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Open Spaces

The Future of Open Spaces

Icon OpenSpacesOpen Spaces make a major contribution to the quality of life in Central Hawke’s Bay and is integral to achieving our community’s vision of Project Thrive!   There is a growing understanding about the importance of the relationship between green space and wellbeing, the interdependence of people and their surroundings, and how connections to vibrant open spaces and streets supports the economic and social wellbeing of business and people.

We’re doing some work planning ahead for the future of our open spaces and want to check in on with you on some key points before we get too far ahead. 


Why are open spaces important? 

Open spaces are all our parks and reserves that the community and visitors are able to enjoy.  From the Ruahine Ranges through to small local parks, streets and civic spaces, river margins and the Tukituki Trails through to our coastal reserves and beaches, we have access to an amazing diversity of experiences in Tamatea – Central Hawke’s Bay that significantly enhance our social, cultural, environmental and economic wellbeing.  

The Central Hawke’s Bay Open Space network is comprised of 62 parks, reserves, or domains totalling over 160 hectares. These parks provide our community space for play, sport, and both active and passive recreation. Some contain native bush and foster biodiversity offering a connection to nature. Many sites provide basic amenities such as public toilets and access to the beach while others provide both indoor and outdoor community gathering spaces for socialising and celebrating family or community events. 


Why are we having this conversation? 

Through the 2021 – 2031 Long Term Plan, fixing our three waters – our wastewater, drinking water and stormwater was our big focus.  As we look ahead, we know that, like our three waters, we’ve got some significant investment to make; resolving long-term deferred maintenance requiring urgent investment in the renewal of many assets located on open space. A silver lining of COVID-19 lockdowns has been an increased awareness of the opportunities provided by, and use of, local neighbourhood open spaces, walkways and cycleways.

Amongst our existing investment priorities for three waters, we need to further understand what the future demand and need is for Central Hawke’s Bay and how open space reflects and supports a thriving and growing Central Hawke’s Bay.  With the growth we are experiencing, we need to make sure that we are thinking ahead and planning for walkway connections and parks and open spaces for our District identified in the Central Hawke's Bay Integrated Spatial Plan 2050. We want to better understand and continue to support those organisations and groups doing amazing voluntary work in these spaces.  

We also need to understand what rural investment looks like and how we ensure that investment is equitably shared and paid for across the district.  Currently we pay for open spaces through the general rate, meaning those that pay the most rates for open spaces often don’t receive a higher value from these assets. We’re also going to have to make some tough decisions around what we prioritise investment in – as we simply can’t afford to do it all.   


What does success look like? 

We’ve done some early thinking and think that success for the future of open spaces is to: 

  • Provide safe, inclusive, welcoming and accessible open spaces for all our community to enjoy. 

  • Protect and reflect our local identity, history and culture.  

  • Protect and enhance the environmental values and benefits of our open space network.  


Want to know more? 

To understand more about Open Spaces, what we are trying to achieve and who is involved, read our full Discussion Document on Open Spaces


Let us know your ideas? 

We’re still in the early phases of this work, however we are keen to hear your ideas to support Open Spaces in Tamatea - Central Hawke’s Bay.  You can do this by completing our online survey or emailing us on 


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