On a clear day you can see Mt Ruapehu and Mt Taranaki (Egmont) by standing at the Gudex Memorial in the Maungakawa Reserve. Many visitors have enjoyed this view and the peaceful surroundings.
The Maungakawa Reserve came into being as a result of the efforts of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce when Mr Cliff Haworth was president. He went on to be the Reserves Board's first chairman and remained in office throughout.
The reserve was created under the guidance of the Lands and Survey Department in 1953 and the voluntary Maungakawa Scenic Reserve Board received much benefit from Mr Gudex, a foundation member, in help and advice.
In 1955, 140 acres on the lower slopes of the hill were placed under the control of the Maungakawa Scenic Reserve Board and a beautifying scheme begun. Then the eleven and a half acres of the old sanatorium (acquired from Mr Ralph Taylor) were added, later to be known as Gudex Memorial Park.
The area - the site of the former Te Waikato Sanatorium - still had evidence of the old world garden established in the 1890's when Mrs Sophia Thornton and her family were in residence.
Walnuts, camellias, rhododendrons and clumps of snowdrops were all mingled with the surrounding bush, and only a little landscaping and the provision of some facilities were necessary.
This has become a place of tranquil beauty with bush walks, a picnic area, native bush and birdlife, a place to contemplate, an artists' mecca, a tourist attraction, a place to study natural science and geography.
Seven acres were set aside from the reserve to become Gudex Memorial Park. On 23 June 1968 the stone obelisk was unveiled to the memory of Mr Michael Christian Gudex MBE, MA, MSc, (teacher, scientist and horticulturists) for his contribution to the preservation of New Zealand's natural resources.
A walking track from Gudex Memorial Park was formed with the help of many voluntary groups. This track descends through the bush to a clearing (approximately 30 minutes walk) named by Mrs Sophia Thornton as 'Rest and Be Thankful'. In the days of horse and buggy, travellers (as well as the horses) rested at this spot before the final haul to the top.
Researched and written by Eris Parker
Ref: Cambridge Museum Archives