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Owhiro Bay nationally recognised


Media release
For immediate release 18 September 2008

Owhiro Bay nationally recognised

Last night (Wednesday 17 September 2008), Wellington City Council’s project to upgrade the entrance to Owhiro Bay won the New Zealand Recreation Association (NZRA)’s Outstanding Park Award 2008.

Parks from around the country were reviewed by the judges, but the one that stood out was Wellington City Council’s unique, welcoming entrance to Owhiro Bay.

In 2000 Wellington City Council bought the Owhiro Bay Quarry to stop quarrying on the South Coast. Since then, it has been making the quarry safe and developing its natural environment, to make it a sustainable and unique attraction. Upgrading Owhiro Bay’s entrance was the last phase in this project.

Using the quarry’s existing storage shed, the council created a practical and pleasant shelter for South Coast visitors. A clever mix of native planting, user-friendly facilities, security and sustainability contributed to the council’s win.

NZRA spokesperson Kirsten Malpas says the Owhiro Bay site is an important gateway to Wellington’s Southern Coast.

“It is an iconic part of Wellington and the council did a great job creating an entrance that works with the area’s history and natural environment,” says Kirsten.

“We were impressed with the amount of consultation and planning that went into the vision and design of this park,” she says.

“A lot of people use the coast for recreation and leisure activities, so it was important to get it right. The council received more than 500 submissions during its consultation phase – and the end result is a credit to all involved.”

As well as public conveniences and car parking, a shelter has been created so visitors can pause and enjoy the location and view. Huge bi-fold doors give the shelter a sense of connecting to the outdoors, while inside, interpretation displays explain the area’s history.

By retaining part of the original quarry building and dramatic concrete pillars, the design recognises the quarry’s past. But raising the shelter’s floor level, so visitors have a view of the ocean, and using soak pits and swales to avoid storm water runoff, show the careful thought that has gone into the project.

Wellington City Council’s Environment Portfolio Leader, Councillor Celia Wade-Brown, says the Council’s vision was to transform the site from being an industrial quarry into an attraction which reflected the wild beauty of Wellington’s South Coast.

“Special consideration was given to using natural and historical features to help tell the story of the area”, says Cr Wade-Brown. “We were mindful of the rough coastal weather and the need to create a shelter which was practical and which matched the character of the South Coast. Building materials were recycled, and rocks, gravel and un-manicured native planting were used.”

The Outstanding Park Award was presented at a gala dinner in Christchurch last night. Recreation professionals from more than 15 countries are currently in Christchurch attending the 2008 International Federation of Parks and Recreation Administration’s Asia Pacific Congress.

The congress is being hosted by the New Zealand Recreation Association and Christchurch City Council.


About NZRA
NZRA is a not for profit industry organisation committed to promoting recreation and providing professional services to the recreation sector. The sectors that NZRA represents include public swimming pools, parks and open spaces, recreation facilities and recreation programmes. NZRA's vision is that Recreation is vital to the wellbeing of New Zealanders.

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