Horses grazing, horses gazing. The silence and peace expressed by the animals can be in marked contrast to the changing face and functions of the public park. The domain has not always been the scene of quiet sanctuary, but often a place of crowded commotion; sports days and concerts, military manoeuvres, visiting dignitaries and industrial exhibitions.
Horses in bronze, horses in stone. Animal muscle has been replaced by mechanical horsepower; the constant traffic on the arterial routes which connect Parnell with the City and the use of the park as a carpark conflicts with its proper function as public gardens and playing fields. Muscle power now is as human energy being expended in the form of walking and running and sports teams competing.
Sometime about 60,000 years ago the Domain was not a peaceful place, but the scene of a volcanic eruption. One of Auckland’s oldest volcanoes the remnant consists of a small scoria cone inside a large crater surrounded by a horseshoe-shaped tuff ring. Auckland War Memorial Museum sits on the eastern tuff while the buildings of Auckland Hospital are built on the western tuff. Once the source of Auckland’s water supply and an area used by the Acclimatisation Society to introduce exotic wildlife to the Auckland Province, the Domain has become a vibrant hub of cultural and recreational activities.