Saturday, April 27, 2019

Thames (NZ): Sir Keith Park Memorial unveiled.

A very special day for Thames and New Zealand, a bronze statue of Sir Keith Park unveiled in a very special ceremony in front of the Thames War Memorial Civic Centre.

TV one News covered the event and a short bulletin can be seen online. There was also an article in the New Zealand Herald this morning.

Saturday 27 April 2019.
The morning started with a blessing of the Park statue, Then at 11am a very formal and dignified ceremony took place that started and ended with prayers and Karakia. The MC was Russell Skeet who introduced the dignitaries present - of whom there were many. There were members of the Hare family (relatives of the late Betty Hare who bequeathed the money for the statue) and Park family descendants.

The Day in photos: The photographs tell the story of the event, from opening ceremony to the closing lecture given by Dr Claasen.

Left: The Statue ready for the big day. Right: Russell Skeet opens the ceremony.
Below: Defence Minister Ron Mark addressed those gathered.

The flyover was SPECTACULAR! No sooner had one group flown over, than a second group soared overhead, to honour Sir Keith Park.

Defence Minister Ron Mark and Wendy Hare, handed the honour of cutting the ribbon to two cadets.






ABOVE: Park family member recalled details on her Great Uncle Sir Keith Park.

LEFT: Wendy Hare spoke about her late Aunt Betty's bequest,  RIGHT: MP Scott Simpson.

MORNING TEA: A beautiful morning tea was laid on in the Supper Room, then everyone headed to the main auditorium for a special lecture by Dr Adam Claasen on the life of Sir Keith Park during World War One and Two. A powerful delivery that left no doubt that the boy from Thames made an unequalled impact on the outcome of World War Two during the Battle of Britain.

DR CLAASEN's lecture on Sir Keith Park. Below are some of the slides used in the presentation.

Keith Park World War One pilot and instructor.


 The presentation ended, with one member of the public winning a flight with the local aero club.

LEFT: Commander Guy Haywood, British Defence Force Attache, and MC Russell Skeet.  RIGHT: TCDC Board Member Sally Christie and Defence Minister Ron Mark.

Interpretive Board on the I-site wall, south of the new Sir Keith Park Memorial statue.

Thames boy - Sir Keith Park