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Straddling Greenmeadows and Tamatea, this major passive reserve is used by people from all parts of the city. The children's play area is a great drawcard. In recent years, the Hawke's Bay Model Engineers Club have established a miniature railway system in the southwestern area of the park.
The wide open spaces make this a very attractive venue for large-scale events such as circuses and kite-flying festivals.
Part of the waterway system is a refuge for wild life, and in June 1967 the Council moved to legally protect the bird life by passing a bylaw.
School parties explore the water ecosystems for their botany and biology studies. Local schools also use the park for cross-country running and orienteering activities.
Interest groups such as dog obedience clubs and the Model Marine Club make use of the park.
Girl Guides, Scouts and harriers have their headquarters within the park's boundaries.
The city's largest passive recreation park was once the home of the Napier Park Racing Club, formed at Greenmeadows in 1886. Racing ceased here in about 1960 when the club moved to Hastings for race days.
The Council acquired the old racecourse site in 1962 under the Public Works Act. Development work got underway in 1966 with the formation of over two hectares of waterways.
Tree planting and ground formation work was done to improve surface drainage and create an interesting landscape on an otherwise flat site. Before the 1931 earthquake, several saltwater creeks crossed the park area, leaving a legacy of salt-laden soils. That, in turn, has influenced the choice of trees and helped determined where they should be planted.
The children's play area was developed jointly with the Napier Lions Club, and parking areas were created at key points.
A $40,000 bequest from the late Haskell Anderson was a considerable help in developing the park. In particular, the funds have seen the establishment of as wide a selection of trees as possible.
Combined pedestrian and cycle paths created in 1980 have greatly boosted the public's use and enjoyment of the park.
Accessed from car parks off Auckland Road and Taradale Road. On the Tamatea side of the park, roadside parking is available on York Avenue and Freyberg Avenue.
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