Skateboarders have been blamed for causing havoc in Mount Maunganui's $2.5 million urban "green space", with nine reports about skater behaviour reported to police in 10 days.

The most recent reports to Tauranga police were made in the last week - one on January 3 and two on January 6.

The first two "breach of peace" reports at the former Phoenix carpark came on December 28 after a group of skateboarders became "verbally aggressive" - four days after the new park opened to public.

It appeared the group refused to leave after being told to move on by a Tauranga City Council security guard who was manning the area, police said.


Police were called to the area again after reports of a fight.

Another two reports relating to the behaviour of skateboarders in the area were received on the afternoon of December 30 and another two on Christmas Eve.

Mount Maunganui resident Dawn Kiddie started a Facebook group to gauge the public's opinion on the new "green space", now called Te Papa o Ngā Manu Porotakataka.

Kiddie hoped to start a petition for the council to return to what was originally promised during the consultation process if there was enough support.

"I am not against a skatepark, but that is not how it was sold," she said. "It is a grey space, not a green space. It is not usable, let's make it into something that can be used."

Lloyd Rooney, owner of the new restaurant facing the new park, said the council had inadvertently built a skatepark.

Rooney said the space needed more greenery and shade, however, he was aware the project was not quite complete.

"The council has tried to create something, which would have been a real asset to the area, which hasn't quite worked out. But I think we are judging something that is only half finished."


Rooney said the landlord was shown artist impressions of what the new space would look like before the new restaurant opened.

However, he said they did not match what the space looked like currently and what could be a desirable place for his diners had not quite materialised just yet.

"It is nicer than a carpark, though," he said. "It could be a really lovely space with a bit more work."

The Tauranga City Council'sacting general manager of city transformation, Gareth Wallis, said the new space was a no skateboarding zone.

Signs and studs on the benches had been installed to help deter skateboarders, he said.

The council had not received any reports of damage to the park, but had employed two security guards to man the area between 3pm and 10pm daily.

Wallis said the park was not yet fully complete, with a water feature, removable seating and planter boxes to be added as well as replacing some of the pebbled areas with grass and shade trees.

Temporary measures were put in place to ensure the park was open for the holiday period, Wallis said, with a mixture of native trees, shrubs and grass planted in the area, including a feature pōhutukawa tree.

"Te Papa o Ngā Manu Porotakataka is an urban park that has been designed so that it is suitable for a range of activities including events and markets," he said.

"Landscaping and vegetation around the park will need time to grow and mature."

Some elements of the original design had to be removed but it did not compromise the overall design intent, Wallis said.

Former Tauranga mayor Stuart Crosby said the purpose of the project was to create a "soft" urban green space where people could relax.

However, he said, that had not appeared to have happened. "It was not designed to be a hard space, although I am aware it is not finished."

The Bay of Plenty regional councillor said if the council was going to deviate from the original consultation plan, it should have reconsulted.

"For people places, you really need to get it right," he said.

"The key is to re-engage. Go back to the people. It needs to be remedied and remedied quickly."

Crosby, who is also vice president of the Local Government New Zealand, which is governed by a national council, said the concerns surrounding skateboarders was a consequence of the design.

"They got the design wrong. If you create a space like that they will use it. It is a fault in the design. Don't blame the skateboarders," he said.

"Sometimes these things happen. It is best the council re-engage and get the faith back."

What do you think of the new space?

"It is not very green, there is no shade. I think it should be called the Phoenix Skatepark." It is a waste of time."
Timothy Church

"I think it is great. It is nice to have uncrowded room for people to walk through, sit and enjoy. It creates a restful environment."
Karen Croawell

"They were going to have a lot of green space. There is more concrete than there is green."
Kim Sherlock

"I have been going to the pharmacy across the road for 36 years and now I don't go there because the carparks have gone."
Rae Jensen

"It is a perfect place to skate."
Luke Hooper, 19

"It is cool, but it is a pain the carparks have gone. I think it will be a nice open space once it is finished."
Joy Ackerley, 19

How many complaints to police?
December 28: 2
December 30: 2
December 31: 2
January 3: 1
January 6: 2
Source: Tauranga Police

Te Papa o Ngā Manu Porotakataka
- Opened on December 24, 2018
- Includes about 1600sq m of concrete surface
- 17-plus specimen trees
- 500sq m of landscaping (plus seating/planter boxes)
- $2.5 million
- Name means "the place of circling birds"