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Friends reunite at garden opening

Media release

Published: 17 July 2017

The restored Fukuoka Garden has officially opened today at its new location in Western Springs Lakeside Park.

The garden’s unveiling was celebrated with a ceremony attended by Mayor Phil Goff, Mayor Takashima of Fukuoka City, mana whenua, representatives from Fukuoka and Auckland Council and members of the Friends of Fukuoka Friendship Garden.

The garden replaces the original Fukuoka Friendship Garden built in Auckland Zoo, which was gifted to Auckland in 1989 from Japan’s Fukuoka City in recognition of the sister-city relationship.

Mayor Phil Goff says Auckland Council has worked closely with the city of Fukuoka to re-establish the garden in its new home.

“Auckland and Fukuoka have been sister cities for more than 30 years. The Fukuoka Garden recognises the strong bond between our two cities and it’s great that we can join together today to celebrate a wonderful gift to our city and an important relationship that brings our cultures closer together,” says Mayor Phil Goff.   

“The relocation of the Fukuoka Garden from its original site was part of an expansion plan for the Auckland Zoo. The garden’s redevelopment has been an opportunity to collaborate closely with Fukuoka City, and deepen our sister-city ties, to create an enhanced and more accessible Japanese garden that all Aucklanders can enjoy,” he says.   

The new garden, which is 2.6 times larger than the original and free for people to enjoy, has a tea pavilion, waterfall and pond. There are over 1800 plants that are a blend of native New Zealand and Japanese plant species. Some features of the original garden have also been incorporated into the new garden including four bonsai trees, paving stones, lanterns, a water basin and the entrance feature.

The design of the new garden was created by Fukuoka’s ZEN Environmental Design Ltd, in collaboration with Fukuoka City Greenery Department and Professor Kubota, the designer of the original garden.

Auckland Council’s landscape architects have also worked closely with the Japanese-based designers to ensure the garden’s delivery remained true to traditional Japanese design. Fukuoka City has sent a number landscape architects and traditional carpenters to Auckland to provide technical expertise during various stages of the garden’s development.