We are reclassifying Opie Reserve from a Recreation Reserve to a Local Purpose - Community Reserve.
Opie Reserve is a 4200-square-metre green space in Highbury, between Opie Place and Wilson Crescent. It was identified as an underused reserve in a 2012 property review.
We recently received a proposal from Ngāti Hineaute Hapu Authority to lease the land to build a kōhanga reo (kindergarten) and a marae (meeting house) at the reserve. We are reclassifying the park as these facilities would better serve the Highbury community than if the area remained a sports or recreation park.
Once the land is reclassified, Council will then consider the proposal from Ngāti Hineaute for a land lease, which will be subject to another separate public consultation process. Ngāti Hineaute will be responsible for applying for and managing any required building or resource consents.
Why are we reclassifying Opie Reserve?
Opie Reserve was classed as a recreation reserve. That means the types of activities on the reserve encouraged recreation activities, such as sport or physical welfare.
However, we also have one of the city’s largest recreation reserves right across the road – Monrad Park – which has limited the use of Opie Reserve.
In the case of Opie Reserve, we have been approached by Ngāti Hineaute to lease the land for educational and community purposes. As Highbury has a popular recreation reserve in Monrad Park, we asked the community if they agreed that non-recreation activities should occur on the reserve.
Ngāti Hineaute chairman Chris Whaiapu says the hapu’s intention is to build a new Kōhanga Reo and urban marae that will serve the growing needs of its Rangitāne whānau, wider community and people.
“The Kōhanga Reo (kindergarten) will be built first as we have outgrown our current facility. We intend to build a facility that will future proof an enrolment number of up to 60 tamariki (children). The new urban marae will be a facility for whānau, for Ngāti Hineaute, for Rangitāne and the whole community. We have always wanted to rebuild a new marae and it has been a long-held aspiration of Ngāti Hineaute since our last marae was destroyed by arson in 1925. We are excited to develop these new facilities on Opie Place.”