Pukenamu Queens Park Whanganui

Date: 2001-

Location: Whanganui

Client: Whanganui District Council

Project status: Unbuilt

Design: Richard Reid and Dr Des Kahotea



We approached Whanganui District Council with a landscape proposal that redressed physical and cultural shortcomings in the most important park in the city.


Queens Park is situated in the urban centre of Whanganui, on high ground overlooking the city, the Whanganui River and Mount Ruapehu. Historically its life has evolved from prehistoric inland sand dune, Maori defended settlement and colonial military fort to its current status as recreational reserve. The park contains Whanganui’s most prized civic buildings, monuments and public space.


However, like many places in New Zealand, Maori’s significant relationship with the site is not well understood or represented. For local Maori, it has tapu associated with its past use as a Pa, and its context is that of a much wider, more complex and very long settlement of the region.


Our design provided a balanced consideration of the 1992 Management Plan. A bicultural theme was developed which was sensitive to and appreciative of Maori and Pakeha’s different worldviews. The design also strengthened the park’s visual unity and better defines its interface with the city. It also promotes the park’s potential role as a gateway to the Whanganui River environs.


The design was cost planned and a programme prepared for council investment in affordable stages. The proposal gained support from council officers, including the CEO, the cultural institutions situated within the park and from the kaihakahaere of the local iwi. The proposal was tied at 6-6 for funding until the mayor cast his vote, considering the proposal premature.


The design remains sound and relevant.




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