Centennial Park is a place that has a lot of significance to sisters Casey Kiernan and Jodi Hepburn.

As children they would run through the rolling acres, when it was known as the Rotorua Tree Trust, a shortcut between their childhood home and the homes of other family.

Now they visit to remember their grandfather, as well as their dad Norm Hepburn, who died in 2011. They have named two trees for them.

``Mum's already decided she wants to have a tree and my Nana too,'' said Mrs Kiernan.
``They've picked their spots. It's a nice place to come and visit. It's hard to believe the city is just there.''


Mrs Kiernan has recently graduated from Waiariki Institute of Technology, which is next to the 20ha park.

``It was nice to jump the fence and go for a walk away from it all. We normally come up here on Christmas and the kids hang decorations up. There's a barbecue area too and the kids just love it. They bring a ball and run around.''

She said the family liked to gather in the park for memorials.

Centennial Park is on the slopes of Tihi-o-tonga, accessed from Mokoia Dr. The idea behind the development was to provide an area of land for people to dedicate trees for family members or local dignitaries.

There have been a variety of developments within the area recently including the addition of a barbecue, toilet, picnic tables, Maple Grove and Peace Memorial. Trees can be dedicated by visiting Rotorua District Council.

The Rotorua Daily Post Essential 50 lists the city's must-see, must-do and must-try activities and experiences thanks to reader nominations. We'll be highlighting one every day over summer.