Garden will be rebuilt at Western Springs
The Fukuoka Friendship Garden controversially removed from Auckland Zoo will be reinstated at a cost of just over $1 million at Western Springs Park – not far from its original location.
The garden was a gift from Auckland’s sister city, Japan’s Fukuoka 25 years ago.
It was placed inside Auckland Zoo but demolished late last year to make way for a breeding programme for endangered Tasmanian devils.
Auckland’s Japanese community strongly opposed the removal.
Mayor Len Brown apologised to the city at a council meeting in January and again at Japan Day on February 23.
Stephanie Hay of the Friends of Fukuoka Friendship Garden group welcomes the decision.
Nine sites were looked at and three were shortlisted – the original zoo site, a section at the top of Old Mill Rd and the Western Springs Park option.
Free entry, foot traffic and the vibe of Western Springs made it the obvious choice, Hay says.
She says the council and its parks department ‘‘really stepped up’’ to the challenge.
‘‘This could’ve been a disaster,’’ she says.
Hay labelled the garden removal as a ‘‘huge insult to Japan’’ in March.
The garden was originally designed and built by volunteers who travelled from Fukuoka.
It cost between $359,999 and $400,000 and most of the material was gifted by Fukuoka City.
The cost of the new garden is about $1,042,000 and it will be rebuilt over two years, according to council staff.
It will cost $75,000 a year to maintain, including security, rubbish collection and upkeep of bonsai trees.
The Fukuoka Friendship Garden Steering Committee is leading the garden project and will seek funding from the council’s strategy and finance group on August 21.
The garden was originally gifted to the former Auckland City Council so alternative sites outside of historic boundaries were not explored.
Auckland will celebrate its 30th year of being a sister city to Fukuoka in 2016.
It's back: The Japanese garden from Auckland Zoo is being recreated at Western Springs.