Molesworth Street, Thorndon, Wellington
Nestled among the office buildings just up from Parliament, the Magyar Millennium Park provides a welcome haven for timeout from the hustle and bustle. A testimony to New Zealand’s cultural diversity, it has become one of Wellington’s unique tourist attractions.
The totem pole or “kopjafa”, which was carved from tōtara in 1999 by a locally based (since returned) Transylvanian wood carver, symbolises freedom.
A decorative wooden archway or “Székely kapu”, carved from Hungarian oak by Hungarian master carvers in Transylvania and gifted to us by the Hungarian Parliament, stands at the entrance to the park.
The time capsule was placed at the foot of the flagpole in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution as well as the 160th anniversary of the 1848-49 Revolution and War of Independence.
The park features trees that you typically find in Hungary and the shrubs and garden give a splash of the Hungarian colours – red, white and green.
The mural, by Whanganui based Hungarian artist Daniella Sasvári, which adorns the electricity box “acquired” in the aftermath of 2016 Kaikōura earthquake, tells Hungary’s thousand years’ story.
The engraved pavers each tell their own story, mostly of Hungarians in New Zealand, as well as friends of Hungarians, and they are in large part how the park was and continues to be funded.