First name was Stadcona [Stadacona]
Keirunga has not always been known as Keirunga.
The 79-year-old house, from which the extensive cultural centre has grown, began its life at “Stadcona,” the home of Mr and Mrs Reginald Gardiner.
The house was built for 500 pounds in 1906. The property boundaries extended to the centre of the Mangarau stream and Valley Road, following the course of the stream to the quarry which is now, Glenpark Place.
Timber and materials were dragged in by bullock dray, up the grade which is now Joll Road, across the Mangarau and into the Stadcona property somewhere near Plassey Street.
In August 1910, the Gardiners sold the property to Mr Charles Ord Tanner who gave it its present name “Keirunga” – which is thought to mean “an elevated site.”
In 1929 Mr George Nelson purchased Keirunga and began planning the gardens and planting trees, many of which he propagated himself.
When he offered the grounds of Keirunga to the people of Havelock North in 1957, he expressed the wish “that they may afford an acceptable site for a memorial to the early settlers of the district, both Maori and pakeha, a body of men to whom we of today owe a debt of gratitude.”
Mr Nelson died at Keirunga in 1964, after which the property of nearly 20 acres passed wholly into the care of the borough council.
Two years later, the Keirunga Gardens Society was incorporated and a lease taken out with the borough council.