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CORNWALL PARR

GOLF CLUB TO GO

DECISION BY TRUSTEES

A final plea on behalf of the Maungakiekie Golf Club for continued tenure of the links established on part of Cornwall Park, One Tree Hill, was made to the Cornwall Park Trustees yesterday afternoon, when the Mayor of Auc v land vMr. J. A. C. Allum), the Mayor of One Treo Hill borough (Mr. I. J. Goldstine), the Mayor of Onehunga borough (Mr. J. Park), and chairman or the One Tree Hill Domain Board (Mr. M. H. Wynyard) supported Messrs. J. W. Elliffe and W. E. Lewisham in presenting a petition signed by 9132 persons asking that the golf club s tenancy be continued.

i-iJ?]l rocillcec ' the city Mayor, Mr. Liliffe presented his plea to Sir James t.unson (chairman of the Trustees) and Messrs. Albert E. Bollard, James Hall and 1 red A. Hellaby. He stressed the sentiments expressed by the donor of the park, Dr. J. Logan Campbell, in 3901, when opening a golf links near the sits of the present links, and exp. essed a nope that golf would be played over Cornwall Park links for generations to come. This, ? al ™ Mr. Elliffe, indicated that golf was included in the recreational purposes for which Dr. Campbell had given the lands of the park. Shortage of Playing Areas He proceeded to enlarge on the increasing shortage of playing fields in war conditions, Ihe fact that the club made no exclusion of the public use of the park, and. further, provided facilities for the public and servicemen to play the game, as well as furthering by rental and other payments means for the maintenance of the park's natural beauties. Mr. Lewisham drew attention to the fact that wide recreational facilities under the most glorious and health-giving conditions were provided bv the club, fulfilling in every respect the donor's intentions. •After Messrs. (Joldstine, Park and Wynyard had stated that the residents of their areas adjacent to One Tree Hill strongly favoured the petition. Mr. Allum spoke of the increasing problem in the city caused by the shrinking number of playing areas. After conferring with his colleagues, .Sir James Gunson said that the Trustees realised that the petitioners would wish for a reply without delay, and as Mr. Ellitt'e sent on the 2nd instant copies of the Petition, the Trustees took the opportunity of considering carefully the submissions it contained. Their reply was as follows:— The instructions for the development of Cornwall Park which have come down to the present Trustees from the donor, provide for an avenue, described on the plans as the "Grand Avenue," extending in a broad sweep through the Park lands from One Tree Hill Borough at Market Road, around the northern and eastern slopes of One Tree Hill itself, through the land at present used for golf to Queen Street, Onehunga. Few who have seen the first development of this avenue in the Pur'ri Drive, from the Statue to Green I.ane, will disagree that it will, when completed, be a distinctive and valuable addition to the -unenities of the cily and suburbs.

Planting the Avenne The avenue has been completed from the statue of Sir John Logan Campbell ut Market Road, across Green Lane as far as the car park below the kiosk. In 1934 it was planted from this point up to the boundary of the golf land; the alignment there divides the present golf area and emerges in Campbell Road, opposite Queen Street. Onehunga. A considerable part of the land to the east of this alignment is held by the Trustees witli powers for the endowment of the Trust; the area to the west is held for the general purposes of the Trust. Thus, it comes about that from the time of the creation of the Trust in 1901 revenues not devoted to the development of the endowment land have been employed principally by the Trustees in the construction and planting of the avenue and the contiguous lands east and north of One Tree Hill, with the object of the ultimate completion of the drive in accordance with the donor's wishes. The golf club remained in occupation only because the Trustees have been able on other areas of the park to meet public requirements and were Mot ready to develop the avenue through the land in occupation of the golf club.

In 1941 the Trustees concluded that the time was approaching when consideration could be given to the planting for the avenue over the golf area. Accordingly, by letter elated the 22nd April, 1941. the club was informed that, its occupation of the land must terminate not later than September, 1940. Such lengthy notice was given entirely out of consideration for the club in order to give it ample opportunity to provide elsewhere for its members. It was expressly stated in the letter that such notice was not intended to create any additional right or tenancy to the club other than that which it then had, namely, that of a mere occupier, and tha't. circumstances might compel an earlier termination. Unexpected Events That is how matters stood at the end of March of this year. During recent months unexpected events have taken place at Cornwall Park. On the 9th April, 1912, a Govern met. Gazette Notice was published making practically all Cornwall Park lands, except the area now occupied by the club, a prohibited area. The military were already in occupation of twothirds of the developed land and the public excluded. In June last the Trustees were informed, in conference with responsible Ministers of the Crown, that comprehensive proposals were afoot which would involve further areas of the Trust lands. The Trustees therefore felt compelled to terminate the club's occupancy, and thereupon gave the club one month's notice. At the end of the month, however, no further action had been taken against the lands. The president of the club asked if it might continue with its play in the meanwhile, and to this request the Trustees assented readily. In July the club asked the Trustees to receive a deputation, and having this meeting in view, the Trustees asked the Government Authorities, following the Trustees' conference in Auckland with Honourable Ministers of the Crown to say, if possible, when and to what extent the Trust lands were required, and received a reply stating that additional areas were in fact required and w-ould be taken. This has since been confirmed, but the Trustees are not permitted to mention anything further herein. The difficult question confronting the Trustees at this stage was whether the Trustees might permit the Golf Club to remain in exclusive possession of the golf area under these changed circumstances in which the Trustees had for an indefinite perkui lost control of much of the park, and "the public had been denied the use of lliost of Cornwall Park. In the consideration of this difficult question the Trustees had for guidance counsel's opinion given when kindred matters were under discussion. Mr. Thomas Cotter, K.C., in 1912 advised:— "As I have said, these powers seem to me to be ample to enable the Trustees to practically carry out whatever they desire with regard to the property, subject always to their keeping within the main object and purpose of the trust, which is to administer the same so that the public as a whole and not any particular or selected portion thereof shall have the benefit and advantage of the property." At the time Mr. Cotter's opinion was obtained, the then Trustees probably felt that the circumstances did not compel them to carry into effect immediately the advice given to them by counsel. The circumstances now, however, are radically different and the Trustees consider that they are bound to perform their duty in the manner in which counsel has indicated.

Public Interest Paramount Quite apart, however, from the legal responsibility as set out in the above opinion, the Trustees consider that they would not be acting prudently or fairly to the public as a whole in permitting the golf club in circumstances entirely beyond the control of the Trustees to remain in possession of the only portion of Cornwall Park available to the public. It was for this reason that the Trustees decided that, it was their duty to open the golf club lands. The deputation which met the Trustees on August 10 last was so informed, and at the request of and by agreement with the deputation, which consisted of the accredited representatives of the club, the Trustees resolved that the Golf club should be given up 10 October 31 next to vacate the area. The Trustees are aware that their decision must cause keen disappointment to the members of the club, but the public interest is paramount, and the Trustees must now open the land for all who choose to use it. By letter dated the 23rd September, 1942, from the secretary, the club repudiated the action of their representatives in agreeing to vacate the land on the 31st October next. We now refer to lvPPHrs specifically raised in the petition. You, as Petitioners, go very much further than the club itself has ever gone. You not only ask the Trustees to give favourable consideration to the request of the Golf Club to remain in continued occupation, but you speak of the golf course being retained "in perpetuity." Now, insofar as you seek on behalf of the Maungakiekie Golf Club to secure to that club some perpetual exclusive right or privilege over the lands of Cornwall Fark, the Trustees regret their duty compels them to refuse any such request. Corn-

wall Park is a Pnblic Park held by the rrustees under Deeds, by 'which ~ wide £°^"T S a /e conferred upon them, for the 53? ilf °J Zealand. Nothing can or 11 e , b > r l he' Trustees to create a Privilege in favour of any one person or group of persons to tUe detriment or exclus-ion of the public. Tb« Trustees tZ Xe , ?" at P ains - during the period of ■ s . oct ' u pation, to prevent any doubt arising in the minds of members of the club as to the Mature of their occupation, and to aYfltci aiay ttpssible suggestion that their •cyntSnued occupation conferred some MQction or right over *he land, and those responsible for the conduct of the Golf Club are well aware of this position. In 1934 correspondence passed between the club and the Trustees; in 1936 a deputation from the club waited upon the Trustees, reQuesting a fixity of tenure, when the trustees made it clear that such could not pe granted. Again, in 1939, in response a , c 9 rnnlu nication from the Trustees, the club wrote to the Trustees in the following terms:—

Terms of Occupancy beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 28th ult. My committee appreciates that it is necessary to close the i lwai Street vehicular entrance, and wishes me to express its gratitude to the trustees for having provided it with the gateway and entrance from Campbell Koad. With reference to the second portion of your letter, the committee desires me to acknowledge that they agree that the position of the club's occupancy of r?, e . Pr°P er ty is as set out in your letter, 1 > The Trustees have no authority to give or to grant a tenancy or right of exclusive use to anyone or to any group or people of any part of the park lands, further, the Trustees would view with disfavour any suggestion that the terms of the Cornwall Park Trust as drawn by the donor of the park, the late Sir John Logan Campbell, should be modified, altered or varied in any manner. (2) The occupancy of the area by the golf club under a rental arrangement with the i rustees was granted in the first place, and has since been continued for some y®ars by the Trustees for what it is worth, and always with the reservation of the rights and obligations to the 1 rustees and to the public, and such arrangement may be ended at the instance of the Trustees if and when the trustees require that part of the park for ue\eiopment purposes or for any more general public use than at present required. The position as set forth above nau always been understood and appreciated by the committee and the officebearers of the club, and it is purely an oversight on our part that no written acknowledgment by us has been delivered to the Trustees. The committee wishes to express their extreme regret that the 1 rustees should be disturbed by the personal expressions of one or two members p n .d to assure them that these are certainly not the views of the committee nor the club as a whole. In order to minimise the risk of irresponsible statements in the future the committee will have the matter of the club's occupancy of the trust property fiflly explained to all club members at the next annual meeting- of tne club. The committee earnestly desires ,®P n^nue the harmonious relations which have always pertained between the I rustees and themselves. The members wished me to take the opportunity for expressing their appreciation of the new wall which has been erected on the Campbell Road frontage.—Yours faithfully, (signed) D. R. Garrard, secretary."

The purpose of this correspondence was to prevent the very thing which is happening to-day. You, as petitioners for the club, advance as an argument for consideration the fact that golf has been pla>eii over this and the adjoining areas tor 41 years, and that large sums of money have been spent. ]n the first place, the Trustees cannot consider these arguments relevant, in view of the clarity with which the Trustees have stated from time to time the insecurity of the club's situation; and, in the second place, the statement as to the period of the club's occupation requires clarification. Sir John Campbell's Statement The Maungakiekie Club first became a tenant of the Trustees in 1912. in respect of an area of 3(ij acres, being purl of the present golf area. In 1025 the club, with the consent of the Trustees, occupied an additional area of 49J acres: these two areas — less about 1 acres —1 form the links to-day. It will be seen, therelore, that the club has been in occupation of a portion of the area for 30 years and of the w hole area for 17 years. We now refer to the words reported in the 1 less to have been used by Kir John Logan Campbell. It is important that those concerned in this matter should inform themselves of the circumstances under which those words were spoken. Sir John was then speaking at the opening ol the Auckland Golf Club, not the •Maungakiekie Club, and he was speaking on the One Tree Hill Domain, not Cornwall l ark, the area now in question. The tiOII l,inks at that time were substantially on the One lice Hill Domain, and not on Cornwall Park. The Auckland Club were enants only of the area of 30 acres of the park. in IPOS Sir John transferred to the Trustees for endowment purposes part of the 30 acres then occupied bv l?- Auckland Club, and the avenue to which we have referred is shown in the plans signed by the donor traversing the area at present occupied by the Maungacnifl ri i? ■ Club. When the Auckland Golf flub in 1909 were required to move elsewhere, because their occupation of the Domain was incompatible with the public interest, Sir John took no action, nor did he express auy intention or desire to have golf re-established on Corn--1 he Auckland Golf Club was much in the same difficulties then as the Maungakiekie Club is to-day. Sir John was present at a meeting of the One Tree Board, at which the Auckancl Golf Club appears to have made its last unsuccessful representations. We set out a copy of a letter dated the 14th October. 1909, from Mr. Wallace Bruce at - that time of Ule Auckland PamnSii' . wr,u £" to Sir John Logan S-ftH 5 A in wh L ch <*lub accepted ffrace the inevitabilitv of their wa a n d p°ark e sou?se. the ° nC Tr ° e

John Campbell. Auckland.—Dear ,' r, ~T ou . r kind letter with reference to >our inability to preside at the prizegiving at the New Zealand Golf Championship Meeting was formally received m committee last night, ami I have been directed to reply expressing the club's fa?nf r i 6 fv, - n - for tllc kind remarks conedJhe,"ein ' , anc ' a,so for the generous oner of a trophy to be competed for on the new links at Otaliuhu, which the committee, on behalf of the club, grateJ"". y acknowledge. The conditions under which the trophy shall be played for will be fully considered and submitted r> you for approval. It is with feelings akin to that the golf club have had to these beautiful and historic grounds, but as you will remember, being yourself present at the meeting of the One Tree Hill Domain Board, when a deputation from the Auckland Golf Club waited upon the board, it was plainly and unmistakably intimated to us that on account of the requirements of the public tor more ground for recreation purposes. an ?,. a ° 011 acc 'ount of the danger to the public, we could onb r be allowed permission to stay there tlihtil such time as we were able to enter fcito possession of the property which had then been acquired subject to a lease at Otahuhu. We shall probably soon -get used to the new circumstances, but we will never forget the happy times at One Tree Hill. lam sir. Yours faithfully (signed) W. Wallace Bruce, Hon. Secretary."

Maungakiekie's Tenancy Sir John Logan Campbell thus witnessed the withdrawal of the Auckland Club he opened in 1901, when the words quoted by you were spoken; thereafter he gave the club his patronage In its new home at Middiemore, Otahuhu. You, as Petitioners, in your references to the words spoken on One Tree Hill Domain by the donor of Cornwall Park are placing an unwarranted emphasis upon them and are asking the present Trustees of Cornwall Park to take from those words a meaning and intention which Sir John himself in his lifetime, and in the same circumstances, did not act upon.

In a memorandum prepared by Sir Alfred Bankart, who was an original Trustee, for the information and guidance of the Trustees of Cornwall Park a year after the death of Sir John, no mention is made of golf or of the golf club. Sir Alfred was closely associated with Sir John Logan Campbell for many years, and it may be assumed with confidence that he was familiar with the ideas and wishes of the donor.

After the departure of the Auckland Club, that part of Cornwall Park which had been in occupation by the golfers was leased for grazing purposes. The Maungakiekie Club did not appear as a tenant of the Trust until two years later. In 1901, when Sir John Logan Campbell made the original gift the lands were leased, and had been leased for manv years for grazing. This continued over much of the park for the remainder of Sir John's lifetime. Sir John died in 1912. As the years passed the Trustees progressively ended their tenancies. For the necessary maintenance of those portions of the park still remaining as pasture lands the Trustees grazed both sheep and cattle, and still do so with an incidental but considerable benefit to the funds of the Trust; yet primarily for maintenance purposes therebv imparting a pleasant rural prospect—pleasing to the public. Over these areas the public have always had access, facilities therefor being provided to and over the lands— as more and more of the park becomes developed, coupled with the growth of Auckland and the expanding needs of the people of New Zealand for public recreation areas, this practice may be cxpected to diminish and eventually end. The Trustees have had plans, the carrving out of which has been unavoidably *sus-

pended, for further provision of children's playing areas and for other proposals t6 meet the increasing recreation needs of the people as a whole who are the beneficiaries of the wonderful gift and public spirit of the "Father of Auckland." Duty of the Trustees We would assure you that your submissions have been given the most earnest consideration by the Trustees. Neither the Trustees' appraisal of their duty, nor their assessment of public requirements, even sTi far as such can be provided for in present circumstances, would be met by allowing this Golf Club to remain. The Trustees are convinced that their paramount obligation is to determine themselves their duty under their Trusteeship and to perform that duty prudently in the words of counsel quoted, viz: "For the public as a whole and not for any particular or selected portion thereof," rather than that the Trustees should by any partiality place themselves in the position of having to be directed in their duty. For the reasons which the Trustees have set forth in this Memorandum, they regret that they cannot accede to your request, and accordingly they confirm the notice given to the club under which the tenancy of the club will cease on the 31st instant. In conclusion, it may not be inappropriate to advise for more general public information:—(l) That from the time of the commencement of the trust in 1901 for a number of years the Trustees were •unable to undertake any measures for the development of the park lands, but were obliged to apply all available trust funds to the development of the endowment lands for the purpose of securing revenues to the trust. The chief of such works may be seen in Maungakiekie Avenue. The opening up of that avenue and other roads was followed quickly by the subdivision and leasing of the endowment properties enjoying a frontage to these roads. These endowments were not in the original gift, but were subsequent gifts by Sir John Logan Campbell by which he greatly strengthened the trust. (2) By the year 1926 revenues had accumulated sufficiently to enable a commencement to be made with the development and opening up of the park lands more fully to the public. Old tenants were of necessity dispossessed and a policy of park development undertaken. (3) The planting and construction of the Grand Avenue and the layout and maintenance of contiguous areas has been the first care of the Trustees since 1926. Extensive shelter belts have been established successfully: these have changed windswept lands to a sheltered condition and createil a warm climate well adapted to general development and further public use and enjoyment of the park. As indicated earlier in this statement, a considerable section of the avenue has been completed, and it is intended to proceed with it as circumstances permit. With the completion of the Grand Avenue the vision which Sir John Logan Campbell had in his munificent gift will be realised to a great degree. (4) After November 1 next that portion of the park and endowment lands at present constituting the golf area will be open to the public as a whole for their use and enjovment, but subject to such by-laws and control by the Trustees as may be deemed requisite from time to time.—(P.B.A.)

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AS19421017.2.96

Bibliographic details

CORNWALL PARR, Auckland Star, Volume LXXIII, Issue 246, 17 October 1942

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3,919

CORNWALL PARR Auckland Star, Volume LXXIII, Issue 246, 17 October 1942

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