Retreat Road Park

Did you know the Retreat Road Substation, built in 1935, is of metropolitan significance?

It has been assessed as making an important contribution to the ‘identity, sense of place and history of the Christchurch’ metropolitan area and is primarily of importance to the City for its heritage values.

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1. an act of moving back or withdrawing.
2. a signal for a military force to withdraw.
3. a quiet or secluded place in which one can rest and relax.

My vision for “Retreat Road Park” is a place to enjoy ‘rest and relax’, where we remember our ‘identity, sense of place and history of the Christchurch’.

“– While we at Heritage NZ know a lot about the Red Zones history, the communities that lived here know a lot lot more.
– We need to think about what technologies are available for us to record these histories and to keep retelling them into the future.
– We also need to think about how to anchor those stories to the place.
– In the Red Zone here in Avonside we can see a number of established trees and plantings, these would be connected to people’s home, to businesses, to life in this area. So we probably need to think about how we are going to protect these trees and plantings into the future to ensure the stories remain connected to the place, and then the people remain connected to the place.”
Dr Christine Whybrew from Heritage New Zealand

“Peter Gossage was the storyteller and illustrator of more than 20 books for children. His powerful retelling of Maori myths and legends have captivated the children of New Zealand for generations.
Peter’s first job on leaving school was at an advertising agency, and his drawings of Maori motifs on a television commercial drew interest from a publisher.
This led to a career retelling and illustrating Maori legends for children.
He also worked as a display artist at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, and as a graphic designer and scenic artist at TV2.”

As a child in Whanganui, I grew up reading Peter Gossage’s Penguin books.
They encouraged me to read and inspired me to create art based on the “Battle of the Mountains”, Gossage’s classic retelling of the Maori myth of how Mt Taranaki, Mt Tauhara and Mt Putauaki came to stand where they are today.

When I was doing research for, I was looking for ‘modern Maori building design’ and found inspiring images from ‘Creators Early Childhood Centre, Hamilton’.
“We have of course adopted a playful twist, using randomly arranged windows, whilst the elevation facing the trees takes its cues from traditional Maori Wharenui (meeting houses), again referencing the cultural context.”
I love how they incorporated traditional Maori Wharenui (meeting houses), made out of natural materials, that remind me of treehouses, in a creative dramatic play/storytelling playground environment.

“Tony Ward is also hopeful about the future of Māori architecture, stating, ‘We’re talking about a different way of approaching design, where what results emerges from the people themselves, and the architect is merely the vessel whereby that happens: the servant of the people, the mouthpiece of the people…not separate from them… part of them, bound into them, intimately connected with their culture, loving it, valuing it for its difference.’
‘So what could be an ongoing vision for Māori architecture over the course of the next 20 years? For both Māori and non-Māori architectural practitioners, we have reached a crossroads of sorts. There now exists an opportunity to let go of past mamae – hurt, prejudices, distrust, insecurities and, in some cases, racist and narrow-minded views – and to embrace the new opportunities that exist within the exciting new world of the Te Aranga Māori Design Principles era and the growing post-Treaty settlement, iwi-driven economy.’
Rameka Alexander-Tu’inukuafe

“The pā depended for its continued existence on a good food and water supply, as well as a defensible position. This was achieved by siting the pā on a prominence, but with access to a river and forest, and with fertile land suitable for cultivation nearby. This hypothetical site has all of this, as well as access to the sea, the ideal situation, since the Māori were skilled fishermen, and were able to make very seaworthy fishing boats.”
Artist and sculptor: Nigel Ogle
Have a look at this website, Nigel Ogle’s work is amazing!
You will understand why the placement of the Maori Heritage Park is so important, after seeing this website.

“A personal passion and a public delight, this is a private museum of local South Taranaki history with a Disneyland touch, located 4km from Hawera.
Owner/artist/enthusiast Nigel Ogle is the driving force behind and creator of this collection of life-size displays and intricate small-scale dioramas that combine history and art with a skill that fascinates and amazes in equal measure.”

My idea for the ‘Ōtākaro Loop Reach’ is “Retreat Road Park”.
Attractions on the northern side of Retreat Road:
Maori Heritage Park, Natural Playgrounds, Star Gazing, set amongst the residential gardens of the Avonside Red Zone, with new native trees/plants.
Attractions on the southern side of Retreat Road:
As this is the start of the Avon-Ōtākaro Cycle Route from Swanns Road Bridge, this would link in well with the ‘Learn to Ride’ Park, Skate/Scooter/BMX Combo Park, and a Accessible/Sensory Playground, set amongst the residential gardens of the Avonside Red Zone, with new native trees/plants.
Avonside Drive
Becomes a multi use pathway around the outside of the Maori Heritage Park. Accessible for bikes, wheelchairs, strollers, scooters etc. No vehicle access.
New Medway Street Bridge and Swanns Road Bridge, create a loop from River River to Avonside Drive.
Maori Heritage Park
Christchurch has Ferrymead Heritage Park, but we don’t have a Heritage Park for our Maori history/heritage, showcasing Maori Design and Arts & Crafts.
– Similar design to Creators Early Childhood Centre Hamilton.
– New Road (30kph) with wide footpaths, from Retreat Road to Morris Street.
– Walking through native trees/plants on either side of the road, with the Pa at the end of the road.
– Entrance to Pa off Morris Street, includes: Marae, Meeting House, Exhibition Spaces, Performance Spaces.
– Learning Spaces: Focus on Maori Architecture & Design, Hands on Arts & Crafts classes
Natural Playgrounds
– Pre teen & teens+ Natural Playgrounds, left hand side of new road, similar to TimberNook NZ
Star Gazing
Townsend Observatory? or similar, with natural materials Maze during the daytime, and Dark Sky Park at night time.
– Opportunity to share/learn about Matariki.
‘Learn to Ride’ Park
– Similar to Westburn Reserve Bike Park.
– Add ‘signals’ technology and teach the NZ Road Code through digital story telling.
Skate/Scooter/BMX Combo Park
– Skateboard/Scooter pathway/ramps throughout the middle.
– Natural BMX Track around the outside of the park.
A mash up of Washington/Jellie Skatepark & Christchurch Adventure Park, accessible for those in eastern Christchurch.
Accessible/Sensory Playground
– Inclusive play space, children of different abilities can play together, ensuring no one is left out.
– Disability access, all inclusive equipment, so everyone can play together, whether in wheelchairs/strollers or not.
Boland Creation & Miracle Recreation have plastic equipment.
Can we find and/or build in NZ, this type of playground equipment made out of natural materials?

Christchurch City Council: MED Substation and Setting – Retreat Road
Ministry for the Environment: New Zealand Urban Design Protocol
Ferrymead Heritage Park
Tamaki Maori Village
Southern stories find a voice at heritage village
Tamaki Christchurch Maori village abandoned
Ko Tane The Maori Experience Christchurch
Auckland Design Manual: Maori Design
Don Hitchcock: Don’s Maps: Maori Pa
World famous in New Zealand: Tawhiti Museum, Hawera
Wikipedia: Townsend Observatory
Graeme Kershaw: Restoring Townsend Teece Telescope
Wikipedia: Matariki
Heaven’s above – star-gazing in New Zealand
Hidden Treasures: Westburn Reserve Bike Park
NZTA: NZ Road Code
Skatepark Hunter: Washington Skatepark
Skatepark Hunter: Jellie Skatepark
Christchurch Adventure Park
NZTA: NZ’s Favourite Places to Ride 2017
Boland Creation: Sensory Play Brochure
Miracle Recreation: Inclusive Playgrounds
The Southern Centre – multi-sensory experience