Participate Palmy

Savage Reserve playground upgrade

This year we’ll be upgrading the playground at Palmy’s historic Savage Reserve. Feedback on this project closed on Wednesday 7 April.

Heritage photo shows the modern houses in Savage Crescent, built in the 1930s.

Savage Reserve is at the heart of the Savage Crescent heritage precinct, protected in our District Plan.

The current playground is tired, and in need of a replacement.

We want your feedback, so we can have a new playground in place in the coming months.

The park’s unique history sets the theme for the new playground

Savage Reserve is named after former Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage.

The reserve was developed as part of the Savage Crescent housing scheme in 1937. The development was based on a British cottage theme, with houses surrounding the reserve. This is also similar to places like Central Park in New York.

In World War II the reserve also housed a community garden. After the war the reserve was reverted to a grass paddock and a playground added, with a large metal slide, a set of swings, and a seesaw.

In 1990, that playground was replaced with the existing one.

Savage Reserve is a site of national significance and this means there are guidelines around any development in the area. While this doesn’t apply specifically to the playground, we believe it should.

For that reason, the new playground will be in keeping with the area’s heritage – that means the type of equipment will be modern-day versions of playground equipment of the 30s and 40s.

Our District Plan helps us determine what is appropriate

We are tasked with managing historic assets, and we do this through the Palmerston North District Plan.

In the plan, Savage Crescent is protected as a heritage site.

It explains how:

  • Savage Crescent was developed with the first Labour government and was a national model for state housing, reflecting their ideals, philosophies and policies on state rental worker housing.
  • The development was completed in association with significant Labour Party politicians and with prominent New Zealand architects.
  • The housing development also demonstrated the architectural and design ideals and philosophies for domestic housing which emerged in the late 30s and early 40s, and included innovative construction.

Section 15 of our District Plan also guides us as to how we should protect the amenity of recreation areas within a residential zone.

The Resource Management Act also helps guide us under its historic heritage requirements, to prevent inappropriate use.

Our council is also required to have regard to recommendations made by Heritage NZ.

The new playground will be at a different location in the park

The playground is currently located closer to the Park Road entrance to the park. That playground will be removed (but the swings will stay) and the new one built on the College Street side access to the reserve.

We’re doing this for two key reasons. The first reason is to make it safer. The new location will help prevent anti-social behaviour by providing clear sightlines. This will reduce vandalism, improve feelings of safety, and encourage better use of the playground. The other reason for changing the location is that there is better mobility access, including mobility parking.

While safety surfacing wasn’t around in the 30s and 40s, we are now required to have this. The new playground will have bark and rubber matting.

Park will remain a neighbourhood reserve

Savage Reserve is one of Palmy's neighbourhood reserves. These typically have a small playground, picnic tables, benches and rubbish bins.

This means that the playground here will remain small, and not be of significant size like the playgrounds in Milverton Park or the nearby Victoria Esplanade, which are classed as destination reserves.