Topic: Floral Steamer, The Strand, Tauranga (1938)

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A Floral Steamer constructed in 1938 has graced The Strand in Tauranga ever since and many of those who live in Tauranga have fond memories of this iconic creation.

Looking strange? see an archived version here

Born on 27 November 1879, Charles Cameron was a well known botanist. Appointed Borough Gardener in 1936, he was responsible for planning and setting out the public gardens in Tauranga, including those along the Strand.

The Floral Steamer was constructed in 1938 by Charles and Thomas Ross who worked for him. Ross descendants believe that the Floral Steamer was originally the idea of Thomas who had spent years on the Kaipara Harbour as a sea captain.

Wire netting formed into the shape of a ship covered a base of packed earth. It was planted mainly with succulents.

The Floral Steamer and Herries Arch form part of the Edward VII Esplanade adjacent to The Strand in Tauranga.

Over the years the plants used to cover the Floral Steamer have been echeveria, lime-green pyrethrum (never allowed to flower) and blue lobelia.

In 1959 Charles was awarded the Loder Cup for his lifetime study of New Zealand ferns. 

On 20 January 1960 the Floral Steamer underwent a complete rebuild.

Charles died on 10 October 1972 (reg. 1972/47657) and was buried in Tauranga Presbyterian Cemetery with his wife Olive Blance Cameron who died on 8 December 1974.

In 2005 the Floral Steamer underwent a full restoration.

The Strand, Tauranga, in colour (c1950)

The Strand in c1950 with the Floral Steamer in the foreground. Tauranga City Libraries Image Number: 03-441.


Floral steamer 1950s 01-362

The Floral Steamer in 1952. Tauranga City Libraries Image Number: 01-362.


Floral Steamer, The Strand, Tauranga (c1955) Floral ship

The Floral Steamer in c1955. Tauranga City Libraries Image Number: 03-402.

Floral Steamer, The Strand, Tauranga (2017)

The Floral Steamer in 2017. Photograph: Pam Meharry.



Bellamy, Alan Charles (1982). Tauranga 1882-1982 (p. 277).

Births, Deaths and Marriages Online (New Zealand).

McLean, Heather (1996). Tauranga Presbyterian Cemetery Headstones.

Smith, Stephanie (November 2010). The Floral Steamer on The Strand, Tauranga. In Historical Review: Bay of Plenty Journal of History (Volume 58, Number 2).

Tauranga City Council: Central Tauranga Heritage Study.

Tauranga City Libraries Vertical File: Parks and Reserves (envelope 1).

This page was archvied at perma cc April 2017

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Floral Steamer, The Strand, Tauranga (1938)