Gar­den will be re­built at Western Springs

Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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