2 October 2018
Whanganui’s Queen’s Park will now be known as Pukenamu Queen’s Park.
This was one of a number of significant changes adopted by Whanganui District Council after considering submissions on the Pukenamu Queen’s Park Reserve Management Plan, the reserve’s name and its purpose.
Mayor Hamish McDouall says the quality and depth of the submissions had a big influence on the final plan.
“The plan was altered because of those submissions – it was democracy at work and the result of a collaborative process which included important stakeholders and the community. It is very evident that the future of this reserve means a lot to the whole community.”
Fifty-four submissions were received following public consultation on the draft plan. Submissions closed on 25 May with submitters heard in July. The Statutory Management Committee met on Tuesday, 25 September to deliberate on the 54 submissions.
Resource Management Planner Carolyn McIntyre says the Reserve Management Plan will guide the management of the reserve for the next ten years and provides an outline of the Council’s intentions for the reserve.
She says, “It recognises that this is one of the Council’s ‘Premier Parks’ and is historically and culturally important. The plan is intended to protect the archaeological landscape and historic features, raise awareness of cultural and heritage values and encourage collaboration with key stakeholders, including mana whenua.”
An important decision was including the Māori name, Pukenamu, in the reserve’s title. This acknowledges the cultural history of the site. Pukenamu was the name originally given to the reserve by Māori. It was known to Māori as 'sandfly hill'.
Other changes include the reserve’s classification under the Reserves Act. The committee agreed to change the reserve’s purpose from ‘local purpose (site for municipal buildings)’ to ‘local purpose (culture and heritage)’ to more closely reflect its use.
A section titled ‘Reserve of Significance’ was included after submitters expressed their views at the hearing that the reserve is a significant place in Whanganui and deserves greater status.
The theme for the reserve has been changed from the ‘Whanganui Story’ to the ‘Pukenamu Story’. This makes it more focused on the reserve itself and acknowledges its rich and diverse history.
Mayor McDouall said Council officers had done a great job and developed a very good plan.
He says, “Acknowledging that it is a ‘Reserve of Significance’ reflects the outstanding nature of Pukenamu Queen’s Park from a local and national perspective. It was once the site of a Māori Pā, and later the Rutland Stockade and soldiers’ settlement.
“It is also home to a number of significant heritage buildings, including the Sarjeant Gallery and War Memorial Centre. When you consider the proximity of these to the Whanganui Regional Museum and civic buildings such as the Alexander Heritage and Research Library, this area forms a concentration of cultural richness that is unparalleled in any other regional centre.”
The final plan will be available on the Council’s website by late October. There is still an official requirement to have the name change and purpose of the reserve published in the New Zealand Gazette.