Connecting a city to its coastline
The redevelopment of this key waterfront site on Marine Parade in Napier has given new life to the area. The city is now connected to its coastline and a waterfront carpark has been replaced with a significant public space that reflects the natural and cultural landscape of the bay.
With the adjacent former MarineLand site having been redeveloped into a multi-purpose skate, event and entertainment facility, this new coastal public space is injecting activity and energy onto the city’s coastal edge. It also provides coastal pathway users a reason to stop and engage. The park includes a mix of complementary spaces, including structures and vegetation that offer shelter and coastal outlooks; gardens and undulating lawn spaces engaging with the sea and city; a multi-sports court; and a series of reflective and interactive water features that are threaded through the site, providing something for all parts of the community and visitors alike.
Boffa Miskell led the landscape design, working with Paris Magdalinos Architects and Napier City Council. A key part of the project was developing the landscape and cultural narrative of the site with artist Jacob Scott, who also created the integrated and stand-alone artworks.
The design of the park references the former gravel spit on which the site sits: a threshold between the Pacific Ocean and the former lagoon upon which Napier was eventually developed. The design looks east to the horizon and frames the views and landscape connections to Cape Kidnappers/Mataupo Maui and Mahia Peninsula.
This is Napier’s place to talk to the Pacific, and to the global community. Local connections to pioneers such as sea-faring tupuna, and to Maui himself, are integral to the mana, the narrative and the structure of the project.
Maui was the innovator, the maverick, the challenger of the status quo. He was the initiator of a new world cycle, catching the sun and slowing it down; and he was this nation’s fisherman, responsible for pulling up the North Island.
With this bay being the fin of the stingray caught by Maui (Te Ika-a-Maui), and with views to Cape Kidnappers (Maui’s hook), this narrative is a pivotal informer of the design.
The site itself is carved to create routes and spaces along the transition from the civic landscape of the Sunken Gardens to the more open coastline – a journey that uses water as its connecting element.
Sculpting of the site provides a physical reflection of:
The planting character reflects the rugged and exposed coastal environment to the East, transitioning to the shelter of the estuarine environment to the West. Large seating elements are dropped on the site, sitting comfortably adjacent to the driftwood which comes and goes from the site in response to high tides and storm surges.
Landscape design lead
|Client||Napier City Council|
|Project team||Daniel Whatnall|
Paris Magdalinos Architects
|Project date||2015 - 2017|
|Awards||Concrete Landscape Award – New Zealand Concrete Society Awards|