Te Mata Park has been awarded the coveted international Green Flag Community Award.
‘’We are absolutely delighted,’’ comments Mike Devonshire, Chairman of Te Mata Park Trust Board. ‘’This is a big accolade for the Park, and a true reflection of the sheer amount of volunteer hours that go in to maintaining this wonderful asset for our community.’’
The Green Flag Award is the international mark of a quality park or green space, judged by green space-expert volunteers, across eight criteria. These criteria include horticultural standards, cleanliness, sustainability, community involvement and providing a warm welcome.
Te Mata Park was assessed late last year, and was deemed to meet all the criteria, ticking all the right boxes for a well managed community Park.
‘’The Park is administered by a group of 7 volunteer Trustees, as well as a part time Caretaker and Manager. We have a clear governance structure and work closely with important stakeholders, including Hastings District Council, HB Regional Council and Mana Whenua. Receiving this Community Award is both gratifying, and pleasing, to know we are doing all the right things,’’ adds Mr. Devonshire.
Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst is delighted with the award. “Te Mata Park is our region’s most loved and visited attraction and is the first place visitors are taken when they come to Hawke’s Bay.”
“I am proud our Te Mata Park has received a top international accolade. Congratulations to the Board and all the volunteers who look after the park so well.”
In total this year, 21 parks in New Zealand have made the grade to be awarded a Green Flag, however only 2 Parks received the Community Award (the other being Randwick Park in Auckland).
Karl Nesbitt, Parks and Open Spaces Programme Manager of Recreation NZ is equally impressed by this achievement. ‘’We are really proud of the hard work that the team at Te Mata Park have put in to making this a reality.’’
The Green Flag Award scheme was launched in 1996 and is managed in England by Keep Britain Tidy. Over 1,700 Green Flags sites are now across the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Finland and the United Arab Emirates, as well as Australia and New Zealand.
Protected by an open space covenant under the QEII National Trust, and designated an ‘’Outstanding Natural Landscape’’ in the Hastings District Plan, Te Mata Park was gifted to the community in 1927. The land is owned by a private Trust and exists purely for the benefit and enjoyment of the general public.
“We know the significant contribution that public parks make to healthy lifestyles. If we want thriving communities, then we need to invest in public spaces and ensure that everyone, no matter where they live, has access to quality parks and green spaces that are fit for purpose,” adds Mr. Nesbitt.
Mr. Devonshire attributes the Award to the vision and commitment of all volunteers who have contributed to the Park, both now and in the past.
‘’People love Te Mata Park. As guardians of the land, it is our role to maintain it, but also enhance and improve, without taking away from the unique nature of the Park. The Trust Board is looking ahead to the next 100 years, and future generations. This international Green Flag Award confirms that we are heading down the right track.’’