Kowhai Park has been one of Feilding's key recreational areas for close to 100 years. The land came into council ownership in 1906 when the Feilding Borough Council purchased nine-and-a-half acres from the Feilding A & P Association.
In 1908 the Feilding Cricket Club set about laying a cricket field and in 1913 the reserve was officially renamed Kowhai Park.
Just inside the main gate, on the right-hand side of the drive, is a large oak planted as a memorial to mark the end of WWI. A plaque at the base of the tree records the event.
In 1964 the Feilding Jaycees donated a bird aviary which was officially opened in August of that year.
Over the years additional land was purchased and added to the original 3.85ha (9 1/2 acres) site. Today the park is 10.2ha in size.
Considered an important botanical garden, it contains the following:
Popular with all ages, the Kowhai Park Aviary has bred a number of bird species and cared for birds donated by private individuals and organisations such as the Department of Conservation.
In September 1991, the Kowhai Park Camellia Walk was opened by the Governor General, Her Excellency Dame Catherine Tizard. An evergreen shrub, the Camellia boasts more than 2500 named varieties. Each specimen in the walk has been donated.
As well as the Aviary and the Camellia walk there are also a number of significant native trees. Some of these are:
This is a forest tree reaching up to 30 metres high with a tall straight trunk. The wood is very slow growing making it hard, strong and long-lasting. Matai trees can live for more than 1000 years.
The Totara grows to around 30 metres high. Like the Matai, the Totara can live to over 1000 years old and because it is also slow growing, the red coloured wood is very hard.
Able to reach a height of 50 metres the Kahikatea is New Zealands tallest tree. Some have been recorded as over 60 metres tall.
The main events held at Kowhai Park are a summertime “Picnic in the Park” and a winter “Fantasy in Lights” display. Both events are run within Kowhai Park by local Rotary Clubs and Feilding Promotions. The park's event focus has seen a large infrastructure investment in electrical services for lighting (flood-lighting and cabling) and sound equipment. The funding of this infrastructure was made possible by external sources such as Central Energy and as a joint venture with the Manawatu District Council.
Kowhai Park adjoins Manfeild Park to the east and south. Manfeild Park is a large multi-purpose events complex that is used for agricultural field days, motor racing and other large events.
Kowhai Park is situated on South Street on Feilding’s southern urban boundary