Green Flag award hat trick for Horowhenua parks

Published on 10 December 2020

Holben Reserve.

Foxton Beach’s Holben / Te Wharangi Reserve has become the third Horowhenua park to win the prestigious international Green Flag award.

Green Flags were also awarded to Thompson House Gardens in Levin in 2018, and to Driscoll Reserve in Manakau in 2019. Both parks have had their Green Flag status renewed for 2021.

The Green Flag scheme is considered an international benchmark for good management of outdoor recreational spaces. The awards recognise and reward well-managed parks and green spaces, and aim to ensure everyone has access to good quality green spaces that meet the needs of the community.

Applicants for the Green Flag are judged against 27 criteria, and must demonstrate a good understanding of the park site and its users, as well as an active management plan. The award must be renewed annually to ensure the park continues to merit Green Flag status.

There are just 24 parks and open spaces in Aotearoa that have been awarded the Green Flag for 2021.

Council’s Property and Parks Manager Arthur Nelson said having three of the district’s parks recognised with a Green Flag was a credit to all those involved.

“We’re fortunate to have a dedicated team of community volunteers who work tirelessly alongside our staff and contractors to help maintain our parks. Their support played a key role in winning the Green Flags, and it’s very satisfying to see local people taking ownership of our green spaces. It shows our parks and reserves are valued by our community, and that people recognise how important green spaces are to quality of life, health and wellbeing.”

Mr Nelson said the third award would help to make Horowhenua an attractive destination to live, work and play.

“Holben Reserve is one of our most popular reserves and is a focus for the Foxton Beach community. It’s well used by locals and attracts visitors from across and outside the district,” he said.

The 12-hectare reserve offers a wide variety of recreational opportunities, including an award-winning pump track, tennis courts, a skateboard rink, a playground, a pavilion, and walking pathways within the reserve and connecting to the wider area. It combines open lawns, ponds, and wooded areas.

A concept plan created with partners and key community stakeholders for the future development of the reserve was finalised in November. Key aspects of the plan include: developing a wetland area; improving native biodiversity and habitat value; celebrating the kaupapa and kaitiakitanga status of mana whenua; enhancing opportunities for play, recreation and learning; and improving access.

A flagpole will be erected in Holben / Te Wharangi Reserve to fly the flag.

The Green Flags scheme is administered for the UK Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government by UK-based environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy, which sub-licences it to the New Zealand Recreation Association in this country.

Visit the Green Flag website for more information about the award. For more information about Holben / Te Wharangi Reserve, visit the Parks and Reserves page.