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District celebrates international award for Parihaka Scenic

Media Release

1 February 2013

District celebrates international award for Parihaka Scenic Reserve

Parks in the Whangarei District are footing it on the international stage with Parihaka Scenic Reserve winning the prestigious international Green Flag Award.

The awards, started in the United Kingdom 16 years ago, have just been extended to the Southern Hemisphere and Parihaka Reserve, owned and managed by Whangarei District Council, is among 14 Southern Hemisphere winners, on a par with major parks in Auckland, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Roturua, Hamilton, and Waitomo.

“This award is a real, tangible endorsement of Parihaka’s natural environment, a good management plan and all the efforts staff and contractors make to enhance the reserve’s natural features,” said Whangarei District Council Parks and Recreation Department Manager Paul McDonald.

“We are enormously pleased with this award. It’s great to hear we are doing things well, but the real reward is in knowing that visitors and residents are getting real joy out of this area every day.

“The award judged us against eight criteria. The Reserve needed to be a welcoming place, healthy, safe and secure, clean and well maintained. It needed to be sustainable, demonstrate conservation and heritage, community involvement, marketing and management.

“Our overall score was 74%. This is the first time this award has been offered in this part of the world, and the first time we have entered so I think that’s a great score, especially taking into account the reputations of those who won the award along side us.

“Anyone who spends time in the Reserve and the reserves around it – the Hatea Walkway, A. H. Reed Memorial Park, Whangarei Falls, will know how it manages to accommodate walkers, runners, picnickers, mountain bikers, in a tranquil and friendly way.”

Mr McDonald said the Green Flag Award directly contributes to the improvement of the quality of parks management across Australia and New Zealand to create public recognition of good quality green spaces.

“Parks that have the Green Flag Award are seen as high quality places to visit. Winning a Green Flag Award is a sign of prestige and excellence. The Green Flag Award program also offers professional development and networking opportunities to hosts and judges.

“Most of all I see it as a major step towards creating an international reputation for our District as a very beautiful place, where the people place great value on having a unique natural environment and making it easily accessible to everyone. This success combined with that of the Quarry Gardens, recently awarded “Garden of Significance" status by the New Zealand Gardens Trust, an offshoot of the New Zealand Institute of Horticulture, shows how that momentum is growing.”

# # #

Press Release

29 January 2013

Outstanding parks recognized with
international Green Flag Award

Twelve Australasian parks have received the international Green Flag Award, in the program’s inaugural year in Australia and New Zealand. Each of the parks were assessed against a number of criteria and received accolades for their standard of safety, welcoming facilities, excellent management of the environment and historical features, as well as being great places to play and recreate. They are also judged for their sustainability practices and overall standard of management.

Urban parks, gardens and nature reserves to receive the Green Flag Award are:
• Ambury Regional Park, Auckland Council, NZ
• Centennial Park, Centennial Park and Moore Trust, Sydney Aust.
• Fitzroy Gardens, City of Melbourne, Aust.
• Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton City Council, NZ
• Hyde Park, City of Sydney, Aust.
• Karangahake Gorge, Department of Conservation, NZ
• Kings Park and Botanic Garden, Parks and Gardens Authority, WA, Aust.
• Parihaka Scenic Reserve, Whangarei District Council, NZ
• Phillip Island Nature Parks, Aust.
• Timber Trail Pureora-Orangue, Department of Conservation, NZ
• Redwoods/Tokorangi, Rotorua District Council, NZ
• Tapapakanga Regional Park, Auckland Council, NZ

David Clarke, CEO of Parks Forum the Green Flag accreditation agency, congratulated each of the managing organisations on attaining the Green Flag Award. "Australia’s and New Zealand’s natural environment has a lot to do with what makes our countries special. Our parks provide a window to the natural environment, and in a highly urbanised society our parks are more important than ever. We know that healthy, well managed parks mean healthier communities and the Green Flag Award shows us which parks are setting the standard” he said.

“It is testimony to the great work our park organisations do, that our parks have been recognized formally on the world stage. Winning agencies can confidently promote their parks and reserves as the highest quality and providing a great experience for visitors. Local users, national and international tourists alike can be sure that they will be visiting an exceptional park,” he commented.

Janet Holmes a Court, renowned business woman and philanthropist is delighted that one of her own local parks Kings Park and Botanic Garden has gained the Green Flag Award. Their innovative natural play scape 'Rio Tinto Naturescape' was recognized for encouraging children and their parents to reconnect with nature. "As Patron of Parks Forum I am proud of the high standards of many of our parks and encourage you all to get outdoors and enjoy the many experiences on offer, either in your local park or as a visitor to our unique national parks or beautiful botanic gardens in Australia and New Zealand", she said.

Mr Clarke also urged people to take advantage of Australia and New Zealand’s parks and natural environment. “Our parks – both our urban parks and national parks and reserves - are for everyone, and in a world where we are spending more time than before in front of computer and television screens, it’s more important than ever to get out and experience the sights, sounds and smells of nature. There’s no better place to start than to visit a Green Flag Park”, he said.

About the Green Flag Award
The Green Flag Award was launched in England 16 years ago to reward the best parks and green spaces and today is proudly flown at over 1400 sites across the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany and now in the southern hemisphere. The criteria are assessed annually ensuring that parks maintain high standards.

The Award is administered in Australia and New Zealand by Parks Forum, the peak body for park management organisations, and overseen by a consortium of environmental and social charities in the UK, including Green Space and Keep Britain Tidy.

For more information, please visit :http://www.parksforum.org/cms/pages/Green-Flag-Award.html


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