Category Archives: Riverside Park

Getting Down and Dirty in the Riverside Park

Another of Puhoi’s communal tree-planting working bees, for the riverside walkway, still in developmental mode, brought out enough residents to put 500 small native trees, shrubs and grasses in the ground on Sunday, July 8.

Rodney Local Board chairwoman Beth Houlbrooke helping out at Puhoi’s riverside walkway, for the day.

Recent new Puhoi resident Luke Krieg, keen to get those little trees in the ground and growing.

Spoilt for Choice: Volunteering Opportunities This Weekend

Opportunity 1 – Saturday, Track Maintenance

After a magnificent weekend of community effort last week, we managed to gravel about two thirds of our wonderful lookout track . Over last few years parts of the track have suffered a bit under heavy use (particularly from extra traffic from the trail) and rain has eroded the surface. We are applying a topping of gravel (3m3 kindly donated by JK Contracting) to it and fixing up some of the steps.

In case you’re new to the village, the track rises through the tree, starting next to the toilets in the domain car park over the bridge. It is a beautiful, invigorating walk/run/puff up through verdant dappled bush to meet up with the ridge track. It is now part of the Te Araroa Trail, but was built several years ago completely by village volunteer effort – no small feat as it comprises 120-odd steps. As part of the River Park, it is owned and maintained by the community (not Auckland Council or the Local Board) . We can be proud of our park and the work we put into its upkeep.

This Saturday we’ll have another working bee to apply the rest of the gravel to the steps – not much to finish, but the remaining work is at the top so requires quite a bit of effort to get the material up there. We’ve been unable to use machinery to get the gravel up there as the paddocks are so wet and muddy, but waiting for drier weather would leave the track open to further deterioration.

If you can spare an hour or so, and don’t mind taking a bucket of gravel with you while enjoying a bit of exercise in the fresh air, please come along and give us a hand. We’ll be working from 10am onwards.

Opportunity 2 – Sunday. Planting

Again in the our River Park, we are planting natives along the River Bank. Please come along and between 8:00 and 12:00, bring a spade , smile (& possibly, a raincoat) and help us make the park even more beautiful, it belongs to us all in Puhoi!



Massive thanks to everyone who helped with the River Park steps this morning, we’ve really done amazing work – they look fantastic. I reckon we’re about 2/3 up now (bearing in mind that the 2nd 3rd was twice the lugging work of the first;-). So a another third to go – unfortunately the 3rd that really needs it the most;-) I’ll try and do some during the week, but that’s just one man rather than the awesome power the chain gang – so if anyone’s around during the week and fancies a bit of a workout, let me know!

The weather looks bad for next weekend at the moment, and there’s planting working bee planned for Sunday so maybe another bash on Saturday 7th weather permitting?

Park Survey Results So Far

A list of responses so far below. We’ll leave the questionnaire open for a while to gather more bright ideas…

Add a little bike pump track in conjunction with the horse area.  So the kids have somewhere safe to ride their bikes which isn’t completely flat like the car park and tennis courts.  Maybe updating the current playground area with new things to play on.

Community garden where the sale yards are, using them as the frame for the gardens and paths in between.

Drain area where horse jumps are to make it useable all round for various sports

Focus on environmental enhancement projects like the wetland

Avoid more built structures to maintain naturalness

Focus on looking after our existing heritage buildings instead of time effort money on building replica’s

Keep the park as a park but proving for the people that live in Puhoi as a whole.

Community gardens/orchard

Community pool

More walking tracks

Music in the Park area

Wetland. Re invigorating the existing wetland area

Community gardens and orchard/ wetlands

Wetlands if left will come away on their own. further native planting of small areas, where needed, but leaving wide open spaces.

NO buildings for tourist ventures such as the ‘little village project’ – this must not be let to go ahead with so many people apposing it, at the information day –  I would like the forum to reject this project on PUBLIC LAND on behalf of the community.

Community orchard sounds nice, and a link to the Te Araroa trail is a good idea.

I think we should leave the horse riding alone, or there will be horse riders from all areas and floats filling up the area – at the moment it is nice as it is (Do too much and OHS and everyone will want a bite of the apple).

A&P shed is not suitable for scouts or other, it is just an old shed with a earth floor, no power or toilet etc etc … we have the Puhoi Sports Club, and the Hall that are perfect and are for community use, I have watched this club go from a ground floor concrete building used for Rugby to the amazing multi use building and sports field it is now.

Music in the park would be great, but I don’t think we need an ‘area’ made for it, these things are mobile now – though an event would be great!

The park as a memorial – I would like to see info spots like the one in the link below, touching on our historical past, using photos of old puhoi, the logging, the river etc … Keep the place simple and natural is the most important thing.

I would like us to leave the park alone, in terms of buildings and structures. I think that any green spaces we have should be protected, especially given the pace of development/urbanisation coming to the surrounding area. With a larger population, both here and nearby, it’s even more important to have quiet, green spaces for people to be able to get outside and relax and exercise. If there are people with time and enthusiasm to complete a project I would rather their efforts went towards planting, weeding etc to continue the good work of those that planted along the riverbank and did weeding working bees and made the steps.

I like the idea of opening up the next section of walk by the river to walkers and their dogs and I like the idea of continuing on with the tracks to make a ‘loop’ walk.

I would like the rotunda area left as it is so that people can use it for musical events, plays, performances, recitals, picnics, get-togethers etc. I would not want to see a large part of it concreted/graveled over for buses and parking. As we know, as soon as there’s an area there for school buses other buses, coaches, and cars will use it all the time. My main worry with the park is that as soon as one structure, building or concrete area is allowed it will open the floodgates to more and a precedent has then already been set. We have been left an absolute treasure and we should protect it.

Acknowledge the original settlers of this land the Maori with some structures/buildings then the Bohemians and then include what Puhoi is today a multi-culture community village or perhaps soon a mini city with all of the new housing development planned.

Leave park as it is

I am in favour of a Museum on the Park and a blacksmiths shop. But no other development. The only other viable alternative I can see is build on Church land?

I have spent an hour or so reading the recent survey results. One thing that is patently obvious is that our residents value the rural undeveloped character of our Puhoi above all else. Another thing is that they do not value the Bohemian history very much, if at all.
Since Larry’s proposal was overwhelmingly defeated and the Puhoi Museum is in an impossible situation (the Church want them out of the Convent and they haven’t got enough room in the Convent anyhow), can I suggest a posible solution.
Why not shift the Puhoi Bohemian Museum to Walkworth? They have room for another building.Can I suggest a survey on the historical character of our village?

Turn the old A&P stock yards into a shade-house to grow native seedlings for replanting in the park. It wouldn’t need a lot to set up. A simple shade cover over it and the tops of the pens could become benches for plants. It would be a great little community activity growing trees from seeds – very accessible for most ages and abilities.

Utilize the facilities to reflect on the heritage of the village and to provide some areas for all of the community to be proud of. There is sufficient area for all to enjoy and how long before the horses are banned due to the housing influx over the next 10-15 years. The prospect of having a few buildings as per the sketch plan provided by the PLHVP is worth considering.

A track where you can walk the dog.

On the one hand I am totally against rampant development in Puhoi but on the other hand I was disappointed by the recent Puhoi River Park Survey results rejecting the proposed Puhoi Heritage Village (which included a new Bohemian Museum) being built in the River Park. Our Museum needs room to grow and the Puhoi River Park could provide room for growth. We could easily support a modern museum in Puhoi the size of the Warkworth Museum. The question is where will the Puhoi Museum go now if it is to grow? For example, could the proposed Heritage Village be located by the Puhoi Cheese Factory and a visitor hub be created there? Unfortunately, I imagine that to be viable it would need to be built on council land and the only council land I know of in Puhoi is the River Park. Personally I would like to see BOTH Puhoi’s unique Bohemian history and it’s charming rural nature preserved. Is that too much to ask?

River Park Use Survey

Sarah Churchouse has kindly donated the results of the independent survey she circulated on our use and aspirations for the Puhoi River Park. The survey received a large number of responses (125). Here are the summarized results and the full (anonymized) replies.

The survey by Puhoi Community Forum looking asking for ideas for small, locally resourced projects for the park  is still open. Please take the time to respond to this to help prioritise our community efforts.



River Park Project Suggestions

The Puhoi Community Forum will be working with Auckland Council to review the River Park management plan over the next few months. They’d like to canvas some suggestions on projects that the community might like to do in the park over the next few years.

For the best chance of success, these would be small projects, within the scope of community effort and funding, rather than requiring financial input from the Council/Local Board



Some suggestions from a quick brainstorm at the last forum are listed below – please note that these are by no means definite – just to get you thinking

  1. Scouts/Playgroup building. Perhaps using/rebuilding the A&P show shed on the sports field
  2. More walking tracks. To link up with Te Araroa trail etc
  3. Wetland. Re invigorating the existing wetland area
  4. Puhoi Little Village
  5. Horses/Riding – more jumps (as at present) and a further area for riding be drained with sand and flattened off. Such an area could possibly also be used as a sports area.
  6. Music in the Park area.
  7. Mountain bike/informal BMX tracks area to help get the kids of the roads.
  8. Community gardens/orchard  this was a popular suggestion at the workshops last year

Little Village Project in Riverside Park: Council Response

[from Jeff Lyford, Parks and Places Specialist , Auckland Council, Orewa]

Posting this response from Auckland Council as it has had a wide circulation already in the village, FYI to the community. Please note Little Village information day on Sunday 12th March 11:30am-2:00pm. Do go along and air your views to the team – Ed.

Hi All,

Thanks to everyone who has provided input of feedback over the last couple of weeks. Council Staff are conscious that this has the potential to be a great project, but before any decisions are reached there is a process to undertake. I have broken it into several stages in an attempt to provide clarity.

  1. To obtain landowner approval from the Rodney Local Board for the placement of a building on a Recreation Reserve such as Puhoi Pioneers  Memorial Park, you must show clearly documented support from the wider community and user groups for what you are proposing to do.

      What this means in practice, is that you must show that a substantial majority of the local community either support the proposal or at the very least do not oppose it. We would expect that people are:

  1. a)   given the opportunity to listen to information and discuss the matter in an open community forum, such as the one scheduled on 12 March and
  2. b)   also provided with the opportunity express their views anonymously, e.g., via a simple survey monkey.

      Changes to the status quo on Recreation Reserves require a high standard of community consultation.

  1. A Community Lease is required to site a building on a Reserve. A lease passes the responsibility for the ‘improvements’ to the applicant within the terms of the lease.

      In this instance, a lease for the proposed purpose is not explicitly contemplated in the Reserve Management Plan; this makes the leasing process more complex. The attached Community Occupancy Guidelines set the process.

  1. a)   The group needs to be registered as an incorporated society or charitable trust as set out in the Auckland Council Community Occupancy Guidelines 2012 (AC COG 2012)(attached).
  2. b)   The group needs to have a business plan and a strategic plan or be prepared to work on plans detailing its proposal.
  3. c)   The group needs to have initial concept plans for its proposal.
  4. d)   Council Staff would workshop the proposal with the local board, staff may be required to recommend to the local board that a expressions of interest process be undertaken (page 10, AC COG 2012).
  5. e)   Subject to above steps have being met satisfactorily, then Staff would report to the local board recommending approval be given to Council to publicly notify and engage with iwi about the proposal.  If there are any submissions received that object to the proposal a hearing would be held made up with an appointed panel and Commissioner. This could be an independent panel or consist of local board members.


  1. Landowner Approval, is the final approval from the Local Board,
  2. a)   Subject to the process above and the EOI and Public/Iwi notification process, the Land Use Advisor and The Community Lease Advisor jointly report to the local board, recommending that landowner approval, agreement to lease and a community lease for the proposal are approved.
  3. b)   This process does not preclude the applicants responsibility to apply for all regulatory consents that may be required to undertake the project (e.g., building and resource consents).

Any questions on the community engagement please speak with Sue Dodds. Sue will be attending the public meet on the March 12 and will act as the conduit between the project group and Council.

The lease process is a legal agreement; Karen Walby can clarify the details and answer any questions.

I hope this explains the decision making process and gives a good steer to Larry and the rest of the project team on their next steps. Hopefully this has also provided some surety to the wider community that a robust process of community and Local Board engagement is required before any decisions are reached.




Jeff Lyford| Parks and Places Specialist | Park Services

Ph 09 301 0101| Extn: (44)3168 | Mobile 021 581 501| Fax 09 301 0100

Auckland Council, Level 2, Orewa Service Centre, 50 Centreway Drive, Orewa

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