New Town Basin Park

  • Project typePark
  • Project value$6.6 million
  • Project scheduleExpected to be complete by March 2022
Full park image of the new Town Basin park.

Due to open in March 2022, the new Town Basin Park will provide an important link between Whangārei’s waterfront, the Huarahi o te Whai Hātea Loop Walkway and the central city area.

The name of the park will be revealed ceremonially in the months to come.

The $6.6 million project will transform the waterfront site next to the Canopy Bridge into a new, fun and versatile space with:

  • an amphitheatre and great lawn for community events and general recreation
  • a new, small-scale Balance Park
  • an interactive water feature
  • a large kinetic sculpture
  • public amenities 

As of October 2021, concrete is being laid, trees have flowered and burst into leaf, paths have been poured, lawns sown, pipes have been laid and lights have been installed.

The broadwalk by the park is now twice as wide to allow for more people using the Hātea Loop and the new park’s events space, to hide the re-built seawall and improve the connection between the park and the river.

Construction began in October 2020 and will be complete in time for the opening of the neighbouring Hundertwasser Art Centre (HAC) with Wairau Māori Art Gallery. 

The final design features 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.

The park is being built on land rich in Māori and European history and these cultural narratives are woven into the new park’s design. 

The Hātea Loop, which borders the new park will remain open during construction of the new park.

Find out more about the project

Naming process for the park

The name of the new park should show the significance of its site in the past, in the present and in the future.

Discussions with representatives of the hapu of the area, Te Parawhau and Ngati Kahu o Torongare, have covered its history and use in its earliest times, then history was gathered relating to European settlement and more recent times. These discussions included its complicated history of mana whenua and ownership through various reclamations, river diversions and land acquisition by different parties.

A process has been developed to ensure all these factors are taken into consideration when a final name for the park is decided.

The public was invited to put forward naming ideas for the park, along with explanations of the reasons behind the suggestions, and how they reflect the significance of the area. Call for suggestions closed on 17 March 2021.

Representatives from the Tangata Whenua of the area, and members of the project team will consider all the proposals and create a shortlist of five suitable names, along with explanations of their relevance. 

A final name will be selected by Whangarei Mayor Sheryl Mai and all Councillors, who will each rank each name according to preference.

A site rich in cultural and historical stories

The new park site has a rich Māori and European history which should provide plenty of inspiration when it comes to selecting a name. 

As part of the design stage of the park we conducted background research on the history of the site which unearthed some interesting findings. We have tried to incorporate varied cultural narratives into the overall design 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.

We have woven references to these themes into the design of the park through several different approaches.

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, 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 passive recreation, like picnics, catching up with friends and family, and relaxing. 

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.

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 and planting behind it will provide a visual and physical barrier to Riverside Drive, while the play space has been located next to the great lawn, allowing children to move safely between the two areas. 

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 at the new Town Basin park.

Splish, splash, water fun!

The interactive water feature will have streams of water on hot days while LED lights will provide colourful night time displays. It includes 19 water jets, each with LED lighting, that can be programmed with varying sequences and colour displays. 

The water feature will be located in the centre of the park so it is visible from all pedestrian entrances – drawing visitors in.

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.

Water feature at the new Town Basin park.

Play space

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, the small play space 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 upgraded Town Basin Playground which reopened in February 2021 with massive improvements.

There is also a new large destination playground planned for Pohe Island.

Balance park at the new Town Basin park.

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 upgraded timber boardwalk at the river’s edge.

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.

Terraces at the new Town Basin park.


Corner of Dent Street & Riverside Drive,  0110  View Map

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