Friday, 25 January 2019

The Floral Ship on the Strand

Floral Ship. Tauranga. B.P. N.Z. 3001.
Undated postcard, publisher unknown. Collection and courtesy of Justine Neal
A floral ship constructed in 1938 has graced The Strand ever since, it has no doubt featured in many holiday photos and many of those who live in Tauranga have fond memories of this iconic creation. The shape of the ship has changed over the years, in fact in some photos, it appears to have lost its trim lines altogether.

Floral Ship. Strand, Tauranga, N.Z.
Postcard sent March 1956, publisher unknown. Collection and courtesy of Justine Neal
 Bay of Plenty Times, 13 Feb 1941
The Floral Ship at Tauranga
by Kathleen E.S. Gunn. Wellington, N.Z.

A floral ship sits proudly on the Strand,
Dressed in a dainty cloak of cactus green,
She looks so stately with an air so grand,
And reigns o'er all our hearts like any queen.

Her passengers are little dancing elves so gay,
Her cargoes are made up of golden dreams,
And as she dails away, far-off to dreamland bay
She's bathed in shafts of sunlight's golden gleams.

No guns are there to mar the beauty of her decks
She seems to be symbolical of "Peace,"
And someday soon she'll harbour all the wrecks
When Love will triumph over hate and wars will cease.

For this is how this floral ship appealed to me -
A ship of Peace, arrayed in mother Nature's garb,
So perfect and so beautiful she sails along Life's sea:
No rocks of strife will pierce her with their barb,

O lovely floral ship I'll often dream of thee!
My ship of Peace, set in a garden gay with flowers
In fair Tauranga by the shimmering, deep blue sea
In memr'ys lane I'll wander by thy fairy bowers.

The Floral Ship. Strand Gardens. Tauranga.
Undated postcard, publisher unknown. Collection and courtesy of Justine Neal

The floral ship was built by Charles Cameron, the borough gardener for Tauranga, and Thomas Ross who worked for him. Wire netting, at a cost of 15s, was formed into the shape of a ship and covered a base of packed earth. It was planted mainly with succulents. By 1940 the Bay of Plenty Times reports the ship as having grown somewhat wider in the beam since it was launched a few years ago and Mr. Cameron and his staff were stripping the outer covering of plants and replacing them with smaller ones. Over the years the plants used to cover the floral ship have been Echeveria, lime-green Pyrethrum (never allowed to flower) and blue Lobelia.

Floral Ship, The Strand, Tauranga, New Zealand.
Undated postcard published by P.P.L. Hastings. P.705. Collection and courtesy of Justine Neal
In 1947 the Bay of Plenty Times reported that the floral ship was refitted and ready for sea again. Now very colourful the ship was built up of Echeverias, the smoke effect being achieved with pyrethrum and circled with a border of lavender.

The Floral Ship on the Strand, Tauranga, New Zealand, circa 1960.
Postcard published by Dow Productions No. 37. Photography Lyric Studios, Auckland
Collection and courtesy of Justine Neal
During January 1960 the floral ship underwent a complete rebuild and in 2005 a full restoration took place.

Papers Past.
Tauranga Library Kete.

1 comment:

  1. Yes I remember this ship for my whole of life's memories of the Strand !!