Topic: Soundshell (Tauranga)
Tauranga's Soundshell was located at Memorial Park for just over thirty years. The structure was seven sided and hosted many outdoor events. As yet we have not located a photograph of the Tauranga Soundshell - if you have any available please contact me in Research Collections at Tauranga City Library - Debbie McCauley.
The Soundshell at Memorial Park in Tauranga was opened in time for the 1954 Christmas Carnival. It was the first building completed on the site and a project of the 20,000 Club, a Tauranga community organisation, who leased the land from the Council.
The then Mayor, Mr William Barnard, had called for an entertainment venue for the community. A committee was formed and spent a year raising funds. Committee members then became members of the 20,000 Club.
According to the Memorial Park Management Plan, "For many years holiday fun was provided at Memorial Park for holiday makers, with fun fairs, a sacred concert there on Christmas Day, Miss Bay of Plenty Beauty Contests, children’s talent shows and variety shows featuring such talent as the Balancing Buccaneer and Denny Mahn’s Dixieland Band."
The first Jazz Festival in Tauranga was held there on 13 January 1963. See A brief history of the Tauranga Jazz Festival for more details.
For many years the Tauranga 20,000 Club raised funds, contributing $60,000 to the Queen Elizabeth Youth Centre and funds towards the Memorial Hall, skating rink and the Wurlitzer organ amongst other council projects. The club also built up the height of the land around the Soundshell and spent $80,000 on covered seating.
The council decided that the Soundshell had outlived its use as an outdoor venue and decided it must make way for the further development of Memorial Park. They sold it via tender to a Te Puna man for demolition and removal.
The final event in the Soundshell, a Gala Festival for the Deaf Association, took place on 17 November 1984.
The demolition of the Soundshell took place in June and July of 1985.
Bay of Plenty Times (3 July 1985).
Bay of Plenty Times (24 October 1985).
Bay Sun (30 October 1984).
Buchanan, Jocelyn (2012). A brief history of the Tauranga Jazz Festival.
Tauranga City Council (December 2006). Memorial Park Management Plan.
Chappell, Sherida (August/September 2015). Teenage Memories of Memorial Park. In New Zealand Memories. Issue 115, p. 56-59.
Correction and Requst for Help (October/November 2015). New Zealand Memories. Issue 116, p. 67.