Howitzer finds new home in landmark Palmy park

Published on 23 August 2019

A former military gun is now on show at Memorial Park. The New Zealand Defence Force has gifted the gun to the city for 999 years.

The piece of artillery was recently sanded and painted by Linton soldiers before being moved to its new home.

Camp Commandant, Major Mike Pettersen, says the gift honours the Defence Force's close relationship with Palmerston North.

Kathy Dever-Tod, Palmerston North City Council Manager of Parks and Reserves, says Memorial Park is the perfect home for the gun.

The park was renamed from Fitzroy Park to Memorial Park in 1954, two years after a memorial monument and the large brick memorial gates were installed. We're currently planning major upgrades to the park where poppies will feature strongly in the design.

The memorial monument was removed in 1983 after it was deemed to be in a state of disrepair.

The history of this type of gun

This piece of artillery is the M101A1 105mm howitzer. It was developed by the United States during the Second World War.

During WWII it was the US military's standard light field howitzer. The same type of gun went on to serve in the Korean and Vietnam Wars as well.

It can fire explosive shells up to 11kms.

Four M101A1s were purchased for training in New Zealand in 1968. On their way here three were damaged by fire. They were then repaired and returned to New Zealand, but never used in war.

M1O1A1s are sometimes seen but not fired at ceremonies at Waiouru.