About the parks
Located 5km south-east of the centre of Christchurch. The main public access is off Curletts Road.
[ larger view ]
The area between Wigram and Hillmorton - typically known as ‘the showgrounds’ - is now called the Canterbury Agricultural Park and the adjacent reserve and retention basin area has been named Nga Puna Wai.
This is a large combined open space area located in the south-west part of Christchurch and, at 128ha, on a par in terms of area with Hagley Park. Together they offer a similar level of accessibility and community value as that achieved for Hagley Park.
The combined Park area has a diverse range of values and uses and is separated into two parks - Nga Puna Wai (86ha), which means “many spring waters” reflecting the springs in the Heathcote River/Ōpawaho running alongside, and Canterbury Agricultural Park (42ha). While each park has a distinctive character and use, there is some merging and overlap of character and use between them.
Nga Puna Wai
Nga Puna Wai, the larger of the two parks, has a strong rural open space landscape character, and with areas of mainly native plantings established along the waterway corridors within and bounding the park. The park has three parts, each with a specific designated status –
- Wigram East Retention Basin, incorporating ponds fed by Haytons Stream flowing from the Wigram area.
- Recreation reserve.
- Reserves for waterway conservation alongside the Heathcote River/Ōpawaho.
Canterbury Agricultural Park
Canterbury Agricultural Park is the facility-rich part of the combined park area that is zoned in the Christchurch City Plan as open space to be used to promote the primary industries of Canterbury.
Each year in November this park is the venue for the Canterbury A&P Show.
Key Use and Activities
There is a variety of activity that takes place on the parks, which include:
Ongoing and regular use by groups that occupy the “agricultural” part of the parks for mainly equestrian activities.
The annual A&P Show centred on Canterbury Agricultural Park.
Parts of Canterbury Agricultural Park being booked for periodic events and sports - for example, rugby league.
Casual use by walkers, joggers, family and school groups, dog owners and dogs, photographers and other members of the public. The future development of pathways will cater to many other users, including cyclists and people with disabilities.
Since 1991, native tree planting has been carried out along the Heathcote River/Ōpawaho to provide a buffer between the residential zone of Hillmorton and Nga Puna Wai. Many old willows and noxious weeds have been removed to open the canopy and allow the establishment of massed planting of New Zealand riparian species.
With the development of the retention basin there has been the opportunity for the Council to replant native species on the margins of the waterway and the ponds within the basin.
A number of rare species of native nettle have been planted on the islands in the retention basin.
Plantings on the drier slopes of the embankment, predominantly of kanuka, have been introduced to provide a buffer and a degree of cover for wildlife, which will also serve to link the pond environment with the more extensive Heathcote River/Ōpawaho riparian planting.
The Christchurch City Council has in place a reserve management plan, approved under the Reserves Act 1977, for the combined area of Nga Puna Wai and Canterbury Agricultural Park.
The approach taken in the management plan is to integrate the management, use and development of the combined park area and to also guide the management, use and development of each park according to the particular designated status of its parts.
For half of Nga Puna Wai, this is meeting the management requirements for recreation and esplanade reserves that are classified under the Reserves Act 1977. For the retention basin part of Nga Puna Puna, protecting downstream areas from flooding and improving water quality of those areas is a primary function.
The focus for Canterbury Agricultural Park is on providing facilities that serve the primary industries of Canterbury.
Nga Puna Wai and Canterbury Agricultural Park Management Plan 2010
Whole management plan (low resolution) [PDF 2.8MB]
Indicative Landscape Development Concept (Figure 5 of the management plan) [PDF 520KB]
Foreword and Contents [PDF 978KB]
Part A - Introduction [PDF 216KB]
Part B - Management [PDF 3.1MB]
Part C - Issues [PDF 595KB]
Part D – Future Development [PDF 798KB]
Part E - Resources [PDF 3.4MB]
Part F - References [PDF 191KB]
Part G - Appendices [PDF 1.2MB]