In Tauranga, life’s a park

09 Dec 2022

Settled by Māori in the late 13th century and colonised by Europeans in the early 19th century, Tauranga has flourished over the years to become Aotearoa New Zealand’s fifth-largest city and host to the country’s busiest port.

Boasting a temperate climate and some of the highest sunshine hours, the greater Tauranga region is a very popular lifestyle and tourism destination, featuring many natural attractions and scenery ranging from popular beaches and harbour environments to lush, bush-clad mountains with waterfalls and lakes.

The region is also well served by its many parks: Memorial Park, historic Herries Park, Robbins Park, Yatton Park, and many others. Citycare Property’s open spaces maintenance team is tasked with ensuring many of the district’s parks are kept looking their best for the enjoyment of residents and visitors. 

Ship shape and (Tauranga) fashion

The Floral Steamer has been a fixture in Herries Park since 1938 and is the last remaining flower bed from when the park was incorporated.

Situated on The Strand, Herries Park was incorporated in the early 1930s and features several playgrounds, the well-known Hairy Maclary and Friends sculpture and its oldest-surviving feature — the floral steamer, a boat-shaped, multi-level garden bed. 

“The steamboat flower bed has been here since 1938 and is the last remaining flower bed from that time,” says Horticulture Team Leader, Mel Wards. “We've recently removed the winter annuals and have planted the bed out in summer annuals, including delphiniums, dahlias, salvias and alyssums. 

“All up there’s around 300-400 individual plants within the bed and over the next few months, these will fully flower and you'll be able to see the pattern and design laid out in different textures and colours.”  

A rose by any other name…

With 30 individual beds laid out in a formal pattern, the rose garden at Robbins Park is a visual and olfactory delight.

Established in the early 1960s, the rose garden in Robbins Park has become somewhat of an institution, with many locals reminiscing about spending time there as children. Comprising around 30 beds, each with a different rose variety, the garden has been laid out in a formal pattern with the beds radiating outwards from a central pond. 

“I've been taking care of the rose garden for a little over five years now, and while it requires a lot of work, I definitely enjoy it,” says Mel. “The winter pruning is complete, and the spring flush has begun so our next job is to feed the roses to encourage flowering throughout the season.=

“There's definitely a sense of ownership in caring for a garden such as this and you really take it on as your own, which makes it especially satisfying when members of the public come up to you and thank you for the work that you've put in.”

Covering an area of more than 17 acres, Tutarawānanga Yatton Park is considered a nationally significant arboretum, featuring a collection of exotic and native tree species, many of which were planted in 1866.

In all, the Citycare Property team manages more than 300ha of open spaces, including community gardens, across the district, carrying out scheduled and reactive maintenance to ensure these social infrastructure spaces remain spaces where communities gather, connect and share a sense of place and pride.