District celebrates international award for Parihaka Scenic Reserve, WDC, Feb 4, 2013
Posted 05/02/2013 by taniarobson
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.”
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.