Writers' Trail ~ Marlborough
PARK IN TUAMARINA COMMEMORATES MARLBOROUGH POET
Eileen Duggan (1894 – 1972) was once one of New Zealand’s most widely acclaimed poets.
Born of Irish parentage in what was then usually spelled Tua Marina, Duggan attended Tuamarina School from 1901 to 1902 and then Marlborough High School (at the time co-educational, now Marlborough Girls and Marlborough Boys Colleges). She taught as a pupil teacher at Tuamarina School from 1912 to 1913.
The family relocated to Wellington after two of the daughters, Mary and Evelyn, married and went to live there. Eileen was deeply affected by the death of Evelyn late in pregnancy in 1921, followed by her parents a couple of years later. After briefly staying with her sister Mary, Eileen moved in about 1925 to the Catholic Girls' Hostel in Wellington while she attended Victoria University College and Wellington Teachers’ Training College.
For almost fifty years she earned her living solely by full-time writing – of poetry, literary and historical essays, criticism and review and journalism. Her early collections of poetry were reviewed favourably here and overseas, but her style later fell out of fashion.a
Duggan was recognised as part of Marlborough’s 150th Anniversary Celebrations when on 7 October 2009 the Eileen Duggan Green was opened by deputy mayor Jenny Andrews. The small park is situated behind Tua Marina School and accessed via Cotterell Street. It features a plaque with a verse from Duggan’s most timeless poem, ‘The Tides Run Up the Wairau’:
The tides run up the Wairau
That fights against their flow.
My heart and it together
Are running salt and snow.
Written by: Chrissie Ward
Read more about Eileen Duggan here
Eileen Duggan is buried in Karori Cemetery, Wellington.
Click here to see the location of her grave.
GETTING TO THE PARK IN TUAMARINA
Tuamarina is approximately 10 kms from Blenheim,
heading north on State Highway 1. At Tuamarina cross the railway tracks; the school is immediately to the left. Go past the school along Campbell Lane and turn left into Cotterell Street. The park is on the right.