Sydenham Botanic Park
Sydenham Botanic Park is a piece of residential land in Brookfield at 6 Millers Road. The 3 hectare property is owned by NZ Guardian Trust. It was left by the late Frank Sydenham for the purpose of being developed into a botanic park by Tauranga City Council amongst other purposes that are no longer viable.
Tauranga City Council pays for maintenance only. No Council funds are allocated for capital expenditure on the property. The Council has said that the community is to be responsible for funding any development of a botanic park on this site.
Tauranga City Council will help facilitate the park’s development through two important community groups: a Funding Trust and a Community Advisory Group.
A very brief history of 6 Millers Road
Tauranga City Council accepted the offer to administer the Sydenham property as a proposed botanic park.
Tauranga Botanic Gardens Trust was formed. They ran community workshops and developed a Master Plan for the botanic garden.
Having developed the Master Plan, the Botanic Gardens Trust resigned and Tauranga City Council took over management of the property. $30,000 per year was allocated for maintenance costs. Further development plans that had been identified by the Trust were put on hold until certainty was provided over the future of the land.
Elected members were asked in 2008 (and again in 2009) for direction about whether or not they wished to proceed with development of the site. The status quo (‘no development yet’) was retained on both occasions.
As part of the 2010 Annual Plan the Council proposed to divest its interest in Sydenham Park. This proposal received the most submissions of any annual plan issue that year. (One submission included a petition with over 1100 signatures.)
After some deliberation the final council resolution was to retain the Botanic Park and maintenance budget (now $20,000 per year)and establish a community trust.
Staff investigated how a community trust could best be structured and what role it would have in the park’s development. A report to Council proposed an approach that is modelled on the very successful Hamilton Gardens. As a result the Council resolved to establish a new Funding Trust for Sydenham Botanic Park.
The Sydenham Botanic Park Funding Trust was formed in April 2012. Funding Trust members were selected for their high level of financial skill and experience working with trusts and within the business community. The Trust’s first meeting was in May 2012.
The founding Sydenham Botanic Park Funding Trust members are:
- Sandy Scarrow
- Brian Cloughey
- Mark Paine
- Murray Clarkson
The application and selection process for a new Sydenham Botanic Park Advisory Group was completed late June 2012. The selection panel was Councillor Larry Baldock, Councillor Catherine Stewart and Funding Trust member Sandy Scarrow.
The Advisory Group has an important role to represent the Tauranga community, Tangata Whenua, commercial interests and the local Brookfield residential, school and business communities.
The Sydenham Botanic Park Advisory Group members are:
- Lisa Adams
- Maureen Chaytor
- Glen Crowther
- Graham Dyer
- Daniel Hancock
- Brian Hodge
- Peri Kohu
- Peter Monteith
- Peter Nixon
Operating costs for 6 Millers Road are allocated in the 2012 – 2022 Ten Year Plan at $30,000 per year.
Arbor Care has donated maintenance work each year as part of their City Partner contribution. Local tree enthusiast Graham Dyer has donated a “world class” collection of Pacific Kauri Trees and Araucarias to the park. The first trees were planted in 2004. Graham Dyer’s donations to this collection are ongoing. Also Nikau Palms by Nikau Grove and Cooks Pines by Tauranga Tree Services.
- The Trust Deed. The original intention of the Sydenham Trust Deed was that the land at 6 Millers Road would be used for education. Both Otumoetai college and Tauranga Boys College used the property but by 2003 the land was not being used for educational purposes. The next option in the Will was for the gardens to become “a botanical park for the enjoyment and benefit of the citizens of Tauranga and the public generally; such park to be administered by the Tauranga City Council and kept and maintained in good order and condition by the said Council”.
Tauranga City Council’s current agreement with NZ Guardian Trust is that the Council is responsible for developing the site into a Botanic Park. Elected members have resolved that community groups or trusts will fund the capital development and Council will fund the operating costs.
- The Master Plan. A Master Plan for the park was produced by the Tauranga Botanic Gardens Trust in 2006. It was developed in consultation with the community and remains the best representation of community expectation for this site. The Master Plan has four different themes which can be progressed in any order according to funds and preference revised by Advisory Group in 2013.
Making the Master Plan a reality
The two groups working together towards making the Master Plan a reality are the Funding Trust and the Community Advisory Group. The two groups will need to work closely together.
The Funding Trust will be responsible for fundraising only.
The Community Advisory Group will be responsible for deciding which themes of the Master Plan should be developed in which order.
As the park develops there will be more opportunities for community volunteers to get involved.
For any enquiries about the park please contact Dianne Paton at Tauranga City Council.
Last Reviewed: 22/02/2017