The Fukuoka Garden in Western Springs Lakeside Park has won Best Overall Project and Best Local Government Project at the Sister City New Zealand Awards – an annual programme recognising outstanding sister city initiatives that foster international understanding and friendship.
The Fukuoka Garden is a redevelopment of the original garden built in Auckland Zoo, which was gifted to Auckland in 1989 from Japan’s Fukuoka City in recognition of the sister city relationship.
The relocation of the garden from its original site was part of an expansion plan for the zoo.
Mayor Phil Goff says the awards are a testament to the strong relationship between Auckland and Fukuoka.
“It’s great to see the Fukuoka Garden project, and the Auckland/Fukuoka relationship, recognised at this year’s Sister City New Zealand Awards. Auckland and Fukuoka have been sister cities for more than 30 years and in that time our relationship has gone from strength to strength,” says Mayor Phil Goff.
“The garden’s redevelopment was an opportunity to deepen our ties with Fukuoka City and create a space that all Aucklanders can enjoy. Together we have created an authentic Japanese garden that incorporates salvaged materials from the original garden, along with some modifications to suit its new location and enhance accessibility.
“I look forward to discussing the success of this project during my visit to Fukuoka in August,” he says.
President of Sister Cities New Zealand Hiromi Morris praised the level of community involvement in the project, particularly the active role the Friends of Fukuoka Garden group played.
The community group played a fundamental role in lobbying for the reinstatement of the Fukuoka Garden and was highly involved in the planning, design and construction of the new garden.
Albert-Eden-Roskill Ward Councillor Cathy Casey, who chaired the project steering group, was a strong advocate for the garden's restoration.
“The restored garden remains true to traditional Japanese design and is a real oasis in central Auckland. It’s bigger, better, free of charge and offers a beautiful space for people to enjoy some peace and tranquility,” she says.
“There was close collaboration between many areas of the council, together with the Friends of Fukuoka Garden and valued input from Fukuoka City Greenery Department and Professor Kubota, the designer of the original garden, to bring this new garden to life.”
The Fukuoka Garden opened at its new location in July 2017 and is a fusion of Japanese and New Zealand native plant species. It has a tea pavilion, waterfall and pond. Some features of the original garden that have been incorporated include four bonsai trees, paving stones, lanterns, a water basin and the entrance feature.
The design of the new garden was created by Fukuoka’s ZEN Environmental Design Ltd with Fukuoka City Greenery Department and Professor Iekatsu Kubota.
Auckland Council’s landscape architects also worked closely with the Japanese-based designers to ensure the garden remained true to traditional Japanese design.
Opening hours and location
The garden is adjacent to the zoo. It can be accessed from the park’s entrance near the main zoo carpark off Motions Road.