Pukekawa / Auckland Domain, like many other parks, played a critical role in retaining flood waters during the recent severe weather events.
The sports fields became a lake and helped to hold a significant volume of flood water which lessened the impact on the surrounding properties, according to a report received by the Komiti mō te Papa Rēhia o Pukekawa / Auckland Domain Committee in March 2023.
“It’s reassuring to see that Pukekawa /Auckland Domain captured and held late January’s excessive rainwater. As a basin with volcanic soils this is expected and an important function of the Domain,” says Deputy Mayor and Chair of the Auckland Domain Committee, Desley Simpson.
“The water drained relatively quickly, and it was so great to see that the fields had recovered in time for the popular Urban Polo event, even though it was just six weeks later.”
There was some public concern over the amount of water that collected in the Domain over Auckland Anniversary weekend. However, parks are often located on flood plains and designed to store flood waters during extreme rainfall.
“If the fields did not flood, a large volume of water could have ended up at Beach Road, Stanley Street and The Strand which were already badly flooded on 27 January,” explains Richard Smedley, Auckland Council Principal Network Planning, Healthy Waters.
“The Domain has the only large upstream storage for extreme event flooding in the Stanley catchment. By holding back water, it helped protect low lying areas in the vicinity.”
Members of the public using the flooded area for recreational purposes, however, did cause concern.
“It is highly likely that floodwater contains contaminants such as sewage and hazardous materials. We were alarmed to see people ignoring the warning signs that had been erected, and instead putting their health at risk by entering the floodwater and partaking in water sports,” says Mr Smedley.
He reiterates that Auckland Council advises against coming into contact with floodwater. The council recommends using full personal protective equipment for handling items that may have been contaminated such as sandbags and debris.
“Pukekawa / Auckland Domain is well-loved and well-used by Aucklanders and visitors. We know that many, myself included, were shocked to see the impacts of the floods at such an iconic park.
“I’m really pleased that the Domain not only played the role it needed to but also that our teams were able to ensure it was back up and hosting events, sports, and Aucklanders, so soon after the floods,” adds Deputy Mayor Simpson.