News - 28th November 2022

Porirua parkrun on the move

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Porirua parkrun is on the move to a new location – and with it, a new identity.


A $136 million development of 2,000 new homes near Bothamley Park means the park will be out of action for up to two years to enable wastewater infrastructure works.


The parkrun is one of New Zealand’s oldest, having started in July 2013. Whilst the park is off-limits, Porirua parkrun will be closed.


In its place will be Ara Harakeke parkrun, in nearby Plimmerton.


For Porirua parkrunners with long memories, it’s the site of the alternative course in 2017 when there were previous works in Bothamley Park.


“Some of our parkrunners are really disappointed to have to leave Bothamley Park,” said co-event director, Simon Derbyshire.


“It’s a nice shady run, sheltered from the wind, but people understand that we’ve got no choice and are pleased that we will continue.


“Our local council are really supportive of our event and have gone out of their way to make sure other works have been completed in time to allow for parkrun on a Saturday but this is quite a big job.


“We’ve known this day will come for about two years, and luckily we already had the alternative course that our founding event director, Astrid Van Meeuwen-Dijkgraaf, scoped out.


“We’ve had to make a couple of changes to that but I think it will be a course that people find social. It’s also close to the train, toilets and the cafe.”


The Ara Harakeke pathway is 9km long and runs between Pukerua Bay and Paremata Railway Stations in the Wellington region.


The parkrun starts at the Plimmerton end, just past the truck stop.


It’s an area known as Taupo Swamp, which is a protected lowland freshwater mire. Here is the sea of harakeke that the path is named after, which was once harvested for milling in Foxton.


“It’s going to be very different to the Bothamley Park course, which is an off-road surface and uphill for most of the first 2.5km, as well as sheltered.


“This new course is also out and back but predominantly flat and on tarseal. It’s a paperclip shape, we have a longer out and back then a shorter out and back section so it will be quite social.”


The last parkrun at Porirua will be on December 3 and Ara Harakeke starts on December 10. Because it’s a new location it has a new name and will start from event #1.


Porirua will in the meantime be marked as closed, but the intention is to move back once the park is reopened.


“We’re sad we’ll miss Porirua’s 10th birthday but we will still celebrate it at Ara Harakeke.”


Alison King

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