Our Auckland – The health benefits of green spaces

Our Auckland – The health benefits of green spaces

There are some key points in Council’s own article shown below; it reminds that we need to create options to help get through the short term so we can move together to our shared long-term strategy. Council don’t appear to disagree with needing greenspace, but they need more money right now. A point so important right now is the need for more trees to help stem climate change – maybe we offer to help plant another 50 trees around the ForthFoot Lane Reserve boundary to help the Mayor’s One Million Trees programme goal?…

From the below article, “The research analysed the activities of 12,500 New Zealanders, including 2500 Aucklanders, and found they were less likely to be overweight or suffer from obesity if they lived close to a park.”


The health benefits of green spaces

Published: 1 May 2019

An increasing body of evidence suggests that a closer connection to nature is good for our heads, our hearts and our lungs. But as Auckland grows, our precious green spaces and trees are increasingly under threat. In the first part of a three-part series for OurAuckland, Elly Strang looks at the many benefits green spaces bring to the health of our people and our city.

Humans have long believed that being in or around nature has healing properties. But the idea was previously more intuitive than evidential – a warm glow rather than hard science. Now, with large-scale public-health problems such as obesity and depression being linked to a rise in technology, a disconnect from the outdoors and more time spent inside, researchers are showing renewed interest in the topic, and studies from around the world are finding that those who live close to green spaces enjoy positive impacts on both their physical and mental wellbeing.

The science behind green wellbeing

A new Danish study has found that when children grow up with green space around them, they have 55 per cent less risk of developing a range of mental-health problems later in life. Researchers from Aarhus University found that the more greenery a person is exposed to up to the age of 10, the lower the risk of 16 mental disorders, including anxiety and depression, even when controlling for factors such as socio-economics and urbanisation.

“Our findings affirm that integrating natural environments into urban planning is a promising approach to improve mental health and reduce the rising global burden of psychiatric disorders,” the study’s authors say.

Closer to home, a team led by University of Canterbury professor Simon Kingham has studied the effects of public and private green spaces on physical health. The research analysed the activities of 12,500 New Zealanders, including 2500 Aucklanders, and found they were less likely to be overweight or suffer from obesity if they lived close to a park.

“Globally, nearly every study I’ve read says the more green space you’ve got near where you live, the better your health is,” Kingham says. “Park creation and planting in existing public spaces may serve as low-cost disease prevention options.”

In its 10-year budget released last year, Auckland Council boosted funding for parks, open spaces and community facilities to $3.7 billion, with $1.4 billion set aside for acquiring and developing public open spaces and parks. This was ahead of infrastructure as the single biggest increase within the budget.

Improving equity of access to green space

Kingham says another finding of his team’s study was that people in lower socioeconomic areas tended to have less access to good-quality green spaces. “All green space is not the same.”

This is why Auckland Council’s Urban Ngahere (Forest) Strategy is vital to the health of the city. It aims to address the unequal distribution of trees across the region and increase the benefits of a green city for all.

Find out more about the Urban Ngahere Strategy

It also aims to undo some of the damage done by urbanisation, rising inequality and climate change. The plan is to increase Auckland’s average tree-canopy cover from 18 to 30 per cent, while targeting areas where cover is scarce, such as parts of south Auckland, so that all local board areas have at least 15 per cent cover.

Councillor Penny Hulse, chair of the council’s Environment and Community Committee, says Auckland’s rapid urban growth has swallowed up native bush and open spaces.

“It hasn’t always been the norm to replant trees in areas that have been developed since the 1980s,” she says. “With higher-density housing we’ve lost a lot of urban trees, as people haven’t always valued them as much as they should.”

Hulse says so-called “leafy suburbs” have fantastic tree cover, but the urban canopy is not evenly distributed across Auckland. In some neighbourhoods, streetscape planting – where trees are planted along the roadside – is also lacking.

“The amalgamation of Auckland’s former councils means we get to look across the whole region to see where those gaps are,” she says. “Among the lowest on the canopy cover statistics are places like Ōtara and Papatoetoe. We’d like to make them as leafy as the suburbs in Waitematā, not just because it’s beautiful, but because it’s better for communities.”

‘Knowing, growing and protecting’

The Urban Ngahere Strategy is underpinned by a three-pillar framework: knowing, growing and protecting. This involves tracking the size, health, condition and distribution of trees around Auckland and increasing the number to boost the benefits and address inequity, while also protecting existing trees.

Hulse says local boards are organising planting in areas that have been degraded, and Mayor Phil Goff’s Million Trees programme is a great example of a planting project making big strides. Under the scheme, 648,000 trees were planted around Auckland in the first two planting seasons, and the millionth tree is being planted in Tōtara Park on 14 June. Auckland Council collaborates with a range of groups on the plantings, from schools, to community groups, to prison inmates.

“We’re getting huge numbers of volunteers for planting,” Goff says. “They’re not as fast as the professionals we use, but they’re there and ready. It’s all about what you want to leave as a legacy. I went and planted 50 native trees, and I’m going to take my grandkids back there and show them the trees when they’re 30, 40, 50 metres high. People get a thrill out of that and know we’re undoing some of the damage done; they see it as a way they can make a difference.”

Hulse says planting more trees now is crucial to combat growing inequity as the climate gets warmer.

“Climate change is talked about as an inequity magnifier. In other words, the people most vulnerable to climate change are those at the challenging end of the social scale, and if you look at where the least tree cover is, it’s the vulnerable areas. Internationally, it’s been shown that communities who live in areas where there are lots of trees are able to adapt to warmth more easily, so let’s address those two things together.”

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Urban green spaces and health. A review of evidence.

Urban green spaces and health. A review of evidence.

Urban green spaces and health. Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe, 2016.

Key points from the document below, reinforce the positive effects of urban green space:

  • “…there are many public health benefits through diverse pathways, such as psychological relaxation and stress reduction, enhanced physical activity, and mitigation of exposure to air pollution, excessive heat, and noise…”
  • The evidence shows that urban green space has health benefits, particularly for economically deprived communities, children, pregnant women and senior citizens.
  • “…The available evidence suggests that there is also a need for small, local green spaces very close to where people live and spend their day, as well as large green spaces, offering formal provisions such as playing fields, and opportunities to experience contact with nature and relative solitude.”
  • “A city of well‐connected, attractive green spaces that offer safe opportunities for urban residents for active mobility and sports as well as for stress recovery, recreation and social contact, is likely to be more resilient to extreme environmental events…. Such a city is also likely to have healthier citizens, reducing demands on health services and contributing to a stronger economy.”
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Improving access to GREENSPACE – a report by Public Health England

Improving access to GREENSPACE – a report by Public Health England

Many, many good points in the paper below, presented by Public Health England, which reinforce why it’s so important to keep our green spaces – especially in the times of COVID-19; some key statements from the paper include:

“Evidence shows that living in a greener environment can promote and protect good health, and aid in recovery from illness and help with managing poor health.”

“Greener environments are also associated with better mental health and wellbeing outcomes including reduced levels of depression, anxiety, and fatigue, and enhanced quality of life for both children and adults.”

“‘Natural capital’ can help local authorities address local issues that they face, including improving health and wellbeing, managing health and social care costs, reducing health inequalities, improving social cohesion and taking positive action to address climate change.”

In contrast, the paper states “When local health priorities are not reflected within the Local Plan, it can be difficult to make the case for specific planning standards to be implemented to address health needs, or to defend planning decisions made on health grounds.”

“Despite this, it can be challenging to make a compelling case, and often greenspace is still seen as a liability rather than an asset.”

We MUST urge Council to prioritise our community’s local health!

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New signs!!!

New signs!!!

New signs at end of Boulevard and FortFoot Lane – and by the driveway to the Pakuranga Sailing Club off Bramley Drive…….Thank you!!

Encouraging words from our Minister of Conservation – Hon Kiritapu ‘Kiri’ Allan

Encouraging words from our Minister of Conservation – Hon Kiritapu ‘Kiri’ Allan

Mayor receives petition opposing reserves’ sale

– The Times 1 March 2021

A group of passionate local residents battling to stop the sale of four east Auckland public reserves have shared their message with Auckland’s mayor.

Auckland Council wants to dispose of green spaces it owns at 111R Golfland Drive, 9R Fortyfoot Lane, 76R Aberfeldy Avenue and 31 Aspiring Avenue/17R Hilltop Road.

The Howick Local Board voted late last year to retain the reserves but the council’s finance and performance committee overrode it and voted to put them up for sale.

The move is part of an effort by the council to raise money through its emergency budget.

A lengthy legal process, which involves final signoff by the Government, must be worked through before the reserves can be sold.

Among the people opposing their sale are Botany MP Christopher Luxon, Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown and Howick ward councillors Sharon Stewart and Paul Young.

A group of east Auckland residents are doing what they can to stop the reserves from being sold.

They circulated a petition signed by people from more than 450 local households calling for them to be kept in public hands.

Five of those residents recently wrote to Auckland mayor Phil Goff to highlight their concerns regarding the sale of the reserve in Golfland Drive.

Goff wrote back to them on February 22 saying revocation of the parks’ Reserves Act status is among the statutory processes that must be completed before they can be sold.

“The revocation requires public consultation, which is scheduled to commence in the near future and provide 30 days for the public to provide feedback,” Goff says.

In his letter Goff also acknowledged receipt of the residents’ petition, which was given to him by Howick ward councillors Stewart and Young.

“I have passed this petition to the staff responsible for the management of the public consultation process so that it can be considered as formal feedback, before a final decision is made.”

A spokesperson for Conservation Minister Kiri Allan told the Times there is “quite a process” to go through before any decisions on revoking the parks’ reserve status are made.

“In considering the revocation and disposal of reserves the council is required to follow procedures set out in Section 24 of the Reserves Act, including an initial consultation with the Department of Conservation (DoC).

“Following that, if the council wants to proceed that decision will then need to be publicly notified.

“The council would then send a copy of any objection to DoC, with a resolution from council in relation to those objections.

“The final decision on whether to revoke the reservation has been delegated to officers in the department by the minister.

“The minister may decide to withdraw that delegation, however in most cases it is DoC that will make that decision only after careful consideration has been given to the purpose of the reserves, the content of any objections and council’s views in relation to the objections.”

The spokesperson says DoC’s decision will be based on the council’s report of its assessment of those objections.




The Council has now given notice of how to make submissions to oppose their plans by the end of March. If we don’t get as many individual submissions as possible in time, our greenspace will be lost.

Please see the attached notice and a form to provide your feedback about why you think we need to keep our reserve for the community. Please write your submission, as well as any you can gather from friends and family, on the attached form and either send direct to Council by email at PropertyReview@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz or by email to me; drop it off to 8 Treeway, Sunnyhills, or text us and we will happily send to Council by email and courier.

Submissions close at the end of this month, so we ask that you please act NOW.

If you have any questions, need more forms, or would like any help with creating a response, please just email or text us, and we will be more than happy to help.

Together we can STOP Council taking away this valuable part of our community

Council’s public notice is available at https://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/have-your-say/public-notices/Pages/Proposed-Reserve-Revocations-2R-Ti-Rakau-Dr,-Pakuranga-9R-Fortyfoot-Lane-Sunnyhills-76R-Aberfeldy-Ave,-Highland-Park-.aspx

我们需要你的帮助,请协助保护我们的绿地和公园 !!

我们需要你的帮助,请协助保护我们的绿地和公园 !!

奥克兰市政府计划出售位于9R Fortyfoot Lane以及附近其他的绿地用于房屋的开发与建设。

我们要尽可能避免我们的公共绿地和公园变成下一个房屋开发地, 这不仅是为了我们的社区,更是为了我们的下一代。随着越来越多的土地在Fortyfoot Lane这条街被分割开发并且建造新的房屋,这块绿地对于我们来说是一个不可多得的生活与休闲的场所,如果我们不阻止这些绿地和公园被出售,恐怕越来越多的绿地和公园将会从我们周围消失。


奥克兰市政府的详细通告请查看邮件附件, 请尽可能的让你的朋友和家人一起参与进来,把您的意见以及保护我们的绿地的原因一起填写在邮件附件里的表格中, 填写完的表格你可以直接发送至奥克兰市政府邮箱PropertyReview@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz 或者发送邮件至我们的群众代表邮箱berniejessiman@xtra.co.nz 如果你有需要任何关于提交表格的帮助,你也可以填写并放在 8 Treeway, Sunnyhills的邮箱中,或者通过021 487 589 这个号码联系我们,我们非常乐意帮助你一起提交给奥克兰市政府。





***SUNNYHILLS RESIDENTS – WE NEED YOUR HELP*** Save Our Fortyfoot Lane Reserve

***SUNNYHILLS RESIDENTS – WE NEED YOUR HELP*** Save Our Fortyfoot Lane Reserve

Fortyfoot Lane reserve is being sold by the Council .

We cannot let this happen for our community and for future generations. If we don’t stand up and stop our reserve being sold, more of our area’s parks, reserves and greenspace will continue to be taken away.

Our reserves are used for family time, relaxation, and exercise for us and our pets – but this will all be taken away from us and our kids, and from new families joining our neighbourhood if we don’t act NOW. The Fortyfoot Lane reserve is also home to beautiful birds such as Tui and Parrots.

Our greenspace is becoming more and more valuable as more buildings are developed in and around Sunnyhills.

All of this will be taken away if we don’t all act NOW.

Together we can stop the reserve being taken away by each of us sending as many individual submissions to the Council as possible (submissions are expected to open in the next month or so). Creating your submission won’t take long, and we are happy to help with anything you need.

We are also asking to gather any stories and photos about the reserve being used over the years, as well as any photos of native birds in or around the reserve, so we can send them to support our plea to Council.

We have our local Councillors’ and MP’s support however without your individual submission, the Council will not listen. Please urgently text or phone your details and willingness to support to Bernie Jessiman on 021487589
For your photos or stories, or any other questions, please email Bernie at berniejessiman@xtra.co.nz

Together we can STOP Council taking away this valuable part of our community