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John Goodwin started the concept of the Festival in the 1950s. His brief - ‘Bring people back into the Park!’ 1952 saw the establishment of the NPCC Parks Department largely as a consequence of his efforts.

 By 1953 with the Queen’s visit he had made a brilliant start but with ambitious plans to introduce a fountain, waterfall and waterwheel to fully exploit the significance of water he had ruffled a few illustrious feathers. It was made clear that some wished that “he should return to Canterbury from whence he came”, feeling ’natural’ beauty was under serious threat.

In 195- he was granted study leave to attend in London what I think was the inaugural meeting of the International Institute of Parks Administration. He was the NZ delegate and took every opportunity to glean information about what was happening in the Parks and zoos of the United Kingdom.

His main inspiration came in the spectacle of illumination of trees.

On his return he convinced the committee that ten flood lights should be purchased in order to illuminate trees plus a string of coloured lights to ring the Main Lake to exploit its reflective potential.

In order to have the lighting installed, assistance was required from the then Electricity Department of the NPCC. I believe that coincidentally that the Department was already experimenting with the illumination of feature buildings during summer. Be that as it may, the rapport between the staff of the two departments was dynamic.

In the following summer when the time came to install the lighting in the Park, as if by a miracle, the electricians turned up with extra lighting features.    George Fuller

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