Centennial Drive Reserve
This scenic drive in Matamata is divided into three sections by roads. The drive starts on Tainui Street, crosses Rata and Tamihana Streets, before finishing on Broadway (State Highwway 24).
The reserve consists of a flat grassed area with a water feature to mark the entrance of the Drive, numerous park benches, picnic tables and drinking fountains throughout, and gardens that line both sides of the drive (native and Magnolia gardens). It makes a lovely short walk, or a brief scenic drive.
The collection of mature trees include Gingko biloba, Liriodendron tulipfera, Quercus robur, Q. palustris, Acer palmatum, Cedrus atlantica, C.deodara, and Liquidamber spp.
In 1939 and 1940, trees were planted to mark the centenary of New Zealand, and the area was named Centennial Drive, but was neglected through World War II.
In 1956 the Centennial Drive Development Society was formed to develop the area into a park with assistance of local voluntary groups. The Drive was then transformed into an extensive collection of trees, many of them labelled. In 1964 the Tainui Street entrance was marked by the placing of a 13 tonne rock and surrounding pool – a memorial to Maori, missionaries and early settlers of Matamata.
During 1993 part of the Drive was established as a Magnolia Grove in the memory of Viola Bell, who was the first President of the Society for a period of twenty-seven years and a major contributor to the Matamata community. Regular planting and minor maintenance is undertaken by volunteers from the Centennial Drive Society, with Matamata-Piako District Council undertaking grass cutting, litter control, and major tree work.
Centennial Drive is a popular venue for weddings - contact us to make a booking!