There are a large number of parks and reserves in the South Waikato District. Every year, hundreds of people - residents and visitors alike - visit these areas to enjoy the natural beauty of the region. Many of these places are named after the people who either donated their own land for this use or who were strong advocates in getting the projects off the ground.
This reserve is named after the Ireland family who farmed the land prior to the area being subdivided. Family members still live in Tokoroa.
Located: Corner Baird/Paraonui Roads, Tokoroa
Lake Moana Nui
This reserve surrounds the man-made lake constructed by the Matamata County Council in 1974/75. The name moana nui means big water.
After an initial environmental assessment in 1969, a proposal for a five hectare lake that would include the Matarawa Stream was put forward to the Tokoroa County Borough of the Matamata County Council. This land was vested as a Recreation Reserve in the then Matamata County Council on 15 February 1973. The successful tender to develop the area was awarded to H Allen Mills & Son Ltd in 1974. Construction of the lake and associated earthworks took the better part of a year and, upon completion, the lake was filled in July 1975.
The development of the lake surrounds began with the construction of car parks and tree planting. Local service clubs became involved with the construction of bridges, pagodas, picnic areas, paths, playground equipment, a paddling pool and retaining walls. The majority of these projects were undertaken using volunteer labour, with Council contributing to the cost of materials in most instances.
In recent years a walkway has been constructed around the lake and the lake itself refurbished. Our Friends of the Lake group are active in maintaining the reserve alongside Council's Parks and Reserves team.
Located: Arawa Cres/Maraetai Rd, Tokoroa
David Foote Park
This reserve takes its name from David Foote, a long-standing member of the Matamata County Council 1971-75 and the Tokoroa Borough Council. Mr Foote, formerly a South Waikato District Councillor, owns Footes Furnishings and has lived in Tokoroa since 1955. For many years he was Chairman of the Tokoroa Borough Council Parks and Reserves Committee and has strongly supported the development of reserves for many years.
Located: Mossop Rd, Tokoroa
Hassall Gardens (Commerce/Logan Street)
These gardens are named after Jim Hassall who lived in Tokoroa from 1926-1994. Mr Hassall was particularly interested in schools and road safety. He served as a Borough Councillor for many years and along with his wife, was a stalwart member of the Red Cross. Mr Hassall was a keen local historian.
Located: Commerce/Logan Streets, Tokoroa
James Higgins Park (Princess Street/Beatrix Avenue)
This park was named after Jim Higgins MBE, who was the Mayor of Tokoroa from 1966-1979. Mr Higgins steered Tokoroa during its years as a County Borough and its difficult passage to autonomy. He was drawn into Tokoroa politics through his interest in the town's Parks and Reserves Policy. He became a member of the County Town Committee in 1961. Persuaded at the last minute to stand as Town Committee Chairman in 1965, he was elected to that position. This was in the interval between the first and second readings of the Tokoroa Town Empowering Bill. When the Bill became law, Mr Higgins became Mayor of New Zealand's first County Borough and, at 34, was the youngest Mayor in the country.
He was a strong advocate of Tokoroa's welfare in the subdivision funds dispute in 1973, which was finally resolved in 1977. He was Mayor of Tokoroa Borough during its first four years of independence.
Located: Princess St/Beatrix Ave, Tokoroa
Dunham's Park is named after George Dunham, a Matamata County Councillor from 1941 to 1956. Mr Dunham was involved with the growth of Tokoroa in many ways. He was the first Chairman of the Tokoroa County Town Committee, took part in plans to set up a newspaper in the town, and supervised state housing in Tokoroa in the early years. He resigned from Matamata County Council in 1956 over a question of his freedom to report Kinleith rates discussions back to the County Town Committee. One of Tokoroa's farming pioneers, Mr Dunham came to the District in 1933. He became a Tokoroa Riding representative on the County Council in 1941, and continued in that position until 1956. For seven of those years he was Deputy Chairman.
Located: State Highway 1, Tokoroa
This park takes its name from the Strathmore District in Scotland and was named by Scottish-born, Sir David Henry.
Located: Strathmore Dr, Tokoroa
Tokoroa Memorial Sportsground
The Tokoroa Memorial Sportsground is named in honour of the "fallen" during the Second World War. This park was extended by the Agricultural and Pastoral (A&P) Association in 1968, when it donated seven acres of land to the Matamata County Council. The donation was on the understanding that the A & P Show could have its use, and that of the adjoining Memorial Sportsground recreation reserve, for one week each year at no cost, to hold their annual show.
It is recorded that these seven acres were originally donated to the A & P Association on 18 June 1957, as a gift from Virginia Mossop. Hence, seven acres of the present Sportsground was indirectly a gift from the Mossop family to the local people. The Mossop gates to the Sportsground are a memorial to the Mossop families.
The Tokoroa Memorial Sportsground is home to the South Waikato Sport and Events Centre.
Located: Mossop Rd, Tokoroa
Jim Currie Park
Te Waihou Walkway
The Te Waihou Walkway offers people a five kilometre walk through lush pasture land alongside the Waihou River. Visitors can view Te Puna (Blue Spring), famous for the bottled water, Pump, which is sold commercially throughout Australasia. The crystal clear water flows through green pasture and surges through two sections of rugged gorge. The completed walk allows otherwise unavailable public access to amazingly blue pristine waters. Historical sites, and significant geological features wrought by ancient volcanic action are major features. The walkway was officially opened by the Prime Minister, The Rt Hon Helen Clark in April 2000.
Recently swimming in the Blue Spring environment has had a significant negative impact on this delicate environment. Swimming in the area is strongly discouraged by Council, the Department of Conservation, neighbours and local iwi Raukawa.
Located: Whites Rd, Putāruru
Located just south of Waotu township, the Jim Barnett Reserve offers visitors and residents the chance to meander along two tracks through some ancient native New Zealand bush. Both tracks are easy walking with a few short, steep bits. There are a multitude of tracks meandering through and around the reserve.
Located: Waotu Rd, Waotu