KPCA was formed in 1981 and is an incorporated society with charitable status. The work of KPCA has evolved as the Peninsula has developed: from clearing access lanes to the Lake and constructing the walking track around the Peninsula to the upgrading of infrastructure and conservation of the environment.
This involves a blend of volunteer work and interaction with the public authorities with responsibilities for or touching the Peninsula, notably Queenstown Lakes District Council, but also Otago Regional Council, Department of Conservation and the Crown as land owner.
KPCA is governed by a Committee which meets monthly to review new or ongoing projects and to consider advocacy opportunities.
In 2013 a history of the Peninsula written by local resident, George Singleton, was published as a KPCA project. “Our Place in the Sun” remains the best immediate source of information about the history and development of the Peninsula (copy available at the Frankton Library).
Undoubtedly, Tangata Whenua walked the Peninsula long before the arrival of European explorers. Nicholas Von Tunzelmann wrote, in his chronicle of his early exploration of the Wakatipu with William Rees in 1861, of finding the remains of a “sod wall near the beach at the Kawarau River Falls, very old and covered with herbage”, which they thought must have been the site of a Maori battle. George Singleton notes that, although there is now no evidence of permanent occupation, there are reports of adzes and other tools found in the Bay View area and several substantial Maori oven sites.
In 1863 William Rees relocated his family to ‘the Falls’, as he named his homestead and run. He named the hill behind, ‘Peninsula Hill’ (often now referred to locally as Deer Park Heights) and the Peninsula simply that: ‘the Peninsula’. In the 1920s a tourist launch made brief stopovers on the beach area which became known as Kelvin Grove, after the name of the boat. (The name, Kelvin Grove, may have been inspired by the park in Glasgow called Kelvingrove.) ‘Kelvin’ came to be applied more generally, as in Kelvin Heights and Kelvin Peninsula.
The Peninsula was first subdivided in 1958. The survey plan named the development as the Township of Kawarau Falls and included Willow Place, Peninsula, Loop, Mincher, Lewis and Bay View Roads. Jardine Park was created at the same time and gifted to the community as a recreational reserve. Similarly, the Willow Place and Bay View reserves were created, linked by a continuous reserve from the Grove to the William Rees reserve, providing access to the water.
By 1980 there were more than 250 dwellings on the Peninsula, with half occupied on a permanent or semi-permanent basis. The need for a local community organisation was identified, in particular to drive the development of the area, working with the local authority, the Lake County Council. The Kelvin Peninsula Community Association (KPCA) was formed in January 1981 with the aim to “Promote the interests of the ratepayers and residents of the Peninsula area”,the objectives being:
- Making unified and informed representation to the controlling authority, the Lake County Council,
on matters concerning the civil progress of the area and
- The instigation and promotion of voluntary community activities for the general well-being of
residents and visitors to the area.
As noted in Our Place in the Sun, there have been distinct phases to the work of KPCA, particularly involving the Working Group of volunteers: “From 1981 to 1990, there was a desire to provide basic facilities such as potable water supply and sewage reticulation to all properties, to create an enjoyable environment to live in, and to foster community awareness and interest. From 1990 to 2000 the thrust was to develop the basics provided and to enhance the environment further by the development of reserves; beautification and tree planting; the provision of facilities in The Grove and at Bay View, and the provision of seating on the walking track. Between 2000 and 2006 there was a change of emphasis. The drive was towards the development of the Peninsula infrastructure and planning for the future. The upgrading of sewage and water systems; the provision of adequate storm water reticulation; kerb and channel, and improved street maintenance and care were all given priority. The current phase and probably the most rewarding, now that the basics have been provided and are being maintained, has been the emphasis on community participation through activities, the conservation of the environment that has been developed through past activities and the continuation of the policy of reserve planting throughout the Peninsula.”
KPCA continues to reflect the original aims and objectives of its founders.