The Pakowhai Regional Park always looks pristine thanks to caretaker Theo Rood who has now retired after 20 years of service at the Hawke's Bay Regional Council.

The park is a well-loved spot, not only for Hawke's Bay residents, but their dogs and also curious kākā, which were spotted in the park by caretakers last year.

Rood said he would not forget his time at the park, nor the people who walked through it on a daily basis.

"I will miss the park, especially the people who love walking their dogs here and their feedback is always positive which has made the job good," Rood said.


"We planted about 16,000 trees and shrubs at Pekapeka. I can't forget carting trees along the railway line to get to what I call Totora Hill."

Rood's work is certainly a stand-out at Pekapeka, as all his planting is now well established along the boardwalk.

He also installed the wetland and plantations within the park, as well as taking general care of the park, which many members of the public considered a place of solitude.

Members of the council gathered on Wednesday to honour Rood's tireless efforts and to wish him well.

"I have to thank Theo on behalf of everybody in Hawke's Bay who loves this park. He has done a stunning job of keeping the park in good shape and he's part of a legacy of volunteers who have shaped Pakowhai Park into the popular place it is today," Rex Graham said.

Former land management manager Garth Eyles used to be in charge of the park 20 years ago and hired Rood to tidy up the park for an event.

He was so impressed with Rood's efforts that he then hired him one day a week to keep the park up to scratch.

"Theo was a former nurseryman so knows plants and was ideal for the job, especially when planning new planting. The park's condition is due to hid management under the oversight of a long-term organisation like the regional council which looks to the future."


Rood was also acknowledged for his hard work tackling blackberry, fern and other weeds to break in new park areas for the public to enjoy.

"The planting was the easy bit," he said.

Pakowhai Regional Park continues to be managed by Hawke's Bay Regional council staff and contractors, as well as a volunteer - Ian Alexander and his dog Pickles.