Park tea kiosk to celebrate 50 years

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Invercargill Parks assets manager Cassie Scobie holds the watercolour, A Stroll Through Queens Park, by artist Patricia Murdoch, in front of The Cheeky Llama Cafe.

THE Queens Park Tea Kiosk 50th anniversary celebrations will be held on Sunday as the highlight of Parks Week 2018.

Invercargill City Council (ICC) parks assets manager Cassie Scobie has invited everyone to celebrate the event and the week, which begins on Saturday and runs until the next Sunday.

“The annual week aims to promote the many benefits the various parks and open spaces in Invercargill and surrounds have to offer.”

Now known as The Cheeky Llama Cafe, the kiosk had evolved through its five decades and had previously been known as Orchids in the Park Cafe/Orchids Cafe, as well as Queens Park Cuisine.

Ms Scobie said a tea kiosk in Queens Park had been suggested by Councillor M A Niederer at an ICC meeting in 1949. However, it was not until almost 20 years later in 1968 that a tea kiosk and adjoining caretaker/ranger’s residence were built.

“The idea was to employ a married couple, so the husband could be the park ranger/caretaker and the wife run the kiosk.”

However, over the years circumstances changed and this idea proved to be unsuitable, so in 1990 it was decided to separate the two functions, so the ranger’s duties and the kiosk were no longer linked, Ms Scobie said.

The official opening of the tea kiosk was on October 3, 1969, and a bronze plaque was unveiled inside the building commemorating the event.

“The majority of financing for the project came from the Southland Savings Bank as its centennial gift to the city, with the council contributing the balance. The council also funded the residence for the proposed joint caretaker (ranger)/kiosk project.”

As well as name changes, many alterations, renovations and improvements have been made throughout the decades, some of which include wheelchair access to the kiosk and toilets in 1981, an outdoor dining area in the 1990s and an accessible toilet in 2004.

Helping to celebrate the half century on Sunday, Invercargill Town Crier Lynley McKerrow will open the event at 1.30pm and announce the proceedings. Entertainment during the afternoon will include The Magic Guy, Wayne McEwan, at 2pm with a family show and live animals. Talented musicians, Jazzical from the Southland Youth Jazz Band, will also be performing throughout the afternoon. And of course, what is a birthday celebration without a birthday cake and scones, which will also be on offer.

Celebrating 50 years of the Queens Park Tea Kiosk, Sunday, March 11, 1.30pm-3.30pm. Grassed area beside The Cheeky Llama Cafe.

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