Embrace Autumn in Waimakariri's Parks & Reserves

Autumn has arrived in Waimakariri, painting our landscapes with vibrant hues and crisp air. It's the perfect time to embrace the changing season with a stroll through our beautiful parks and reserves. This month's newsletter is packed with news about our green spaces, from hidden gems to exciting projects!

Explore Waimakariri's Hidden Gems

Did you know Waimakariri boasts over 300 parks and reserves waiting to be explored?
From playgrounds and sports fields to tranquil gardens and scenic walks, there's something for everyone.

Discover your new favourite spot

Education Shelter to help Food Forest Blossom

A new outdoor shelter for the Kaiapoi Food Forest has been given the green thumb by District Councillors at their February meeting.

The shelter, which will include an open undercover area along with a secure storage area and wharepaku (toilet), will allow more education groups and events to be held at the Food Forest.

The Kaiapoi Food Forest Trust maintains the edible landscape which forms part of the Eastern section of the Kaiapoi Regeneration Area.

Trust Chairman Gordyn Hamblyn says being able to move forward with the shelter marks an exciting next step for the Food Forest.

“Having a permanent structure onsite will support our operations and means we can offer workshops and education programmes to a wider audience and for longer into the cooler months of the year,” says Mr Hamblyn.

“We have a vision to connect, nourish, educate, inspire, and Rongoa, and having this dedicated facility will help us to bring that vision to life.”

The Trust is fundraising to cover the cost of construction and once complete the shelter will be owned and maintained by the Trust and their small team of dedicated volunteers.

“Educating our community, especially our young people, about mahinga kai, sustainability and our natural biodiversity means that knowledge and those traditions will continue to live on.”

Community Development and Wellbeing Portfolio Holder and Food Forest Trustee, Cr Brent Cairns says the addition of a weather-proof outdoor facility means the Food Forest can continue growing into a valuable community asset.

“The Food Forest has had such an important role in bringing the Kaiapoi community together post-quake and the Council took a lot of joy in endorsing the construction of what will prove to be an invaluable resource,” says Cr Cairns.

“The Kaiapoi Food Forest Trust and its volunteers have been working tirelessly since 2017 to grow the use of the Food Forest and particularly in the past five years, have had great success with visits from preschools, schools, and other groups.

“We are all eaters, but we’re not all producers. The Trust play an important role in educating our local community about food and food production and this shelter will ensure they never have to worry about the weather again when delivering programs.”

In March 2022, the Kaiapoi Tuahiwi Community Board approved a shelter at the Kaiapoi Food Forest. Once funding is in place, Council staff will work with the Food Forest Trust on the final design to be presented to the Community Board.

In the meantime, the Trust is beginning to seek expressions of interest from local volunteers and businesses for the supply and provision of various construction services including building, plumbing, electrical, painting and more. If you’re able to help, please contact the Trust at project@kai.net.nz.

Bland to Beautiful: Gardener honoured for transformation of council reserve

jane's garden

Creating a gardener’s oasis on a council reserve has seen Kaiapoi resident Jane Hughes awarded the overall prize for best garden in All Together Kaiapoi’s ‘Kaiapoi Garden Competition.’

Jane described her name being read out as one of the “most wonderful moments of her life.”

She said it was an honour to have her passion for gardening and her many hours of dedication being acknowledged by her town.

“I really do love my garden and I just feel very lucky that Council has allowed me to plant it out and treat it as if it were my own garden.”

Jane and her husband Ted moved to their home in Tuhoe Ave, Beachgrove about seven years ago. When Jane first saw the property she had a few reservations - she didn’t like the minimalist landscaping of the reserve.

But they decided to purchase and once settled in, Jane made plans to transform the reserve.

All the plants and trees she planted were done at her own expense.

She is a big fan of alstroemerias, her daughter Hilary is a florist and has helped her source some rather rare and unusual ones from the North Island. Jane also loves lilies and one of her greatest pleasures is to gift her neighbours Christmas lilies when the reserve garden is in full bloom.

jane's garden Jane was raised in Kaiapoi, her family the Moores, farmed in Kaiapoi in the area that is now the Moorcroft development.

The brass rod from the family coal range is even part of her garden – she uses it as a stake to help her new plantings take root.

Jane’s daughter Kate and her grandson Ashton attended the awards ceremony as did a number of her friends who came back and celebrated with a glass of wine after the awards.

“They were all so excited and they all enjoy the garden as well. It really capped off what was already a lovely night.”

Jane says her three daughters are all proud of their mum and she knows her late husband Ted, who passed away last year, would have been proud as well.

“He used to moan about me spending so much on the garden, but he would still always suggest that we go and have a look at plants at Terra Viva or go for a drive to Querky Style at Cust for a look at the plants and a spot of lunch. He knew how much the garden meant to me.”

Jane says she is close to all her neighbours, and they all enjoy the transformation of the reserve. Her brother Thomas has sanded and stained all the seating and she said not once has anyone ever vandalised the garden.

“They’ve never so much as pulled out a plant or touched the hose.”

Waimakariri District Council Greenspace Manager Grant MacLeod is delighted at how well Jane has looked after the reserve.

“It has been fabulous to see the care and attention that Jane has paid to the reserve. She has certainly brought a vibrancy to not only the reserve but the local community. She put in all the hard work at the beginning and that has continued in her tireless maintenance of the garden. It is very evident that she has a lot of pride in her garden and her community.”

Waimakariri District Councillor and All Together Kaiapoi member Brent Cairns says Jane is an inspiration to those around her.

“Whenever you call in to see Jane you will more often than not find her in the garden - trimming edges or weeding. We are so fortunate to have someone like her who cares about the quality of our reserves. It was a pleasure to be able to acknowledge all the hard work she has done and award her the supreme award in the Kaiapoi Garden Competition.

“The judges all agreed, Jane’s garden is spectacular.”

Meet our Staff

Grant - Design and Planning Team Leader

Tell us a bit about what you do?
I am the Greenspace Design and Planning Team Leader. Put simply, the role of our team is to design and deliver public spaces that meet the needs of our communities. This includes places such as reserves and play spaces through to civic areas such as town squares or the laneways in Rangiora. We also work with developers to ensure that new developments are also meeting the expected levels of service required by these new communities. As the Team Leader, my role includes both technical design work as well as ensuring that my team have the support and tools to deliver the numerous projects that they are working on.

How long have you worked at Waimakariri District Council?
I started work at the Waimakariri District Council in February 2016 so have been in the Greenspace Team for eight years.

How did you get into your job?
I studied at Lincoln University where I gained a Masters in Landscape Architecture and following this spent a few years building a successful residential landscape design company in Christchurch. While I really enjoyed this challenge, it felt like it was missing something. When a landscape architect role came up at the Council, I jumped at the opportunity to take on a role where my designs could have a positive impact on the wider community and have never looked back.

What things do you like the most about your job?
The thing I like most about my job is seeing people using and enjoying a space that I have worked with them to create. I often get to see the whole end to end process of a project from engagement right through to delivery. This often starts with talking to school students and the community about their ideas, goes through a rigorous design and engagement process before sign off by our Community Boards and finally is tendered and built ready for the community to use. Seeing those same students and members of the community enjoying a space that we had previously sat down and brainstormed with to design is pretty special.

Do you have a cool story you want to share?
I love it when communities get excited and involved in a project. One of the projects I had the privilege to work on was the redevelopment of the play space at Ohoka Domain. This domain has a strong advisory group which is made up of passionate members of the Ohoka Community and I had the opportunity to work closely with them to develop the master plan for this domain. This plan included a play space re-development but also worked to link the domain with the wider Ohoka Bush area which is a fantastic native bush area planted and tended by many within the advisory group and Ohoka community. At the time, the community expressed a desire for a flying fox but unfortunately there was not sufficient budget available to include it within the project. We did however include it within the master plan as a future project requiring community funding, along with a space for the future relocation of the Ohoka Gate Keepers Lodge. Over the course of the last five years, led by the Ohoka Domain Advisory Group and Ohoka Residents Association, the Ohoka community have successfully funded and installed a side by side flying fox in the location planned and the Ohoka Gate Keepers Lodge is looking amazing in its new spot. Seeing this space develop into what it is now, and the community take such an ownership over a project was really special and it is one of my favourite reserves in the district – well worth a visit!

Townsend Road Reserve Playground

We're thrilled to announce that the brand new playground at Townsend Road Reserve is nearing completion!

Since construction began in December, our contractors have been busy transforming the space. Here's what you can look forward to:

  • Whimsical play equipment: A swing set, spinner, rockers, and more will keep young imaginations running wild.
  • Thrilling adventures: Zoom down the double slide, soar through the air on the flying fox, and explore the exciting earth mound.
  • Relaxing space for families: Enjoy comfortable seating and tables while the kids play.

The finishing touches are currently underway, including footpath completion, light installation in the toilet building, and a final site tidy-up. We'll be planting vegetation in April to beautify the space. Planting of trees will take place later in the year as the cooler weather arrives, ensuring they can establish themselves properly.

The official opening of the Townsend Road Reserve Playground is expected for the end of March. We can't wait to see you there!

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Good Street Beats

In 2023 Council unveiled the new look Good Street which included a fantastic stage.

As a  way of showcasing this great new facility which is available to hire for busker performances, solo acts, and so much more Council created - Good Street Beats.

Good Street Beats started off as a music programme but included a range of acts including a comedian!

More than 15 acts took part in the series which ran from December through to February.

Due to the success of the event, planning is already underway to bring Good Street Beats back again for second year

We hope to attract a range of artists and genres  to entertain you so keep an eye on our website and social media later this year for more performance details and how to apply.

If you would like to hire the Good Street Stage for performances throughout the year all the details on how to do so are on the Council Website in the Good Street Hire Guide.

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