Frank Kitts Park was formerly a site used for a row of watersheds but was first converted into a park in 1976 and greatly extended in the late 1980s. Situated on the Waterfront, it contains a children’s playground, and the orange foremast recovered from the turbo-electric vessel, Wahine, which sank in Wellington’s worst ever maritime disaster, caused by Cyclone Giselle, on 10 April 1968, in which 53 people died. It also contains a water sculpture, The Albatross, by Tanya Ashken (b.1939), a London-born silversmith and jeweller, who emigrated to New Zealand in the 1960s.The Park is named after Sir Frank Kitts (1912-79), a Labour politician and Wellington’s longest-serving Mayor from 1956 to 1974. He was the son of an Australian quarryman who arrived in Wellington at some point and worked for the Government Stores Board. He was a Member of Parliament from 1954 to 1960. He was a tireless public servant, who gave considerable help to Wellington’s immigrant community.Frank Kitts Park was one of the first areas of the Waterfront to be developed. There is an amphitheatre for concerts, a playground and many small shops and cafes at the edge of the harbour. The promenade is flanked by a high wall on the city side, originally designed to protect spectators during the annual street car race. Plans are in development for a Chinese Garden at the eastern quarter to link with Wellington’s sister city, Xiamen.
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