Community gardens are plots of land gardened by a group of people, usually voluntarily. Some are divided into allotments while others are large areas gardened collectively. Because New Zealand has a long history of gardening in the backyard – the iconic quarter-acre section – community gardens only appeared in numbers in the late 20th century, as private gardens shrank in size or disappeared.
The Hundertwasser toilet block in Kawakawa features one of New Zealand’s first roof gardens. Designed by renowned architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser in 1998, the building is topped by a grassed roof with a thriving tree in the middle. It lays claim to being the country’s most photographed public toilet.
Roof gardens are another way of creating more green spaces in cities. They are made by building beds and filling them with soil, or simply by placing containers and pots on the roof.
Green roofs, where plants are grown directly on a specially prepared rooftop, were starting to appear in New Zealand in the 2000s. Recent green roofs include the engineering building at the University of Auckland and the Waitākere Central Civic Centre.
Urban wildlife sanctuaries
Wildlife sanctuaries aim to protect and re-introduce native plants and animals and to try and eradicate pests. They also give people the chance to take part in sanctuary activities.
The world’s first urban wildlife sanctuary, the only one in New Zealand, is Zealandia, formerly the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary, in Wellington.
Other wildlife sanctuaries near New Zealand cities include:
- Ark in the Park in the Cascades Kauri Park (North Waitākere Ranges)
- Tiritiri Matangi Island, near Auckland
- Brook Waimarama Sanctuary, near Nelson
- the Ngongotahā sanctuary, near Rotorua
- Ōrokonui Ecosanctuary, near Dunedin.