29 April 2019

New Zealand - World Parks Week feature park: Auckland Domain

World Urban Parks - World Parks Week interview
We're running a series of articles throughout the World Urban Parks World Parks week (April 27 to May 4 - 2019) to celebrate a Green Flag Award park from many of the countries that we operate in.

Green Flag Award park name

Auckland Domain / Pukekawa

Interviewee

Jane Aickin, Manager Co-governance and Auckland Domain - Auckland City Council

How many years have you held the Green Flag Award?

Three years!

Let’s start by getting to know your park or green space with a brief introduction

The Auckland Domain / Pukekawa is at the heart of Auckland's city centre. It is an expansive 75 hectare green lung that is flanked by dense residential and business development on all sides. The park, in its entirety, is located on one of Auckland's 53 volcanoes with the tuff rim of the crater flanking the sports field and a small central scoria cone in the middle of the fields. The two primary visitor attractions – Auckland Museum and Auckland Wintergardens - are both among the top visitor attractions in Auckland. The historic and formal gardens, duck ponds, sportsfields and large green open spaces edged by mature trees, bush walks and statuary provide a reliable and much loved visitor attraction for all Aucklanders and visitors alike. A large and expanding range of events, including the Lantern Festival which is Auckland largest free event, enhance the diverse range of experiences on offer at the Domain.

The people who use our spaces are what brings them to life. Tell us a little bit about your regular visitors and any particular groups or organisations you work with.

With a large number of sports fields the Domain is heavily patronised by sportspeople of all ages all year round. In particular the evenings and weekends see cricketers and spectators flood into the basin and surrounding embankments. Two tennis clubs and a bowling club combine with running and a range of other organised and informal sporting pursuits that are enjoyed year round. As noted above tourists are a major visitor group. With the city's prime cenotaph and consecrated grounds situated in front of the Auckland War Memorial Museum the Domain is host to the countries largest Anzac Day commemoration as well as multiple other commemorations year round. Finally, the Domain is the back yard playground for many thousands of residents based in the city centre, Grafton, New Market and Parnell.

Parks and green spaces are constantly evolving. Tell us about any developments or changes that you are working on over the coming year?

The Domain is full of heritage assets and over the 1990's and early 2000's funding was minimal so the focus of the last 10 years has been on restoration of the grandstand, band rotunda, all heritage paths and a full rebuild of the historic nursery supporting the winter gardens. Approval for expansion of the natural play landscape, new paths and a new active recreation zone has been granted and work will commence in the next year.

We’re asking everyone to share their passion for the parks and green spaces during World Parks Week. What key message would you like to give about the importance of parks and green spaces?

As our cities intensify and our lifestyles divorce us from a daily dose of the outdoors we know the value of parks is increasingly vital to community well-being. However it is equally important that our open spaces evolve to cater for the needs of a changing needs and increasingly diverse population and this may include challenging or reducing historic uses. In the case of the Domain beating the vehicle dominance, particularly commuter parking, has been a strong focus of the last few years. Constant change can be expensive but to not invest is to turn our back on the environment and our communities and can undermine the core value of parks overtime.

And finally, what does having a Green Flag Award mean to you as a professional and also to the community that use your park or green space?

The Green Flag Award is an endorsement that our efforts are appropriately placed. It provides the rigour needed to stay focused on the range of values and inputs needed to make a happy, healthy park environment that is loved by all.

Further information

You can view Auckland Domain's Green Flag Award profile page here and click through to the official parks page to find out more.