Saturday, June 23, 2012

Feilding racecourse tea kiosk

This has to be one of the most beautiful tea kiosks in New Zealand at any point during the 20th century. Feilding racecourse itself was South Street land leased by the Feilding Jockey Club in 1889-1890, then bought outright in 1895. These tea rooms were apparently, according to the heritage assessment for the site, now Manfeild Park (2011), demolished in the 1930s-1940s, the lovely ornamental lake filled in. The racecourse was sold to the Manawatu District Council in 1999, and the club's racing operations transferred to Awapuni.

But oh, how grand the kiosk must have been.

Tenders were called in August 1906 for construction of the kiosk, to the design of architect Alexander James.  Work was complete by March 1907, but by 1908 both the club's meetings and the local A&P show's patrons using the racecourse and the kiosk put pressure on the kiosk's capacity. It was too popular for its size.

By 1909, the kiosk had doubled in size.

(Description of A & P show)
On past the pond, and the visitor looks up with surprise Like the work of a magic wand, the tea kiosk has seemingly grown in a night. At any rate, it had not been noticed before that the quaint Japanese building which has risen from the lake has doubled itself in size since last the visitor was down that way. 

Feilding Star 2 February 1909

(Description of A & P show)
The ladies' tea kiosk is a special source of at traction. It is surrounded by water, crossed by two handsome bridges, with a fountain playing in the centre, with swans and other birds on the water, also a tame deer in an enclosure. Tastefully set-out tables, accommodating three or four persons each, are placed in and around the kiosk, which is one of the most picturesque features in the landscape.2
Feilding Star 2 February 1910

The postcard itself is poststamped 1912 -- so this was from the kiosk's pre-WWI heyday. A great shame it is no longer with us.


  1. As you say, a shame it did not survive. Not many in Australia did either. There is a fantastic one in Perth though.

  2. Oh, Andrew, that is majestic! What a wonderful piece of architecture! Good on Perth for retaining it.

  3. What a gorgeous piece of architecture, a damn shame it wasn't kept!

  4. Interesting the original fountain is in my garden in Feilding . Still functions perfectly after 110 years.