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Tree Information x

Identifier: MWR/G1904
Tree Type: Group
Registered By: Lloyd, M.
Registration Category: Historic tree/s – Local interest
General Notes:
Four thousand members of the New Zealand Medical Corps who participated in World War 1 were trained at Awapuni Racecourse between 1915 and 1919 [1]. The Awapuni NZMC War Memorial, dedicated to this Corps, was unveiled on 3 December 1929 [2]. An early photograph, dated circa 1930, shows the memorial with a Phoenix palm being clearly visible in the right foreground (next to the white dot imperfection) [3]. This palm is still there along with 9 others panted within 100 metres of the memorial structure. There is no record of the reason for choosing to plant the palms – there are also oaks interspersed amongst them - however, Phoenix palms have a strong association with war memorials, being commonly planted in New Zealand memorials for both World Wars. More clusters of Phoenix palms were planted in the grounds of the Awapuni Racecourse in 1938 [4], but aerial photos confirm that the cluster around the war memorial predated these plantings. They are some of the earliest plantings of the palm in Palmerston North, a city which has notable clusters of the palms (eg; Palm Drive, The Esplanade [5]). The memorial fell into partial disrepair after several decades, but as part of centennial commemorations for World War 1, the memorial was refurbished from 2014 on, being rededicated in 2016 (see image below). The palms are in very good condition, but are probably seldom viewed due to their slightly out of the way location (Lloyd, M., 2023).

Acknowledgment: Thanks to Mike Roche for some background information.

1. ‘Awapuni Memorial Historic Association’, Manawatu Standard, November 30, 1929, p. 6.
2. Awapuni NZMC war memorial’, New Zealand History online, at:
3. Image credit: Palmerston North City Library, Awapuni Racecourse Memorial – K H Shea circa 1930.
4. ‘Awapuni Course Important Improvements’, Manawatu Standard, November 26, 1938, p. 17.
5. Cadwallader, B, 2023, New Zealand Tree Register entry MWR/G1902

Group Details

Group Type: Single species
Feature Tree Genus: Phoenix
Feature Tree Species: canariensis
Feature Tree Common Names: Canary Island date palm, phoenix palm
QE II Covenanted: No
NZ Indigenous Bush type: Default Value
Actual Planting Date: actual date not specified
Approx. Planting Date: circa 1930
e.g. circa. 1860
Current Age: 94 years
Tree Health Description: very good
Local Protection Status: No
Tree Present: Yes
Number of Trees: 10
Area Covered: 100 metres
Group of Tree Type: Amenity Planting


Date Observer Action
05 Jul 2023 Lloyd, M.


Lat/Long: -40.380917016132535 / 175.57450222969058
Location Name: Awapuni Racecourse
Address: Grand Oaks Drive, Awapuni, Palmerston North
Suburb: Awapuni
City/Town: Palmerston North
Region: Manawatu
Location Description: In the south-west corner of Awapuni Racecourse
Public Accessibility: Local Council Park
Local Authority: Palmerston North City Council


Preview Credit Date
Michael Lloyd 05 Jul 2023
Michael Lloyd 05 Jul 2023
Michael Lloyd 05 Jul 2023
Lesley Courtney 20 Oct 2016
K. H. Shea PNCL, Awapuni Racecourse Memorial – circa 1930 01 Jan 1930
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