Due to open in late 2021 the new Town Basin Park will provide an important link between Whangarei’s waterfront, the Huarahi o te Whai Hātea Loop Walkway and the City Core.
The $5.2 million project will transform the waterfront site next to the Victoria Canopy Bridge into a new, versatile urban space with:
- an amphitheatre and great lawn for community events and general recreation,
- a new, small-scale play space,
- an interactive water feature,
- a large kinetic sculpture and
- public amenities.
New Town Basin Park Plan
Construction is due to begin early in 2020 and be completed ready in time for the opening of the neighbouring Hundertwasser Art Centre (HAC) with Wairau Maori Art Gallery.
Whangarei District Council Infrastructure Planning and Capital Works Manager, Shelley Wharton, says the final design of the park incorporates public feedback on a range of concepts.
"The three features that were rated by the public as being the most desirable for the site were - viewing terraces, large lawn, and a water feature. This design delivers on all these with an amphitheatre to hold community concerts, markets and events, a great lawn for people to gather and relax, terraced waterfront seating, trees for shade, and illuminated water jets for park users to splash around in during summer."
Mrs Wharton says the land the park is to be built on has a rich Maori and European history and these cultural narratives are referenced in the new park’s design.
The Hātea Loop, which borders the new park will remain open during construction of the new park.
There will be a formal naming process for the new park in 2020. At this time, the public will be asked to give suggestions for a name for the new park.
Great Lawn Event Space and Amphitheatre
Whangārei’s new Town Basin Park will feature a curved amphitheatre and a great lawn perfect for hosting community events.
Having an area to host events, as well as lots of green space were two of the most requested items during public consultation on the park’s design.
The amphitheatre and great lawn will be flexible spaces that can be used for events such as the Matariki Festival, outdoor cinema, artisan and food markets.
When they are not being used for events the public will be able to enjoy using the spaces for recreation, picnics, catching up with friends and family, and relaxing.”
Park lighting will make it possible to host night time events and will also help create a vibrant night time atmosphere within the central city.
Careful thought has gone into the design of the park to ensure safety and accessibility for park users of all ages and abilities.
The amphitheatre will provide a physical barrier to Riverside Drive while the children’s play space has been located next to the great lawn allowing children to move safely between the two areas.
There will also be planting around the great lawn to enclose it.
Another important consideration was designing the paths to guide the public to use designated pedestrian crossings.
New public toilets are also being installed in the event space and will provide more facilities for park users, visitors to the Town Basin and people using the Hatea Loop.
Great Lawn Event Space and Amphitheatre
Splish, splash, water fun!
An interactive water feature at Whangarei’s new Town Basin Park will be enjoyed by all ages.
Children will be able to play in the streams of water on hot days while LED lights will provide colourful night time displays.
Water features like the one that will be installed at the Town Basin Park have proved to be popular and fun park additions in other places around New Zealand and the world.
The water feature will be located in the centre of the park so it is visible from all pedestrian entrances – drawing visitors in.
It includes 19 water jets, each with LED lighting, that can be programmed with varying sequences and colour displays.
The water is recycled and treated to enable use all year round, especially during long, hot, dry periods when there can be water restrictions. Water will be continuously treated to a high standard to ensure it is safe for play.
During events the water jets can be turned off so the area becomes a large flat paved plaza.
A water play feature is also planned for the new Pohe Island Destination Playground.
Interactive Water Feature
Children will be able to bounce, jump and balance their way around the unique play space planned for the new Town Basin Park.
Designed by NZ firm Numat, it features colourful rubber mounds, spinning balls, two small in-ground trampolines and a low tightrope.
Shade will be provided by a patterned timber structure designed by local firms Main 4 Architects and RS Engineering that can be covered with canvas for extra sun protection during summer.
The play space is positioned between the water feature and great lawn to allow children to transition between each area safely.
It will complement the existing Town Basin Playground which is currently being redesigned with construction to start in 2020.
There is also a new large destination playground planned for Pohe Island.
Terraces and Seating
The new Town Basin Park will include unique landscaped terraces, lawns, seating and lots of other comfortable places to sit and enjoy the close connection to the waterfront and views to the marina and Parihaka.
Lawn terraces will lead visitors from the central plaza down to the timber boardwalk at the river’s edge. There will also be a variety of seating options for both individuals and groups.
While the amphitheatre terraces and Great Lawn will provide spaces and seating to gather for food markets, outdoor concerts and cinemas, there will also be more intimate spots on the waterfront for individuals or smaller groups to enjoy a quiet lunch or social interaction.
These compact landscaped and grassed areas will provide extra spaces for people to relax and listen to musicians, or observe wildlife and other activities on the water..
The layout of the new Town Basin park, showing the location of the terraces and seating.
An artist's impression of people relaxing in the new terraces, with the Canopy Bridge behind.
Click on each image to view a larger version.