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Landscape architects and protecting NZ values

Landscape architects have role to play in protecting NZ values

New Zealand is facing major landscape concerns which need to be carefully managed, New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects president Di Lucas said today. The burgeoning real estate market was impinging on historically natural beach and lakeside sites, Ms Lucas said.

``We’ve got a property boom that is resulting in encroachment on all sorts of special landscapes. Our coastal and lakeshore landscapes are undergoing huge threat with subdivisions for residential and lifestyle use.

``We also have a big issue arising with freeholding of high country land. We are facing major changes to iconic landscapes.

``Changes can be exciting but we nee to nurture and protect our values. New Zealand is special and distinct from anywhere else in the world. But many beaches are under threat all over the country.

``We have a huge responsibility as a profession. Our code of ethics is to ensure NZ’s special values are protected as any landscape change takes place.’’

Speaking at the New Zealand landscape architect awards in Christchurch tonight, Ms Lucas said the Taranaki Wharf and Oriental Bay projects in Wellington were wonderful examples of nurturing the landscapes. Taranaki Wharf and Oriental Parade and a private Avon River garden in Christchurch were the supreme winners at the New Zealand Pride of Place landscape awards tonight. The Isthmus Group in partnership with Architecture Workshop and Tonkin and Taylor triumphed for their Oriental Bay project.

Isthmus spokesman David Irwin said Oriental Bay was eroding when they inherited the project.

``There was rubble at the Freyberg Pool end and only a tiny piece of dry sand at the top of the beach at high tide. The beach was disappearing into the harbour.

``Oriental Bay is a popular place for everyone to be and thousands of people promenade there on a nice day. The council described it as one of Wellington’s jewels. The beach is now three times bigger.’’ Megan Wraight Ltd in partnership with Athfield Architects received honours for their Taranaki Wharf project.

“The Taranaki Wharf project fits perfectly into the tough wind-blown Wellington working waterfront,’’ the judges said.

``Bold moves were made to remove reclamation material and reform levels and the shape of the shoreline. The popular waterfront concourse now satisfies people on all levels.”

Ms Wraight said tonight Taranaki Wharf was a ``well-loved public and rejuvenated environment’’ that Wellingtonians headed for on a good day. ``This developed area is a far larger public environment than other waterfronts because it is very public, it is associated with the Civic Square, and has moved the city across to the harbour.

``This is just the first part in a series of further collaborative work we are involved with. We have just put the 6ha Waitangi Park out for tender,’’ Ms Wraight said.

The (garden) Landscape of the Year was awarded to Chris Goom Landscape Architects and Designers for a private Avon River garden in Christchurch.

A record 110 projects entered the awards. Nominees from the two major landscape industries in the country – NZILA (New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects) and LIANZ (Landscape Industries Association of New Zealand) are called for every two years.

Copyright 2004 Word of Mouth Media NZ

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