Toia - Otahuhu Recreation Precinct

After many years of urban decline, in 2013 community of Otahuhu managed to convince the new Supercity Council to inject some urban design into the disused and misused Fairburn Park area. The result, opened in late 2015, is a whole lot of everything. Perhaps most importantly a fittingly vibrant and engaging park-like setting for the celebrated David Lange Memorial, 2009.

In an unusual twist, the supercity over-delivered and the deserving folk of hardworking Otahuhu now have: five indoor pools, a large open space that can be used for community events; a basketball court which converts to a civic events space with terraced seating; a barbecue and picnic area; an on-trend outdoor splash park for kids; a new volcano-inspired playground; a community teaching garden with covered teaching space. Also outdoors is a functional fitness circuit around the whole park.

Design features abound, including a wide and welcoming ramp from Mason Avenue right into and through the library area, and an indoor sculpture by Daniel Clifford named ‘Spirit level’, featuring 1660 breath-blown glass bubbles. Again, it doesn’t stop there, there are six more public art commissions, including carvings, etched glass and murals, on several themes, partly the connection between Auckland’s two harbours, and the concept of a landing place, for all of the community’s various cultures.

The result: Toia is big, busy, and vibrant, exactly like David Lange and his beloved home Otahuhu.