Wellington Botanical Gardens Memorial Register
Peace Flame Lantern and Japanese Gardens
Peace Flame Lantern in Duckpond site
photographed by Drawing by Sir Michael Fowler on 00/00/1975
Lantern as relocated to Peace Garden
photographed by P C Tomlinson on 23/03/2004
Site of originial Japanese Garden
photographed by P C Tomlinson on 25/03/2014
Remains of original Japanese Garden pond
photographed by P C Tomlinson on 25/03/2014
Wetland Japanese Garden site where lantern originally installed
photographed by P C Tomlinson on 25/03/2014
Lantern plaque
photographed by P C Tomlinson on 02/04/2009

Presented to

the citizens of Wellington


the Japan Society of New Zealand



Top illustration of lantern in its original locaton in the Wetland Garden by the Duck Pond


Second photo as relocated in the Peace Garden


Peace Garden by Lady Norwood Rose Garden


There is a interesting  history of the Japanese Garden in the Wellington Botanic Garden.


The first modest 'Japanese' garden was constructed on Myrtle Way, opposite the present hydrangea collection around the mid 1950's. The centre piece was a cherry tree, with some other typical Japanese plants, including some azaleas in a small garden surrounded by a circular path. At the back was a pond.


The Japan Society of Wellington New Zealand originally gifted a lantern to Wellington in 1975, where it was intended to establish a Japanese Garden on a knoll in the Wetland Garden by the Duck Pond (where a seat now stands).


The Japan Society of Wellington NZ (Inc) – originally named The Japan Society of NZ (Inc) donated the lantern, and provided some other funds and a Japanese landscape gardener was brought out and donations that were made for its establishment. It appears no consensus was reached regarding design aspects, and the project was not completed.


The lantern was relocated from this area near the duckpond and adapted to house the Peace Flame in 1994.  Vandilism incidents in the wetland site and the ability to provide a  more secure site made the move attractive. (The spike on the top of the lantern was broken in one incident, and was ground to give a lower, tidy peak)  The lantern and the Peace Flame were separately gifted to the citizens of Wellington and both deserve to have their history remembered. The coming together of the two of them in their present situation seems ‘just right’. The lantern was designed and made in Japan


In 1991 a peace garden link to the Bolton Street Memorial Park was  proposed that would have reduced the size of the Anderson Park playing area.   in 1995 it was decided that a full size cricket/soccer field would remain and an improved pedestrian and visual link was instead developed alongside the roadway between Glenmore and Kinross Streets in 2005.


The illustration is from the front of a card that the Japan Society had printed many years ago. The artist was Michael Fowler who was the Mayor of Wellington at the time of the gifting of the lantern. He accepted the lantern on behalf of the citizens of Wellington at the handing over ceremony in the Gardens on 6 March 1976 and subsequently gave the Society the drawing used on these cards.


Japanese Stone Lantern presented to Wellington City by the Japan Society of New Zealand

Information taken from the Society records.


1968 June 24 From the committee minutes of the Japan Society of New Zealand. The secretary advised the meeting of a suggestion made by Mr. J Malcolm, a member, that a stone lantern be purchased from Japan to present to the Wellington City Council as a nucleus of a Japanese Garden in the Botanic Gardens.

1968 Oct - Nov. A letter from the Japan Society to Ian Galloway the W.C.C. Director of Parks and Reserves outlining the proposal and acceptances from him and the Town Clerk,

1971-72 From the President's Annual Report to the Japan Society of New Zealand. Japanese Stone Lantern - Further progress was made with this project. The W.C.C. has now approved the scheme in principle and the Parks and Reserves Dept. are considering the plans which the Embassy have had prepared and sent to the W.C.C. and our Society.

1972 Mar. 10 Letter to the Japanese Businessmen's Society re. a donation towards the lantern,

1972 April 20 Reply from the Japanese Businessmen's Society offering a donation of $100.00

1972 Aug. 18 Catalogue and price list received from the Tokyo Stone Co.

1972 Sept. 17 From the minutes of the Japan Society - The Secretary was instructed to make arrangements for the purchase of a granite lantern 2 Yi high at a total F.O.B cost of 129,500 yen.

1972 Oct. 10 License from N.Z. Customs to Japan Society of New Zealand to import the lantern,

1972 Nov. 13 Receipt from the Tokyo Stone Co.

1972 Nov 14 Invoice and Packing list from the Tokyo Stone co.

1972 Nov. 22 Japan Line - Bill of Lading 1 set of Stone Lantern (2 cases) 666lbs.

1972 Society Accounts show the Purchase of Japanese Lantern $364.35.

1973 Jan. 4 Insured with the South British Insurance Co. Ltd. For $370.00

1973 Jan. 16 $180.00 duty that was paid on the lantern is refunded.

1973 Jan. The Japan Society newsletter has this item. Stone Lantern - This lantern has now arrived in Wellington for presentation to the City Council as part of the proposed Japanese Garden in the Botanic

Gardens. In the meantime it will be housed in the Begonia House near the Lady Norwood Rose Gardens.

Our Council wishes to thank all those who subscribed to it and also Mr. Les Booth for arranging transport of the lantern from Tokyo. It is a great relief to know it has at last arrived as the cost due to inflation, kept rising and the eventual cost was more than double the price when we began the project.

1975 Sep. 5 Letter from the Society outlining the wording of the plaque for the lantern,

1975 Oct.16 Letter from Town Clerk accepting the proposed wording for the plaque,

1975 Oct. 18 Press release re Japanese Garden and Stone Lantern,

1976 Mar. 3 Confirmation from W.C.C. Director of Parks of his attendance at the handing-over ceremony for the lantern,

1976 The handing -over ceremony for the lantern was held on the morning of 6th March 1976 followed by morning tea at the nearby Sharella Motel.

1992 April 22 Letter to the Curator of Wellington and Otari Botanic Gardens regarding the state of the Japanese Garden and repairs to be made to the lantern,

1992 Aug. From the monthly journal of the Japan Society – TheJapanese lantern has been repaired and returned to its former position in the Wellington Botanic Gardens. Why not call by for a look.

1992 Aug. From the Japan Society minutes - Lantern:- Mrs. Sinclair advised that a site had been proposed for the relocation of the repaired lantern. She is to continue to liase with the Council representatives on this matter.

1993 Sep. 2 Letter from the Curator of Wellington and Otari Botanic Gardens proposing that the lantern be adapted to house the Peace Flame,

1993 Sep. 14 From the Japan Society minutes - Lantern in the Botanic Gardens:- Mrs. Sinclair liases with Mr Oates of the Wellington City Council on this matter. Events are in train to resite the lantern nearer the tourist route, possibly in the lake at the foot of the waterfall and combine it with the Peace Flame which presently resides at the Karori Cemetery.
Moved Mr Feehan. Seconded Mr Morall - That if the plans for the propose resiting and combination are acceptable to the President (who was absent from this meeting), Mrs Sinclair to inform Mr Oates and continue to liase with him on the W.C.C. Plans

1993 Dec. From the Japan Society minutes - Lantern in the Botanic Gardens:-
It was agreed that the sketch submitted by Mr Kundycki showing the re-siting of the lantern, in the pool at the foot of the waterfall, was acceptable and that Mrs. Sinclair contact Mr. Kundycki informing him to proceed.

1994 June 25 The lantern is relocated into its new position in the waterfall pond after being adapted to hold the Peace Flame and the dedication is held.




Details provided by Peter Tiysen and Nola Sinclair, Past President and Life Member of the Japan Society of Wellington New Zealand, who originally gifted the lantern to Wellington in 1975

category: informative plaque