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Town Centre Evolves - New Children’s Garden

Media Release 8 December 2008

Town Centre Concept Evolves As New Children’s Gardens Open At Botany Town Centre

An eco-friendly marriage of retail and the environment was celebrated this month at Botany Town Centre, with the unveiling of a new Children’s Gardens and play area in the heart of the centre.

Part of a series of improvements to the centre, which is managed by AMP Capital Shopping Centres, the creation of a fun, flora-filled destination for visiting families represents part of a $3.5 million investment in overall upgrades.

Senior Centre Manager Jennifer Manning said the Children’s Gardens and play area enhanced the centre’s indoor-outdoor flow, and that the team was pleased to have opened the area at the start of summer. “There’s a lot more greenery and activities that will appeal to families. It gives children somewhere to run around and, in the middle of a busy city, it’s a green, spacious place for people to spend time outdoors with loved ones.”

“We appreciate that people come to shopping centres to relax and socialize as well as shop. The role of the shopping centre has changed quite a lot in that regard. The town centre concept was very innovative when it was first established, and this was the next step in its evolution as a meeting place as well as a shopping centre.”

The improvement involved the re-landscaping of the gardens and the covering of three walkways, and the integration of both with a Kiwi-themed children’s play area that evokes mythology and story books. The construction revitalizes a central but previously underutilized part of the town centre.

The play area design includes a ‘little earth’ (a take on Middle Earth with Hobbit House , giant toadstools chairs and rock formations leading into other areas), a giant Lizards and Ladders game with spinning wheel as a dice, and a fun maze. All components of the design have a distinctively New Zealand feel with native plants, the use of lizards instead of snakes, and the koru design of the maze.

The lead designer on the project, Mark Read of Natural Habitats, said, “It’s distinctly different from most playgrounds – it’s stimulating and makes children curious and draws them in. In particular, they find the real-life hobbit house with smoke billowing from the chimney really mesmerizing.”

In a nod to the centre’s family focus, the gardens include a permanent feature, The Plunket Reflecting Pool, commemorating the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society and its long-time relationship with Botany Town Centre. Howick Plunket President Sally Sumner said the Children’s Gardens are a great meeting place and rest-stop for families visiting the centre. “It’s a place to take children that is both exciting and safe, and we are grateful to have the dedication in Plunket’s name.”

The new gardens and play area were officially launched by Pansy Wong, the MP for Botany, on Friday 5 December 2008.


About Botany Town Centre

Situated approximately 19km southeast of Auckland, Botany Town Centre is one of New Zealand’s largest retail developments, with 169 specialty stores. Its retailers range from Dick Smith Electronics to Rebel Sports and a full complement of banks, fashion stores, and New Zealand’s most popular café and restaurant chains. The centre includes one of Auckland’s largest Farmers stores and a New World supermarket. The centre provides diverse entertainment choices from the Circle Lounge at Berkeley Cinema to the award-winning Cock and Bull pub. In addition to its retail offering, Botany Town Centre is a community hub for other services including the Botany Library, the Community Constable, and a variety of medical and health providers.

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