Newspaper Article 1966 – Holt memorial display opened today

Holt memorial display house opened today

The John Holt Memorial display house, donated to Hastings by one of Mr Holt’s daughters, Mrs R. V. Burr, Pukehou, was officially opened in Cornwall Park by the Mayor of Hastings, Mr R. V. Giorgi, this morning.

The heated glasshouse, which at present features a display of begonias and gloxinias, is on the Roberts St side of the park.

Members of the Holt family, city councillors and staff, and a few members of the public were present at the short ceremony and afterward inspected the new feature of the park.

Mrs Burr donated £3500 for the display house which is 66ft 8in long, 30ft wide and 14ft high.

It has at present 1300 Pot plants and it is hoped to keep plants flowering in the house throughout the winter. This will require 5000 to 6000 pot plants which involves about half this number being grown in the nursery all the time.

The house is on a raised terrace and has landscape windows along both sides so that the display can be viewed from the outside as well as inside.

It has infra-red heating as in the Lady Norwood House in Wellington.

There is a small pool at each end, one having a small fountain.

Mr John Holt was born in Napier on February 8, 1862, and died in Hastings on May 27, 1944.

He was a partner with his father, Mr Robert Holt, in the business of Robert Holt and Sons Ltd. He started the Hastings branch in 1897 and managed it until he died in 1944.

In 1900 he bought a block of virgin bush land at Puketitiri. The firm milled the block but Mr John Holt, instead of leaving the land rough as was the custom then, turned it into a farming block. His son Gordon, the present manager, took over and the farm is now one of the show places of the Puketitiri district.

His four children, present at the ceremony today, are Mrs Burr, Mr Gordon Holt, Puketitiri, Mr Leslie Holt, Hastings and Mrs Nora [Laura] Mitchell, Hastings.

Mr Giorgi said the house had been donated by Mrs Burr as a mark of her love for and as a remembrance of her father.

Mr Holt was a genial man who enjoyed life to the full. He was a foundation member of the Hastings Bowling Club and a member Of the Hastings Rotary Club and the Hastings Orphans’ Club. In his younger days he was an excellent singer and was a member of the Napier Operatic Club. He was also an early member of the Napier Sailing Club and of the Chamber of Commerce.

He devoted a great deal of his time and energy to developing and bringing bush country into the lush and lovely pastures seen at Puketitiri today.

Mr Giorgi thanked Mr J.G.C. MacKenzie, superintendent of parks, and their staff for their work in building the memorial and growing the flowers.

He said the house was designed by Mr. D. Scott, of the city engineering staff, and built by parks staff and sub-contractors, most of the work being done by Mr J. Smith.

Photo captions –

The Mayor of Hastings, Mr R. V. Giorgi, and the donor, Mrs R. V. Burr, Pukehou, enter the John Holt Memorial display house at Cornwall Park, after the official opening this morning. Mrs Burr donated the glasshouse in honour of her father, the late Mr John Holt. Begonias on benches and in hanging baskets, and gloxinias make a vivid display of colour against evergreen pot plants. Through the far door there is a vista of the park.

Mr John Holt

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Date published

15 March 1966

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