One of the oldest volcanos in Auckland, “Pukekawe” (meaning “Hill of bitter memories”) exploded -unknown when exactly but carbon dating of a tree found below the soil surface showed it was at least 50,000 years old - resulting in the creation of Domain Park. Originally, the crater floor became a lava lake, but when the western edge collapsed slightly, it became a fresh water lake. Slowly, over the ensuing years, this lake turned into a swamp and filled with sediment. When the Maori peoples settled the land around 1350, they thought the crater area was one of the best sites for growing “kumara” or sweet potatoes. They also constructed a storage facility here as well as a fortified village, known as a “Pa,” on the crater. In 1843, the Europeans bought the land and set it aside as a park reserve. By the 1860’s the Domain Springs became the main water source for the city of Auckland. During the late Victorian era, a large number of exotic trees from around the world were planted throughout the park. Domain Park was the site for the 1913 Auckland Exhibition (World’s Fair) which financed many improvements to the area. Among the numerous structures constructed for the Exhibition, its arts and crafts styled Tea House was the only one intended to remain after it was over. Today, Domain Park is home to one of Auckland’s main attractions, the War Memorial Museum (which will be discussed in a later posting). This is a great oasis from the stress and hectics of urban life.
While walking through the park, we had the good fortune to meet, and spend some time with, the Guerin family from France (who were exploring the world for a year).
Some of the “locals” have taken up residence in the duck pond.