Monday, 12 February 2018

Jean Batten in Rotorua

Rotorua's Famous People 

This plaque indicates the approximate spot of the house on Amohia Street.
Photograph courtesy of Kete Rotorua.

Jean Batten was born in Rotorua 15th September 1909, only daughter of  Frederick Harold & Ellen (Nellie) Batten, sister to Frederick (Jnr.) & John, one other brother, Stanley, born in 1904 died in infancy. Click here to read her biography on Te Ara : Encyclopedia of NZ.

Jean was named after her paternal grandmother, Jane Gardner Batten, although always known as Jean.


The family moved to Rotorua in c.1904 they lived on Amohia Street in the block between Hinemoa and Pukuatua Streets, her father Frederick Harold Batten was one of the 1st Dentist's in the town.  The family moved to Auckland in c.1913.


Frederick Snr served in WWI with the rank of Captain in the NZ Dental Corps and worked also on the troop ship 'Ionic' as dentist to the soldiers en route to England. He received the British War Medal and on return to New Zealand after the war he continued to serve in the Territorial Army, 3rd (Auck.) Regiment (Countess of Ranfurly's Own) to c.1920. Prior to the war he served for 1 year in the Taranaki Rifles and in 1911-1914 he was Captain of the 4th Coy. Senior Cadets based in Rotorua. 


Her brother Frederick went on to become a farmer at Ruakaka and John became a radio actor and announcer, he moved to England c.1960's where he resided until his death in 1993.



Dame Fiona Kidman in Rotorua, author of  'The Infinite air' about Jean Batten.
This memorial was situated in Jean Batten Park on Arawa Street.
Photograph courtesy of Kete Rotorua

The bronze in the above photograph was crafted by Hamilton artist Marshall Watt and gifted to the Rotorua Museum in 1994, it was later agreed that the memorial would be displayed behind Tourism Rotorua. Jean Batten Park was developed between the Tourism Isite and the Rotorua Library where her bronze resided until redevelopment of the park 2017/2018.

Books about Jean Batten.
Come see our newly refurbished Library and Children's Health Hub at 1127 Haupapa Street. 

"The infinite air" by Dame Fiona Kidman. Fiction on the ground floor.
"Jean Batten, Garbo of the skies" by Ian Mackersey. 629.13z BAT in New Zealand Heritage on the 1st Floor. 
"Alone in the sky" by Jean Batten. 629.13z BAT in New Zealand Heritage on the 1st Floor. 

Reference Only in the Don Stafford Room : Rotorua Collection. "Jean Batten, pioneer of the sky" by Bronwyn Tainui - 926.2913z BAT 
"My life" by Jean Batten - 926.2913z BAT
"Solo flight' by Jean Batten - 629.13z BAT