Pūtahi Park

Water feature at Pūtahi Park.

An iconic new landmark, Pūtahi Park opened in March 2022.

Named and opened at a dawn blessing ceremony conducted by Te Parawhau on 11 March 2022, Pūtahi means “a place where everyone can gather and enjoy themselves”. It was one of the top five selected from suggestions given by people of Whangārei in 2021.

The $6.6 million park includes a water-feature, mini trampolines, a great lawn for performances and events, a slack-line tight-rope, toilets and drinking fountains, shade sails, and ample seating.

Dogs

Dogs can be walked on a leash around the grassed area of Pūtahi Park and on the Hātea Loop, that passes through the park. However, dogs are prohibited from all children’s play areas within the park.

How the water feature works

If you, or someone you know, have been splashing around in the water feature at the park, wondering about wasted or contaminated water, fear not!

With 19 bouncing water jets and coloured lights, the system is set up to capture the fountain water, treat it and shoot it back out to the dashers and splashers above.

Under the lawn there is a recycling tank that holds 3,500 litres of water and a submersible pump.

The recycled water is pumped to the main tank and the water is cycled through the pump shed where it is automatically sterilised with chlorine and ultraviolet and dosed to keep it sterile and pH neutral.

A 15,000 litre tank on the other side of the park contains clean water and can be topped up if too much water evaporates on the best days – the hot, dry and windy ones.

Other clever features include the ability for the lights to be colour-coded to match the themes for special events – things like Daffodil Day or big sports events or Christmas.

The height of the jets also change automatically, dropping to a mid-height on windy days, and dropping to knee height in very strong winds – another system that helps conserve the clean water.

During events, the water jets can be turned off so the area becomes a large flat paved plaza.

Part of a bigger picture

The project kicked off under the Sense of Place Programme which came out of the Whangārei District Growth Strategy ‘Sustainable Futures 30/50’ in 2010.

The importance of creating a ‘Sense of Place’ was identified by our communities and supported through various rounds of consultation. It reflects what we aimed to achieve through several Long Term Plans, 2016’s Whangārei 20/20 Momentum report, the 2017 City Centre Plan, 2018-28 Long Term Plan, and the 2019 City Core Precinct Plan.

 

Te Aranga Māori design principles

The hapū history, supported by Te Aranga Māori concept design principles, has been woven through the design to incorporate cultural narratives into the park’s layout, paving patterns, artwork, tree selection, materials and colours.

It has created a richer experience for all who will use the park now and into the future. It reflects the previous uses of the site, early European and Māori history, changes to the rivers and landform over time, and the Whangārei landscape.

The landscape design was completed in-house by talented staff. Themes of pathways to the sea, people coming together, where fresh and salt water meet, the connection between harbour and inland to access food sources, the flight path of the kōtuku (white heron), early Māori and European settlements, buildings and orchards, flag signalling between hills and wharf when ships were arriving – are all part of the DNA of the park.

The historical aspects are referenced in four key themes within the new park’s design:

  1. A pathway to the sea - a place where fresh and salt water meet.
  2. A place of connection between the harbour and food sources inland.
  3. A place on the flight path of the Kotuku (white heron).
  4. A place of early European settlement and part of a large orchard.

More about the name

The name had the blessing of both Te Parawhau and Council who had worked together throughout the historical research and development of the themes that shaped the final form of the park.

The name is unique, not used elsewhere in Whangārei, so it gives the new park a clear identity. The name is unpretentious and has good energy for what will be an active space.

The name aligns well with the design narrative of the rivers and the people coming together in this beautiful and significant location that is the waterfront of Whangārei.

Location

Corner of Dent Street and Riverside Drive, Whangārei 0110  View Map

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