A historic planting for the Halfway House

Dr Richard Davies, husband of Governor General Dame Cindy Kiro, planted a rimu tree at Glenside’s historic Halfway House during Wellington Heritage Week on 2 November to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee.

Clendon House looms over a tidy garden while grey clouds pass by above.
Halfway House courtesy of Claire Bibbyexpand/collapse

Dr Davies said that both he and Dame Cindy were honoured to travel to the United Kingdom for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, and then with great sadness they returned 3 months later to join others from around the world to pay their respects at Her Majesty’s State Funeral.

For her Platinum Jubilee year, Queen Elizabeth encouraged a global movement to ‘Plant a tree for the Jubilee’ with over 100,000 planted in New Zealand alone. Dr Davies reflected on the tradition of tree-gifting at the event, “I am honoured to add to that impressive tally here at the Halfway House in Glenside and to commemorate her 70-year reign.”

Dr Davies said he was returning a gesture made more than 150 years ago when Thomas Drake, who lived near the historic Halfway House, provided a tree to Prince Alfred, the Duke of Edinburgh in 1869. Prince Alfred was visiting New Zealand as part of the first ever Royal visit to Aotearoa. Mr Drake gifted two trees, one of them a totara, to the then Governor General, Sir George Bowen, and Prince Alfred planted the trees at the site of the former vice-regal residence.

“I am here today, over 150 years later, returning the gesture with a rimu for these historic gardens, ” said Dr Davies.

Clair Bibby, President of the Glenside Progressive Association and Heritage Gardens leader, said the messages from Dr Davies resonated with the friends and supporters of the Halfway House and historic gardens, that it was a lovely spring day for the planting, and recommended all visitors admire the amazing gardens in all their beauty.

David Watt