Led by pioneer men like Mr. Hughie Morrison and Mr. Isaac Robinson, both of whom devoted their long lives to the well being of the park, were Messrs W.H. Alley, F. Maxwell, Malcolm Morrison, R.W. Lowry, W.K. Morrison, E. Elliott, George Avery, A.R. Robinson, R. Morrison, H. Brash, A. Gubb, G. Gibb, F. Hitchcock and M.C. Smith. Many of the names of those men are still well remembered in Hikutaia and many of their descendants still live there. The women folk too, did their part by raising money with dances, balls and bazaars as well as providing refreshments for the toilers, while the younger fry helped with carting soil and other less strenuous jobs. To all these people must go the greatest praise and thanks as they started from scratch in a farm paddock to create their park and after much back-breaking work, in the days when there was no machinery but only a great will to work for something they believed in, they left the district a great asset when the park came into being in February 1923. The memorial gates were dedicated and pronounced open in 1926 by the electorate member, Mr. A.M. Samuels, M.P.

As today, this beautiful little recreation park set just off the main highway catered for bowling, croquet, and tennis with two tennis courts, fine bowling and croquet greens surrounded by lawns and shrubs. But down all those 50 years, the park has been in existence, many, many people have given much time and work to keep it functioning and up to standard - this generation is no exception. With enthusiastic leadership which included a woman, Mrs. Thelma Bax, as park secretary, backed by their members and residents, plus a huge amount of hard and voluntary work, they raised the finance to replace the very old and small wooden clubhouse of 1923 with a splendid pavilion in modern materials and with every convenience, which was opened in 1969 and further extended in 1974.