Eleven new trees will be planted by the NZ Transport Agency and Whangarei District Council in Mander Park this Friday (25 May), the first stage in a series of improvements to the park.
The 11 trees - which stand 6 to 8 metres - include two Tulip trees, five Plane trees and four English Oaks.
They replace 11 mature trees that were removed last month. They were growing in a part of Mander Park required for an upgrade of sections of State Highway 1 through central Whangarei.
"The plantings are a symbolic beginning to a new future for Mander Park, and we want them to become just as important in the community as the old trees were," says the NZTA's State Highways Manager for Auckland and Northland, Tommy Parker.
Whangarei's Mayor, Morris Cutforth, says he hopes, and believes, the plantings will mark the beginning of the healing process for those who grieved for the mature trees, and will herald a new era of increased use of the park by the community.
"It is still a beautiful place in the heart of the city, and I am sure people will continue to enjoy using it in the years to come," Mr Cutforth says.
The mayor and Mr Parker say the community is welcome to join the NZTA and the Whangarei District Council at Friday's planting. The event is due to start at 9am, and will be led with a traditional blessing by the Te Parawhau Trust.
Other improvements to the park - which include upgrades to the playground and stream, more footpaths, and improved parking in Wilson Road - are planned for the winter.
The SH1 projects include safer facilities for walkers and cyclists, widening the highway, and smoother traffic flows at intersections.
Mr Parker says they will help ease congestion, which will support economic growth in and around Whangarei by making it easier for people to travel.
"Enabling works along the corridor - SH1/ SH14 and Selwyn to Fourth Avenue are currently underway, ensuring that the current network is secure and once funding is available, projects are able to begin," Mr Parker says.