National awards for Taupō District parks
If spending time in parks is good for the body and mind, then latest accolades show Taupō District must provide the best medicine in the country.
Taupō District has scooped the Healthy Park Award and Parks Professional of the Year Award in Recreation Aotearoa’s newly announced annual awards.
The two awards, presented during the Recreation Aotearoa’s Green Pavlova conference in Dunedin, recognise Taupō District Council Parks and Reserves team member Rui Kohiti for his sterling work, as well as the district’s Great Lake Pathway, which won the Healthy Park Award for an outstanding natural environment.
The Great Lake Pathway runs 10km along the lakefront and was designed to help locals better engage with their lake and get around town, as well as attract visitors. It averages 20,000 users per month, is fit for people both on wheels and on foot and was a collaborative effort between council, the community, and iwi and hapū.
Taupō District Council parks manager Greg Hadley is delighted by the council's showing in these national awards.
"These two awards are a very welcome recognition of the hard mahi of staff in achieving our commitment to make the Taupō District one of the most beautiful areas in Aotearoa."
The Recreation Aotearoa citation for the Healthy Park award says the award is given to a park with an exceptional natural environment. It includes urban parks, town squares, community hubs, regional, local and forestry parks.
“The Great Lake Pathway project is a stellar example of iwi and local government working together in co-management. From the planning, consultation, design, and construction, you can see how meticulous the project team were in delivering this amazing asset for the Taupō community. A fantastic project and an even better outcome,” the citation says.
The Parks Professional of the Year Award is for a person who works within parks and open spaces, who demonstrates outstanding efforts to forward public parks through good management, sustainability, and innovation.
The winner, council Parks and Reserves team member Rui Kohiti is based in the Mangakino/Pouakani area.
The citation for his award said Rui is “genuine, practical, and the embodiment of environmental kaitiaki.
“He is fluent in te reo Māori and is a strong practitioner of tikanga Māori. He has a passion and background in sports turf management and has shown an impressive ability to apply that knowledge across the wider parks industry. His record for creating memorable and inspiring interactions with the environment, colleagues, and the local community made him an excellent candidate for the award.”
Taupō District Council parks manager (open spaces) Andrew Moor said Rui’s award was a well-deserved accolade for a greatly valued member of the Parks and Reserves team.
“Rui has only been with us for three years, but he has proven to be a real asset to us and the Mangakino/Pouakani area.
“Rui completed his National Certificate in Sports Turf Management Level 3 this year, and has begun studying towards Level 4, and he has applied a lot of what he’s learnt there in his work for council.
“He has been instrumental in our 10,000 Trees Project, which focuses on the restoration and revegetation of reserve land throughout the Mangakino/Pouakani and Tongariro/Tūrangi areas and has been behind some innovative work on the use of natural and organic fertilisers,” Mr Moor said.