Auckland Zoo's Japanese garden to be restored
Works to restore the demolished Japanese friendship garden from Auckland Zoo will begin early next year.
It's a long time to wait but Auckland Council says collaborating with Japanese sister city Fukuoka and getting the Fukuoka Friendship Garden right is key.
Officials from both cities have been working together on the garden's next phase. A council planner will fly to Japan later this year to research other friendship gardens while they are in their prime during the spring.
A tender for the work will be out by the end of this year with work expected to start in March 2016. Budgets for the garden's rebuild will be covered in the 2015/16 financial year.
Western Springs Park will be the new home of the garden which in August the council said would cost $1.042 million to rebuild .
A karakia [prayer] was said at the site on January 21 with Auckland Mayor Len Brown and Japanese Consul-General Kazutoshi Inadome in attendance.
Auckland formed a sister-city relationship with Fukuoka in 1986. The garden was a gift from the Japanese city to celebrate that bond.
It was removed in January 2014 to make way for a new Tasmanian devil development at Auckland Zoo, despite opposition from members of Auckland's Japanese community and other residents.
The zoo's former head gardener Stephanie Hay started campaigning to save it in 2013 and the Friends of Fukuoka Friendship Garden group was formed.
Through Auckland Council they consulted with Fukuoka and were given the go-ahead. Mayor Len Brown later said publicly that the garden should not have been destroyed. He formally apologised to Fukuoka city.
A steering committee was created last March to decide on a location to re-establish the garden. The Western Springs site was chosen because it is a public park and free for anyone to visit.