It was a low key, but pleasant Rose Sunday on December 1 to celebrate the day in 1969 when Te Awamutu Rose Gardens were officially opened.

Thanks go to Te Awamutu and District Highland Pipe Band and Te Awamutu Brass for opening and closing the day with concerts in the gardens — reminiscent of Rose Sundays of years past.

Te Awamutu i-Site came on board, opening later until 4pm and offering the Burchell Pavilion to local artists Gerlinde Weinzettl, Lee Samuel, Teresa Siemonek, Rebecca Dowman-Ngapo and Toni Kingstone to exhibit and sell their works.

Teresa and Rebecca also worked in the gardens — again reminiscent of past Art in the Park events.

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Artist Teresa Siemonek works on a painting of Pirongia as viewed from Te Pahu in the gardens. Photo / Dean Taylor
Artist Teresa Siemonek works on a painting of Pirongia as viewed from Te Pahu in the gardens. Photo / Dean Taylor

Keith Story and his wife Delysse were valued visitors to the day.

Keith is a member of the Te Awamutu Rose Trust, but was Te Awamutu Jaycee president when the club took on the project in 1968/69 and would drive his tractor from his farm to the site after evening milkings and carry out ground work voluntarily into the night.

Also enjoying the day was my father Cedric Taylor.

Dad was also a Jaycee in the era of the Rose Gardens project, then volunteered to help Te Awamutu Lions build the original Te Awamutu i-Site Centre, then as a Lions member helped build the extension that is Burchell Pavilion.

Keith and Delysse Storey enjoying the beauty of Te Awamutu Rose Gardens. Photo / Dean Taylor
Keith and Delysse Storey enjoying the beauty of Te Awamutu Rose Gardens. Photo / Dean Taylor

If we carry on the family connection to 'The Hub', I was a member of Te Awamutu Alive that progressed the Te Awamutu Walk of Fame, and I still sit on the Induction Committee and as Te Awamutu Community Board chairman I was a member of the Playground Committee that fundraised for and designed Pioneer Park Playground.

Under my chairmanship we also worked with council to upgrade and extend Pioneer Walk and build a new entrance and we lobbied for the new public toilet facility.

As a member of the board of the Te Awamutu i-Site I ran a major fundraising exercise that eventually provided the funds for the community barbecue.

Members of the public find some peace and quiet time to relax in the Te Awamutu Rose Gardens. Photo / Dean Taylor
Members of the public find some peace and quiet time to relax in the Te Awamutu Rose Gardens. Photo / Dean Taylor

As well I instigated and co-ordinate the Te Awamutu Community Christmas Tree that is in the Rose Gardens.

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The Hub is certainly a credit to Te Awamutu and as it develops it will be a huge attraction for the townsfolk and visitors — and it all started 50 years ago with Ray Hyams, Te Awamutu Jaycees and the Te Awamutu Rose Gardens.