King's Birthday opening hours

12:00am 03 Jun 2024

Over the King's Birthday public holiday (Monday 3 June 2024) some of our facilities will be closed or have reduced hours.

Find out more
Tāhuhu kōrero


Pukekura Park, then known as the Recreation Ground or 'The Rec', was established in 1876. It was the vision of local lawyer, Robert Clinton Hughes who persuaded the Taranaki Provincial Government to purchase 12 hectares of wasteland 'near New Plymouth' as a recreational reserve.

All up, the new Recreation Ground was 21.85ha (54 acres), comprising lots that had been bought and land from closed streets.

It was only in 1907 that the name 'Pukekura' was bestowed upon the park. The stream that had been dammed to form the lake bore the name Pukekura, which means 'red hill'.

The original valley of the Pukekura Stream was 'a fern, furze (gorse) and tutu filled gully' which has been transformed over the years into one of New Zealand's best known public parks.

The park has steadily increased in size. The additions of Brooklands and the Maranui Gully in the 1930s made it 50 hectares in extent. The park was last enlarged in 2004 when NPDC bought 2.5ha from the Ministry of Education next to Highlands Intermediate School, bringing the park's size up to 52ha.

Pukekura Park was, for 53 years, controlled by an independent park board. Since 1929, it has been administered by New Plymouth Borough Council and its successors.

The park contains a unique amalgam of botanical environments, lakes, native forest and formal gardens which has long been viewed with pride by the residents of New Plymouth and Taranaki.