Whangarei park on world list

By Sophie Ryan


Whangarei's Parihaka Scenic Reserve is among seven parks around New Zealand to receive international recognition.

The Green Flag Award, which was launched in the UK 16 years ago, opened to parks in Australia and New Zealand for the first time this year.

Parks were judged on being welcoming places, healthy, safe and secure, well maintained and clean, and also on factors of sustainability, conservation and heritage, community involvement, marketing and management.

The judges assessed the park over a day and Parihaka Reserve scored a 74 per cent rating.

"Parihaka and Hatea River Reserves are a park experience, something to be done over time, at different seasons with the family or by yourself," the judges commented. They also praised the focus on nature conservation and sustainable practices for the day-to-day operational management of the reserves.

Whangarei District Council Parks and Recreation Department manager Paul McDonald said: "It's great to hear we are doing things well, but the real reward is in knowing that visitors and residents are getting real joy out of this area every day."

The judges noted the variety of environments within the park in their comments.

"Tourists take in the city and harbour views from the Parihaka summit, paddle the Hatea River from the Town Basin Marina, then take in a canopy treetop walk amongst kauri and finally on to the stunning Whangarei Falls."

The awards are given out each year, and parks are encouraged to apply for judging each year. Other New Zealand winners were Ambury Regional Park and Tapapakanga Regional Park, Auckland Council; Hamilton Garden, Hamilton City Council; Karangahake Gorge and Timber Trail Pureora-Orangue, Department of Conservation; and Redwoods/Tokorangi, Rotorua District Council.

- Northern Advocate

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