Parks Week is an annual event encouraging people to get out and explore our parks and green spaces.
We have more than 200 parks across our great river city. They include unique landscapes like the Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park, Hamilton East heritage cemetery and Taitua Arboretum (just outside the city boundary), plus neighbourhood parks, destination parks with modern playgrounds, and a variety of sports parts like our newly developed baseball diamond at Mahoe Park.
Parks Week 2020 gives us the chance to showcase some of these gems. Here's a taste of five of our fantastic parks:
AJ Seeley Gully Reserve
The AJ Seeley Gully Reserve in Hamilton East was gifted to the people of Hamilton by nose, ear and throat surgeon Dr Alwyn Seeley. The 2.5ha gully was completely bare when Dr Seeley began planting in the 1960s. Now its walkways are lined with mature groves of kahikatea, rimu, kanuka, mahoe, nikau palms and tree ferns. The best access to the park is from Armagh St. An active community group, The Seeley Gully Trust, along with other volunteers, school groups and Council staff, care for the Reserve. Our Community Planting Coordinator meets Trust volunteers at the Armagh St entrance every Monday morning at 9.30am and new faces are always welcome.
Korikori Park in Rototuna is Hamilton's newest sports park with two cricket pitches, five football fields, exercise equipment and a walking track over its 12ha. Korikori means 'wiggle' and the name links to the days when the area was surrounded by wetlands populated by native tuna. There should be less wetland now we have extensive drainage in place to ensure sports can be played all year round. The next stage in Korikori's development is the construction of toilets and changing rooms.
Melville Park is a busy sports park on the edge of the city. It is home to the Hamilton Dog Obedience Club, Waikato Agility Group, Hamilton Roller Skating Club and the historic Melville Skate Bowl. The Melville bowl is 40 years old and has featured in many skate magazines. Legendary skater Tony Hawk skated it in the late 1980s. The skate park has recently been upgraded so watch our Facebook page for your invitation to the opening party in early April 2020. The upgrade includes a new full-sized basketball court.
West Town Belt
The West Town Belt is a 54-hectare swathe of green space framing the western edge of central Hamilton. It extends for three kilometres from Hamilton Girls' High School in the south to Edgecumbe Park in Whitiora, connecting the Hamilton Lake Domain to the Waikato River. It includes nine parks, the historic Hamilton West Cemetery, Seddon Park cricket ground and FMG Stadium Waikato. The area has been recognised as a recreational reserve since the 1860s. In September 2019, we adopted a masterplan for the West Town Belt to guide its use and development over the next 30 years, including improving the quality of the park spaces and increasing public access.
See the West Town Belt masterplan
Tills Lookout is a park reserve in Dinsdale with stunning panoramic views of the city and surrounds including Mt Pirongia. It is a designated off-lead dog exercise space with lots of room to run. Access to the Lookout is from Melva St or Amanda Ave and there's a walking track through the park that extends as far as Taitua Arboretum. This makes it a great destination for longer distance walkers and runners. Tills Lookout is surrounded by native bush, which attracts plenty of bird life and makes it the perfect spot to soak up nature in the city.
We love our parks and you regularly tell us you do too. Here's what you said in the 2019 Parks Survey. We run this every year and the next one's coming up soon so make sure you have your say.
See the 2019 Parks Survey results
About our park network
We've set a target of 80% of Hamilton households having access to a park or open space within 500 metres of their home. At 76% so far, we're well on track. Another goal is to make sure our parks are suitable for all sorts of play: organised sports and playground-based but also pop-up play.
Our City Parks and Parks and Open Spaces staff are passionate about the work they do managing our green spaces.
- Council is responsible for 1,142 hectares of open space and more than 70 kilometres of path.
- Managed and maintained by more than 110 Council staff.
- Volunteers contribute more than 13,000 hours of labour to community planting activities every year.
- Our 45 sports parks include 32 cricket pitches and 21 netball courts.
- We manage 19 different jetties along the banks of the Waikato River.
- We manage over 73,000 trees
Throughout the year, our staff work alongside community groups to develop and enhance our city's parks.
We have a part-time staff member dedicated to community planting and a range of related activities and initiatives you can participate in. Click here to visit our Community Planting page and find out how you can make a difference.
Our annual Arbor Day at Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park is the perfect opportunity to get your gumboots on and help. Planted properly a tree will last 500 years so a few hours of effort makes a major contribution. Watch Facebook and Our Hamilton for more information on Arbor Day 2020 on Friday 29 May.
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