Covering some 36 hectares, Anderson Park is Napier’s largest recreational park and the extensive waterway system which weaves through it is home to a large number of ducks, geese, swans and other wildlife.
The picturesque park was once the home of the Napier Park Racing Club which was formed in Greenmeadows in 1886. Racing ceased here around 1960 when the club moved to Hastings for race days and the Council subsequently purchased the site in 1962.
Development of the park started four years later with tree planting, landscaping and the formation of over two hectares of waterways. The soil is rather salty, a legacy from pre-1931 earthquake days when several saltwater creeks crossed the area and this soil type has influenced the choice of trees. A $40,000 bequest from the late Haskell Anderson was a considerable help in developing the park. In particular, the funds have seen the establishment of as wide a selection of trees as possible.
The wide open spaces makes the park an ideal site for major community events and a new, award winning children’s playground is a huge drawcard for families. The New Zealand Recreation Association named the development as winner of the Outstanding Park Award for 2018. It has multiple climbing and sliding structures, flying foxes, swings and water play features with the judges particularly noting its accessibility for wheelchairs and other inclusive innovations to support the disabled.
School parties explore the water ecosystems for their botany and biology studies and local schools also use the park for cross-country running and orienteering activities. Interest groups such as dog obedience clubs and the Model Marine Club make use of the park while Girl Guides, Scouts and Harriers have their headquarters within the park’s boundaries. Another attraction is the model trains which the Hawkes Bay Model Engineering Society run over a 800 m track.
The park with its man-made lakes and islands, walkways and playground is a wonderful community asset. The Wildlife Lake has roosting islands and flax which enhance the ecological value and make it an attractive sanctuary for the many birds which live there. In June 1967, the Council passed a bylaw to legally protect the birdlife.
When feeding the birds, please remember not to give them bread as this lacks the nutrition they need. You can buy duck food which is full of goodness or bring uncooked rolled oats, wheat, barley, rice, or fresh greens.