OPINION: Today, Press launches its support for a campaign to have Åtautahi Christchurch recognized as a national park town.
It is a global movement aimed at enhancing the natural environments of our urban areas, where half of the world’s population now lives. It aims to find ways for people to work together to improve their urban environment, spend more time outdoors, connect with nature and thereby improve the health and well-being of all who live. in the city.
A national park town does not require any changes in the law. This is not akin to the status of our national parks, say Fiordland, Abel Tasman or Kahurangi, but is inspired by a similar philosophy of protecting and enhancing the environment.
There are requirements, the first being that the majority of those who live and work in the city buy into the idea of ââbecoming an officially recognized ânational parkâ.
* The new leaders of change: it’s time to act on climate change
* How Christchurch lost his tÅ«Ä«, and how to bring them back
* Make Christchurch Garden City a National Park
* The children of Christchurch who have never seen the sea
The campaign was launched by two of Christchurch’s leading environmental activists, Colin Meurk and Hayley Guglietta, and is supported by Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel and Environment Canterbury President Jenny Hughey.
Today is a good day to reflect on the future we want for Greater Christchurch. It’s the 11th anniversary of the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that struck before dawn, starting a sequence of tremors that would kill 185 people and change our city forever.
This is the time to reflect and take stock, but also to move forward and think about the city we want to rebuild for our children and grandchildren, a city where every child has the opportunity to play. outside safely, enjoy the shade of a tree, hear birdsong, see the sea, the hills and the mountains.
Christchurch is ideally placed to become a national park city as it has many wonderful outdoor spaces, a rich diversity of landscapes and a variety of native trees and birds. But many of our native species are vulnerable to development and climate change and will become extinct if not protected.
We are proud to be known as the Garden City with the wonderful asset that is Hagley Park, a large and varied park in the heart of Christchurch.
But not all suburbs have an abundance of trees, well-maintained playgrounds, and green parks.
There are children in Christchurch who have never visited the sea or walked our Port Hills, as City Missioner Matthew Mark tells it Press.
To be recognized as a national park town, that has to change.
It is important to be committed to equity of opportunity, a city where all residents are encouraged and enjoy spending time outdoors in contact with nature.
Our experience of earthquakes and lockdowns linked to Covid-19 reminded us of the importance of our external environment for our health and well-being as well as for that of all.
As Hayley Guglietta puts it, Åtautahi Christchurch is a city that has suffered a lot of trauma and has increasingly become a city of haves and have-nots. This campaign aims to unite us around a common vision of a green city that works for the well-being of all those who live there.
So join us in supporting this campaign by going to press.co.nz/nationalparkcity and signing the Universal Pledge for National Park Cities around the world. This indicates that we will work together to better:
- Life, health and well-being
- Wildlife, trees and flowers
- Places, habitats, air, water, sea and land
- Outdoor time, culture, art, play, walking, cycling and eating
- Local food and responsible consumption
- Make decisions, share, learn and work together
- Relations with nature and between us
Support to make Christchurch a national park city
Joanna Norris, Managing Director of ChristchurchNZ
âChristchurchNZ is delighted to support the exploration of the idea of ââmaking Åtautahi Christchurch the first town in Aotearoa National Park. We are New Zealand’s original Garden City with incredible urban green spaces such as Hagley Park.
âAnd then there are the ones we are building for future generations, like the ÅtÄkaro Avon River Corridor. Our Green City is a showcase for the benefits of a city where nature and people connect with the heart of a thriving urban center.
Jon Sullivan, Lincoln University ecologist
âThere are as many native species in the greater Christchurch area as there would be in any of our national parks. [But] they are not abundant, they are all on the margins in these small patches of vegetation here and there, often in difficulty. They must be more visible, they must be better looked after.
âI think having Christchurch as New Zealand’s first national park city would be a fantastic way to say that we care about these things, and we’re going to think about how to build a city that cherishes all of our people and enables this. who was here before we arrived to thrive around us.
Author and illustrator Gavin Bishop
“[A National Park City is] absolutely awesome. I love this ideaâ¦ We call ourselves the garden city, but in reality there are large areas of the city that are just devoid of trees and green spaces and things like that. And I think it could be improved enormously â.
Bridget Williams, Founder of Bead and Proceed
“In 2015, Aotearoa New Zealand adopted the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a framework that serves as a global enterprise to create a more sustainable world by 2030. Despite the adoption of the SDGs, few people know they exist, and we’re even going backwards on some of them.
âThis project aligns with several SDGs such as protecting wildlife and trees connecting to SDG 15: Life on land, green spaces and urbanization are linked to SDG 11: Cities and towns. sustainable communities, promoting locally sourced food and responsible consumption connects to SDGs 2: Zero Hunger and 12: Sustainable consumption and production. The indirect benefits of these SDGs will impact our health and well-being, which is linked to SDG 3: Good health and well-being and the collective action of all, this underpins SDG 17 : Partnerships for the goals.
âLike the objectives themselves, this project links social, economic and environmental issues. Making Åtautahi a national park could be the impetus we need not only to implement the SDGs but also to be a city that leads by example and as we are in the Decade of Action we need more champions than ever.
Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel
âI think the initiative is a perfect fit for Garden City in New Zealand. Local residents have raised their hands to plant days and work bees to clean our rivers and streams for years, so I expect people to be eager to see what they can do to make this initiative happen. a reality.
âPeople told us they wanted to get involved in improving the environment. So not only does this give us a boost to increase the opportunities for people to get involved, but the environment itself will benefit from these activities. Coming together as communities to make this happen is a challenge we can take on, and we know we can be successful. “
Christchurch City Missionary Matthew Mark
âI think the initiative is incredibly positive. I think [it] would have a positive impact on the way our beautiful town of Åtautahi is presented and received by our population at large, and even in the world.
“But I think probably more importantly, this shift in perspective in our own community here, where we have a sphere of influence, will also be a lot more positive, encouraging people to actually engage and get out.”