Matamata Heritage Trail
Cross Broadway, turn right and enter Price Terrace.
This villa style house was built by Joseph Price and his wife Mary in 1906. Joe Price was a blacksmith who came to the district in 1893 and set up business opposite the Matamata Primary School in 1904. The house originally had a long drive from Broadway. Joe Price served as chairman of the first Matamata Town Board 16917-1922. He was a member of the Thames Valley Power Board for 27 years (Chairman for 14 years) and of the Waikato Hospital Board for 22 years (Chairman 1945-1946). Price house is listed on the District Plan.
Turn right into Rawhiti Avenue and left into the entrance of Centennial Drive North.
The Matamata Centennial Drive Extension was set aside as a reserve when the adjacent residential area was subdivided. The initial planting included three totara in memory of Prime Minister Norman Kirk who died in 1974. The Matamata Borough Council called on the community to form a committee (first elected in 1983) to work with Council in accordance with the redevelopment plan. Work commenced at the Rawhiti Avenue and the Tawari Street entrances and the drive was not opened for its full length. Service clubs assisted with works which include a barbecue area, the children’s playground and scented garden. In 1985 the area was renamed Centennial Drive North. By 1997 the whole area was opened up to link the two ends.
Turn left at the end of this drive into Tawari Street and proceed to the end.
A Founders’ Park Committee was elected at a public meeting convened by the Matamata Rotary Club on 20th June 1962. Founders’ Memorial Park was dedicated on 15th December 1965 as a memorial to Wiremu Tamihana, Rev. Alfred Brown, and Josiah Firth, all connected with the early history of Matamata. A tree and brass plaque opposite the Matamata RSA commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Matamata Country Women’s Institute. Nearby is the Kate Sheppard Camellia Garden containing a rock with a plaque celebrating the 1993 centenary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand. An entrance to the park has been redeveloped opposite Arawa Street North. There is a plaque here which commemorates the three early leaders in the Matamata District.
Walk through the park and turn right into Rawhiti Avenue. Opposite Jim Gardiner Grove turn right into Gordon Terrace to view the Rawhiti Rest Home at the end of the Street.
This was originally built in 1917 by JF (Fred) Vosper and his family as a farm homestead. It is a corner angle bay villa with elaborate fretwork and three verandahs. Attractive trees and gardens planted by the Vosper family made this a pleasant setting where garden parties were held buy the Methodist Women’s fellowship. The entry was through a long tree-lined drive from Waharoa Road East.
Mr. and Mrs. Tom Grant bought the house in 1948 and sold it to Mr. and Mrs. Digger Robertson in 1955. The entry was changed to Gordon Terrace. In 1961 a fire burnt half the house, which was restored as closely as possible to the original. In 1984 Rawhiti was purchased for a private rest home.
Extensions carried out since have retained the character of the original house. Rawhiti has been registered as a Category 2 building under the Historic Places Act and registered in council’s District Plan along with an oak tree (Quercus Robur) in the grounds.
Return along Gordon Terrace and turn right into Rawhiti Avenue.
In 1989 the Matamata Borough Council named this reserve in honour of Jim Gardiner, a well known horticulturist, to recognize his contribution to the community. He was awarded a QSM in 1983.
Turn left into Waharoa Road East and then left into Broadway and back to the Information Centre.