About Us » History
History of Te Aroha Holiday park
The property was first established as a farm around 100 years ago. The old driveway to the homestead is still visible complete with stately oak trees towering on both sides of it.
The 1920's and '30's
It was young Mr Meehan's dream in the early 1960's to build a pool for the district's children, which was sparked by the warm water spring found on his property.
Together with his father, the two men started digging the soil by hand. It was a lot of hard work, but it was relatively easy digging as the soil was sandy once they broke through the clay pan. They dug and framed the walls, then mixed concrete and poured the floor and the walls, finally connecting the pipes and the filters. The walls were made very thick - so far nothing seems to have cracked them.
A changing room and toilets were quickly put up, some trees removed and the grass cut between the rest of them to make a sports field and room for campers to arrive in summer. It was decided to call the new holiday destination in Te Aroha the 'Anavon Park'.
During the school term, local children came for their annual picnic to Anavon Park. They had swimming races and played rugby on the sports field behind the pool. Families came from as far as Wellington, their children helping the farmer during the day while the parents relaxed under the trees and in the pool.
By the late 60's, the Meekan family could no longer make ends meet and sold both the farm and Anavon Park. It changed hands another four times and when we bought it in 1990, the old farm homestead had been replaced by a brick house closer to the road. This became the new reception and ice cream shop. Three cabins were added along the old drive beneath the oak trees and three motel units on the opposite site of the drive, all exposed to enjoy the full mountain view.
Although the large, deep pool requires a lot of maintenance due to its rough walls, it provides a lot of fun and is open in the summer months. People love jumping in the deep end. It has since been extended and landscaped with rocks and a ponga fence on the mountain side. To benefit from the spring water all year, a much smaller oval shaped hot pool with seats for about 6 people has been added recently the water is filled daily and heated to 38 – 40°C in the evenings.
More cabins and cottages have been added since, providing a range of options to suit all budgets. The mountain views, space and shade under the trees, the bird life and the farming community surrounding the park plus of course the spring water have become the main reasons for people to choose their vacation at the Te Aroha Holiday Park.
Sheep vs. Horses
Photo: The grazing sheep are now replaced by grazing horses. This area is located behind our cabins "Peacock, Rifleman and Possum, to the west of Tui Cottage. Watch the hairstyles.
Photo: Camping during the '80's note how small the oak tree trunks were. Cabins were painted in dark brown.
Share your history with us
If you are one of these post parental pedallers (grey nomads or whatever they call us...) anyway, if you are one of the first camping customers out of the sixties, please make contact with us. If you can send us a photo from the sixties, showing you and your family camping at Anavon Park, we will shout you a free night here!