The L and P Bottle
However, the memories of those proud days of Paeroa and Lemon, or in later years Lemon and Paeroa and then L and P, are kept to the forefront by the large L and P bottle at the eastern entrance to Paeroa on State Highway 2.
This eye-catching structure commenced its life as a replica of a space rocket being the focal point for Paeroa’s 1967 Christmas promotion. It was at the time when men were being sent into outer space and to moon and theme was: “Paeroa was to rocket into Christmas”. It was placed on the triangle area in front of the Post Office.
This 7 metre high 1.3 metre diameter structure was made from six concrete water troughs stacked on top of one another. A fibre-glass “neck” was placed on top housing a public address system from which announcements were made and music played during the promotion. It was painted to depict a space rocket.
After the Christmas festivities it was dismantled and then reassembled as a bottle for the 1968 festivities. This time it painted in Lemon and Paeroa bottle colours. Again the structure became a focal point of the promotion and attracted considerable interest from passersby.
Early in 1969 the bottle dismantled and stored away. After discussions between Innes Tartan and the Paeroa Borough Council a joint-venture saw the bottle, re-erected close to its present site later that year.
This time it was constructed of concrete pipes with considerable timber framework inside to ensure it was withstand the elements. It has had a couple of re-paints to keep up with changing corporate colours.
Since then the “bottle” has become one of the most well-known and photographed structures in New Zealand. It was been reproduced on postage stamps and there must be million of photographs of it around the world.
Towards the end of 2002 the bottle was moved again, some 20 metres back into newly-developed $400,000 Ohinemuri Reserve to enable photographers to get their “snaps” without dodging traffic in the middle of the very busy State Highway 2.
Today, after almost 100 years, the famous spring has gone in a full circle to return to the unique mineral water bubbling out of the ground, into the nearby Hape Creek with a couple of with differences. The unique mineral water now bubbles from a concrete pipe well but locked away from local residents and tourists.