A true gem of the North Shore, Centennial Park in Campbells Bay lies between Pupuke Golf Club and Beach Road. This year it was awarded the 2020 Healthy Park Award, a national recognition as part of the annual New Zealand Parks Awards which recognise excellence, innovation, effectiveness and outstanding spaces and places that support activity within the recreation sector.
This lush area of public land was established in 1884 as a reserve owned by the Crown. It is now vested in Auckland Council to administer.
The park is one of Auckland’s largest urban parks, offering stunning views of the Hauraki Gulf and islands, over the top of an urban forest canopy. At 75 hectares, it is just five hectares smaller than the Auckland Domain and is 10 hectares larger than the Auckland Botanical Gardens.
Auckland Council proudly manages and maintains Centennial Park with the invaluable support and hard work of Centennial Park Bush Society (CPBS). The innovative CPBS most certainly deserves to be proud of this award achievement. Since 1976, the group of dedicated, nature-loving volunteers has continued to improve the park and to establish the Campbells Bay Urban Sanctuary to preserve this special ‘island’ area that includes not just the bush but the beach, school, residents and other stakeholders.
The society works in partnership with Auckland Council and its leaseholders Pupuke Golf Club, Campbells Bay Tennis Club and Mairangi Bay Play Centre plus neighbouring private properties to ensure that a cohesive approach to urban forest preservation through plant and animal pest control measures is maintained.
The walking trails and two creeks that snake meanderingly through the bush are full of bird song and insect life. The community is regularly involved in activities including working bees and annual plantings, the most recent of which even featured helpers from south of the bridge. And four years ago, the annual Family Bush Camp started with overnight camps within the park where families gather and pitch tents, learning more about nature preservation alongside enjoying fun activities and a hearty bbq dinner shared with all "Bush Campers".
Beach clean-ups at Campbells Bay beach are undertaken enthusiastically as are regular working bees around the park. Education is an important part of the Urban Sanctuary’s aims and the CPBS is continually providing up-to-date information not just through these community events, but also its newsletters, trail maps (including via a QR code link at the trail entrance points), Facebook page and website.
The Healthy Parks award is most deserved, with the work of the past 45 years of volunteering highly commended and allowing us to continue to enjoy, appreciate and respect this very special gem in the heart of the Bays.
If you’d like to learn more or perhaps volunteer as little or as much time as you’d like (we hear the morning teas are generous), or even to donate, find out more at www.campbellsbayurbansanctuary.org.nz.