History

The Park

J. Stanton Harcourt gave the park to the city.

The Stage

The first roofless sound stage appeared in a sketch in the ‘Leader’ on April 3, 1984, and a canvas awning was shown there

This stage was built in 1984 by the Rimutaka Lions, who had set aside $14 000 for the project, and it had already been used, while not finished, by February 1985.

 

The December 3, 1997 Leader pictured the president of the Rimutaka Lions,
Norm Griffin, in the ruins of the stage, burnt in a fire which he believed was deliberately burnt by vandals. He first knew of the fire when he brought a former president to look at the stage on November 25; the fire had occurred early in the month, and might have been caused by a stray firework.

After the March 2000 City of Song concert, the organisers, including Steve Brattle, approached the Rimutaka Licensing Trust, suggesting an improved stage, with a larger floor area, a roof, and more power. The Trust offered to fund a $50 000-to-$80 000 redevelopment; the proposal was announced in the October 25 2000 ‘Leader’. The November 8 ‘Leader’ printed a photo of a model, with Steve Brattle.

Steve Brattle and his proposed stage design.

This third stage had a curved roof and a small backstage room, according to a Council photograph.

The finished design

The ‘Leader’ of December 19, 2001 showed the ‘new $250 000 Seismic Sound Stage’ in use after the previous Sunday’s official opening, which was followed by ‘Carols in the Park’, with a massed children’s choir and an audience estimated at 5000-6000.

Concerts followed in consecutive years organised by the Upper Hutt City Of Song Music Academy Charitable Trust, designed to present emerging talent as well as promote established local talent.

Sadly 2004 was the last concert produced by The COS Music Academy Charitable Trust due to Peter Hall moving to Australia and other Trust members relocating out of the area.

Holiday Park

Meanwhile, The Holiday Park adjacent to the main Harcourt Park area, had opened on December 20, 1988; it was offered for private lease in March 1995.

The September 19, 1989 ‘Leader’ reported the Holiday Park winning the 1989 New Zealand Institute of Park and Recreation Administration’s top award.

The Holiday Park was proposed in May 1987, as a better site than Kaitoke; the first stage proposed 110 two-room cabins, central amenities, and 15 powered caravan sites. Construction began in 1988; a government grant of $75 000 towards the capital costs was presented to the mayor in September, with the tourist flats and serviced sites expected to open for summer; it opened on December 20.

‘Leader’, September 6, 1995; Gordon and Vicki Bennett had just taken up a 20-year lease on the holiday park.

The Searchers

Organised by The Upper Hutt City Council under the directive of Paul Lambert, 2006 and 2009 saw the stage full of excitement again with the appearance of British 1960’s rock band “The Searchers”

The Searchers.

Carols In The Park

Organised by various local Church groups, Christmas Carols In The Park established themselves as an iconic event on the Upper Hutt entertainment calendar.  With the first concert in 2001 this quickly became an awaited event each year in the build up to Christmas.

Starring outstanding talent throughout the years.

City Of Song Charitable Club

After a long break from the City Of Song Concerts in the park, Fiona Armstrong-McIntosh got together with Steve Brattle, Mark and Kay Southon, Frank McLoughlin to discuss the possibility or re establishing this popular event. Wayne Clifford-Marsh joined them at the meeting and the Upper Hutt City Of Song Charitable Club was formed to exact this purpose.

Regular meetings and various communications saw the birth of the first concert under the new banner in 2014.

Charitable status was gained on 25 December, 2014   # CC51184

Upper Hutt Community Rescue were invited to a committee meeting and it was agreed that it be be the Non Profit organisation the club was to support. They completed all of the funding documents required to enable the concert. and security as well as First aid on site.

Dancing in the day
And the Southons in the evening

Upper Hutt Community Rescue were also to be the collectors as well as have a strong presence on site with all of their rescue equipment. Steve Brattle and Mark Southon organised the sound and lighting with Peak Audio.

Weddell Plumbing supplied all required Portaloo’s at no cost and Ricky T Brake supplied the generator again no cost.  The Rimutaka Licensing Trust as a result of the Community Rescue application, funded the Sound and lighting and other sundry costs.

The concert was a success, however the gate takings were well below what was anticipated even though there were many collection runs through the crowd by the UH Community Rescue Team. An amount of around $3,000 was collected.   Historic figures now reveal that the crowd attendance can be estimated at roughly  $1 per head, which has been the formula used to calculate attendance.

Planning continued to hold a concert in 2015

2015

Peter Hall and Lynda Reeve flew over from Australia to bring a Trixx reunion back on stage for the concert. All was in place until the morning of the concert when it was decided for the purpose of safety due to an impending weather bomb, that the concert be cancelled.  The inclement weather was to be a feature of the entire weekend, so the concert was canned.

Peter arranged with the UH Cossie Club to take the Trixx reunion indoors, which happened on the Sunday night to a packed out crowd.  Drastic attempts in the rain were made to post cancelled signs on all the Community notice boards to avoid inconvenience to potential concert attendees.

All Funding not used was returned to the Rimutaka Licensing Trust, the sole funder of the event apart from Council Funding.

2016    

Although the Committee was disappointed by the result, planning went ahead for the 2016 concert. Attempts were made to have Frankie Stevens, Jon, and Diamond Diva’s all get together for a family reunion on stage. Sadly Jon could not make it to NZ,s o the idea was shelved. The 2016 concert featured Tony Mad Trio as the Head Band doing an awesome tribute to the late Stevie Ray Vaughan.

The concert featured a special segment from iO who did a stunning rendition of the David Collinge song “You Just Don’t Care” The Pipe Down Project The segment was devoted to the perils of “P” now becoming epidemic in NZ. It featured the taunting voice of Tarn’s Hood who illustrated how methamphetamine can take over your mind, body and soul often from the very first time it is sampled.

The Ode to “P”

My Name is Crystal,   Crystal Meth.

I tear families apart, the young and the old

More costly than diamonds, more precious than gold.

The sorrow I bring is beyond the bad

If you need me, remember, I’m easily had.

When I possess you, you’ll steal and you’ll lie

You’ll do what you have to, just to get high.

The crimes you’ll commit for my wonderful hype

Will be well worth the pleasure you’ll find in the pipe

You’ll lie to your mother,  you’ll steal from your dad,

When you see their tears, you won’t feel bad.

You’ll forget all your morals and how you were raised,

I’ll be your conscience… I’ll teach you my ways.

If you try me be warned…this is no game

If given the chance, I’ll drive you insane.

I’ll ravish your body; I’ll control your mind,

I’ll own you completely; your soul will be mine

The nightmares I’ll give you while lying in bed,

The voices you’ll hear, from inside your head,

The sweats and the shakes, the visions you’ll see,

I want you to know these are all gifts from me.

But then it’s too late, and you’ll know in your heart,

That you are now mine, and we shall not part.

You’ll regret that you tried me,  they always do,

But you came to me, not I to you!

You knew this would happen, many times you were told,

You challenged my power, and chose to be bold.

You could have said NO and just walked away.

If you could live that day over now, what would you say?

I’ll be your master,  you will be my slave,

I will come with you , all the way to your grave.

Now that you have met me, what will you do?

Your at the crossroads, it’s now all up to you!

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