Supporters decry demolition of Zoo's Japanese garden

GARDEN GONE: Auckland Zoo’s Japanese friendship garden has now been removed.
GARDEN GONE: Auckland Zoo’s Japanese friendship garden has now been removed.

Supporters of Auckland Zoo's demolished Japanese friendship garden have some assurance it will be reinstated.

It was built in 1989 in recognition of Auckland's sister city relationship with Fukuoka city and was removed last week to make way for a Tasmanian Devil development.

Auckland Council has consulted with Fukuoka city and says it's been given the go ahead.

But Mayor Len Brown doesn't agree.

"It's something that has been done quite frankly in error. There needs to be an apology on behalf of council to the people and city of Fukuoka," he says.

The Auckland Council's parks, recreation and sports committee will look at options for rebuilding the garden.

The zoo's former head gardener Stephanie Hay has been campaigning since October to have it saved and was shocked when she heard it has been removed.

''I think it's a huge insult to Japan," she says.

''We weren't told the removal was getting under way."

Members of Auckland's Japanese community have also voiced their opposition.

Masa Seikawa is ''surprised and devastated.''

''It's not like you just lay down a garden and it's there. It takes years to become beautiful and to have moss grow over the stepping stones.

''Twenty five years of hard work have been destroyed in a weekend.

''I'm a bit disappointed that Fukuoka city didn't dig a bit deeper to find out what would happen,'' he says.

Narumi Takamori says the sister city relationship is one between the people that live there not just between two councils.

''Who would throw away a gift that was given to the city?"

Supporters would like the garden reinstated at the zoo but Western Springs, the Auckland Domain and the botanic gardens have been floated as other possible locations.

Auckland City Harbour News