At Perpetual Guardian, we have the privilege of working with some of New Zealand’s most gorgeous and sometimes not-so mainstream treasures.
Situated on the Coromandel Peninsula at the mouth of the Purangi River, the 38 ha park overlooks Cooks Beach and Mercury Bay. The property is a wonderful farm park for locals and tourists alike.
Full of stunning views, streams, beaches and ancient Pohutukawa trees, the site is of historical significance as Captain Cook and his crew spent several days there collecting water, gathering plant species and interacting with the local iwi.
Stella and Eric Evered established the park when they retired to Whitianga in the early 1950s after farming near Kawhia for some years. They met Artie Lee while picnicking on the beach at Purangi. He agreed to sell them the property and settled it with a handshake. In 1956 they built a house on the property and settled there permanently.
Stella, an accomplished gardener, established extensive gardens while the rest of the property remained a working Angus cattle farm, eventually growing to 600 acres.
Susan Grierson is a current caretaker and advisory Trustee who began work on the property when Stella became ill with cancer and was no longer able to maintain her gardens. Rod McLaren, also a caretaker, began working on the farm with Eric in 1978.
When Stella died in 1980, Eric decided to leave all his assets in a Trust to develop a park in Stella’s name. Max Grierson (Susan’s uncle) established the Trust for Eric in 1982. The South British Guardian Trust Company Limited – a predecessor of Perpetual Guardian – was appointed as Trustee.
Today, the park is proudly administered by Perpetual Guardian. Rod and Susan continue as dedicated caretakers working with Perpetual Guardian to create a lasting legacy. The park is open to the public year round. Over the years, hundreds of trees have been planted. As part of the World War I centenary, a Battle of the Somme memorial forest with 2,500 trees was established in partnership with the Thames Coromandel District Council.
The Stella Evered Park is a truly beautiful spot. As the Coromandel Peninsula is often inundated with visitors, the park and its beach offer a respite from the crowds. On occasions you can even have the stunning beach all to yourself! Eric Evered is to be commended for establishing this charitable Trust, which will ensure the park land is available for all New Zealanders and visitors to enjoy for generations to come.
*The park can be accessed at the end of Lees Rd East of Cooks Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula. Thank you to Susan Grierson for assisting with this content of this article.