The new Mount park Te Papa o Ngā Manu Porotakataka, formerly Phoenix carpark, has stirred plenty of controversy. Reporter Zoe Hunter spent her lunch hour sitting at the park, sipping a coffee and observing passersby.

"I see you've found the only piece of shade in the area."

The passerby has noticed I am tucked underneath one of the trees offering a small patch of shade at Mount Maunganui's new urban green space.

He's right, I did pick that particular spot on the grass to eat my lunch because it is one of the rare spots of shade at the controversial park now named Te Papa O Ngā Manu Porotakataka. The concrete was too hot to sit on.

"There's no shade," the passerby says. He is visiting from Te Puke and doesn't particularly like the new park.


"The Mount is a lovely place ... but this ... It could be nice once they finish it."

He believes there needs to be more trees and maybe some artificial shade added.

I notice he is still referring to the park as the Phoenix carpark, its former name.

I choose not to quiz him on its newly adopted name, which translates in Māori to The Place of Circling Birds, which despite its length, I am proud to be able to pronounce correctly - and spell it.

As I sit underneath the tree eating my sushi and sipping on my coffee, I observe the comings and goings in the park.

In recent times driving past the park, I've seen skateboarders riding through the area - but not this time.

It's about 12.30pm on a Friday and people seem to be setting up for a running event inside the park.

It's the first time I've seen the area used for an event, which was apparently its intended use as well as a space to relax.


However, this doesn't stop activity in the space.

I spot two ladies resting underneath the shade of one of the other trees before they leave about 15 minutes later.

There is the occasional group of people walking through the area, some walking their dogs and others using it as a shortcut to the main street from the carparks.

Every now and then, individuals will sit to check a text message on the concrete ledges or wait for their friends who have popped into the public toilets.

One family stopped to eat their lunch on the concrete ledge and two teenage boys rest there for a few moments to apply sunscreen.

The space was intended as an urban green space for people to sit and relax. But I can't help but notice I am the only person sitting on the grass.

At least, I was the only one who sat there for an entire hour. Would you?