A successful night at the annual New Zealand Parks Awards for Auckland Council was topped off with Community Ranger Glenn Browne taking out the Parks Person of the Year.
“Glenn has played a massive role this year with his Ranger Glenn persona and the engagement with young people has been huge,” says Mark Bowater, Head of Auckland Council Parks.
“He created a series of online videos over the first lockdown which became hugely popular, and this year he has been the face of our Pest Free Auckland social media campaign which has been a phenomenal success.”
Glenn said he was absolutely stunned and delighted with the award.
“I’m thrilled. I love helping people engage with nature and play an active role in caring for our environment.”
He went on to say that his focus is on helping the next generation become kaitiaki (guardians).
“Our tamariki (children) and mokopuna (grandchildren) are the ones who will be the future leaders for our nation. If we help them understand the importance of our parks and native ngahere (forest), then we all benefit.”
Glenn acknowledges that the award isn’t about what he does, but rather he is simply shining a light on the hard work of his colleagues in a way that is speaking to young people.
“Without the amazing job that all the rangers and volunteers do in our parks, there would be no Ranger Glenn.”
Councillor Alf Filipaina, who is the Chair of the Parks, Arts, Community and Events Committee said the three awards represent the incredible work of hundreds of staff, contractors and volunteers.
"I wish to congratulate Ranger Glenn on his achievement."
"I also join with all of Auckland in congratulating all the staff from both Park Services and Community Facilities whose hard work have resulted in some beautiful parks for us all to enjoy.”“I especially want to acknowledge the way they all went about their work while we were in lockdown last year. Their mahi meant we could all keep healthy and well while we were fighting off COVID-19.”
Botanic Gardens named Healthy Park
Alongside Glenn’s win, Auckland Botanic Gardens won the Healthy Park of the Year Award.
To win this award a park must display innovation, excellence, sustainability and community engagement in an efficient and effective manner.
Auckland Botanic Gardens is one of the top destinations in Tāmaki Makaurau with beautiful displays that showcase plants and trees that can be grown in the region.
Additionally, the Botanic Gardens follows sustainable horticulture practices, including aiming for spray-free gardening, using organic mulch and compost produced on site and using a combination of minimal mowing techniques and growing meadows to maintain the grounds.
Playground of the Year
The third award scooped by Auckland Council went to the newly completed Kopupaka Reserve in Westgate.
The playground has been developed to serve the growing community and has a nod to its former use as a strawberry field, with the playground including a custom-designed play tower that represents orchard crates.
The New Zealand Parks Awards are run by Recreation Aotearoa and seek to recognise excellence, innovation, effectiveness and outstanding spaces and places that support activity within the recreation sector.