Buchanan Park – Onehunga’s hidden gem2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
Nestled amongst the established homes and gardens of Onehunga, Buchanan Park is a hidden gem. At the entrance to the park in Arthur Street, an elegant archway decorated with scrolled ironwork welcomes visitors and, once inside, it boasts an inviting, well-maintained playground that its namesakes would have approved of.
Buchanan Park stands on the site of a former Chinese market garden, and it was purchased by the former Onehunga Borough Council for use as a recreational park and children’s playground. The reserve was named in the Buchanan family’s honour, in recognition of their decades of service to the local community, in particular the children of Onehunga. From teaching to fundraising and philanthropy the Buchanan family, who also lived in Onehunga, were also dedicated to supporting local children to succeed.
In 1922, Robert and Euphemia Buchanan worked together to establish a leadership scholarship for students at local schools, known as the Buchanan Prize. The scholarship helped recipients moving on to secondary school to purchase books, and it was awarded to students who had demonstrated good behaviour and excellent grades.
Before her marriage to Robert, Euphemia Buchanan (néé Neilson) taught at Māngere Central School. Although she retired early due to ill-health, she continued to promote children’s education and play an active role in the community throughout her life. Impressively, an article published in 1960 noted that even in her 90’s she continued to take an active interest in past recipients of the Buchanan Prize.
The Buchanan family also engaged with the local community in other ways, with bothof them fundraising for worthy causes. Robert, who worked at the Union Steamship Company for over 26 years, was the president of both the Onehunga Bowling and Onehunga Orphans clubs. He also acted as a patron for multiple sports clubs in the local area. Euphemia was also involved in many clubs, including the Onehunga Orphans Club and the Onehunga Ladies’ Benevolent Society, which was particularly focused on helping women and children. The couple also had other close ties to the local community. Euphemia’s uncle Daniel Neilson, who she lived with from the age of 11, was one of the first members of the Onehunga District Council, and Neilson Street is named after him.
The Buchanan family’s legacy is still visible in Onehunga and its surrounding suburbs. The Buchanan prize is ongoing, helping hard-working students pay for books and other expenses. Similarly, Buchanan Park enjoys regular use from local families, and with its updated swings, slides, and brightly coloured monkey bars, the playground offers a welcoming space for children to enjoy.