Visitors to Auckland's Cornwall Park to get a taste of farm life
Overseas visitors flock to see New Zealand farming in action, and soon they won't have to travel too far from Auckland International Airport.
An area of Cornwall Park, which surrounds One Tree Hill, is undergoing a makeover with more than one hectare set to be returned to public use with Auckland Council organisation Watercare removing a decommissioned water reservoir.
Cornwall Park director Michael Ayrton said the long-term plan for the land was to turn the area into a farm centre.
"Visitors to the park will be able to engage with the day-to-day farming operations we carry out like sheep shearing," he said.
Ayrton said in the short-term the site would be used as a place for people to enjoy and for sheep and cattle to graze.
Cornwall Park is 45 hectares and has about 700 sheep and 120 cattle graze its pasture.
Currently sheep are shorn twice a year at the park's woolshed, which members of the public are able to pop in to view from a distance.
Cornwall Park did not confirm whether members of the public would be able to take part in sheep-shearing or other activities as part of the plans for the farm centre.
Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development spokesman Steve Armitage said a farm centre in Cornwall Park would add to a diverse range of attractions already on offer in Auckland.
"The centre would allow visitors who might not have the opportunity to get out into the countryside and locals to enjoy a rural experience in the city, complimenting existing facilities like Ambury Farm Park."
Watercare's reservoir was built in the 1940s to handle some of Auckland's waters supply, but had not been in use following the commissioning of the Ardmore Water Treatment and Campbell Road Reservoir in the 1970s.
Watercare inherited the disused reservoir when the company was formed in the early 1990s.
Watercare chief executive Raveen Jaduram said it made sense to pull the structure down. Demolition of the reservoir was expected to finish in early June.
Last year Auckland's Maunga Authority indicated it was planning to remove livestock from Auckland's volcanic summits, including One Tree Hill, to protect and restore biodiversity.