Work on a $1.5 million upgrade of the Havelock North Domain will begin in just over a month and is expected to be completed by summer.

The upgrade was consulted on last year and the money is already included in the Hastings District Council budget.

The plan for the park includes building a new playground with a children's water play area, sun shades, a revamped skate area designed for small children, paths, and new seating and tables.

The development of the park is a "once in a generation" project which will see the domain become the true heart and connector within the village, the Council's Reserve Management Committee chairman, Councillor Wayne Bradshaw, said.


The actual start date depends on a final decision on the moving of the historic Cricket Pavilion, at the north end of the ground; a decision that will be made in the next few weeks.

It had been intended to leave it where it is, however the community asked that it be moved to a more central position. If that goes ahead, it will take the place of the current Plunket building on the Te Mata Rd side of the domain.

To move it requires $300,000, not included in the upgrade budget. Council has included half of that amount for consideration in the Annual Plan, with the community tasked with raising the other half.

Havelock North resident and designer Andy Coltart, who led the submissions in favour of moving the near 80-year-old building, has started a fundraising drive and the Havelock North Business Association has agreed to support the project.

The pavilion was designed by Hastings architect Eric Phillips and opened in 1938. Until Karanema Drive was pushed through the original cricket field, the building provided a fine look out over the action. Now it is considered to be isolated and has limited use.

The building was upgraded in 2011, and includes toilets, showers, kitchen, storeroom and main hall.

If moved it will face into the park, include public toilets with a separate entrance, and be fronted with a large paved area suitable for holding markets or other outdoor events that are better on a hard surface.

There is a great deal of interest in the project within the community, particularly the re-siting of the historic Cricket Pavilion, said councillor Sandra Hazlehurst.
"It's about creating a community space out of the beautiful historic building. From the moment the idea was presented to relocate the beautiful historic pavilion to create a focal point in the redeveloped Village Green, the community has embraced the idea.

"The pavilion will become a gathering place for meetings, a hub from which to run events and concerts, and provide a new home for community organisations and groups like Plunket and the Toy library."

Mr Bradshaw saids the project will draw a number of public buildings together, to form a cultural core for Havelock North.

"This really is exciting. Once finished, the church, the pavilion, the Havelock North Function Centre and the library will all face into this communal space, and the opening up of the pools will bring them into the domain. This has huge potential to become the equivalent of the traditional village green, a gathering and event space for all of our community.

"Let's face it, what other small to medium town has such a magnificent green space right in its heart and we're now in a position to really make the most of it."

Plunket staff are ready for the move, and excited about returning to the Pavilion once it is in its new home. Clinical Services Manager Tracey Armstrong has offered to temporarily relocate the Havelock North Plunket service to its Hastings office while the work is done. "It is just a temporary move; we will be back and the new building will be wonderful," said Ms Armstrong.