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Frank Kitts Park
Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand

Project Team

Landscape Architect: Wraight + Associates
Architect: Athfield Architects
Chinese garden expert: Duncan Campbell
Illustrations: Stantiall Studio

Client : Wellington Waterfront Limited
Project Status: Current


Project Summary

The 2007 Wraight + Associates collaboration with Athfield Architects and Chinese garden expert, Duncan Campbell, culminated in the winning design entry for the redevelopment of Frank Kitts Park. A key waterfront park, Frank Kitts connects Jervois Quay and the city’s CBD to Wellington Harbour.

Project Objectives

  • The park proposal recognises the need for green open space within the central city at the harbour’s edge whilst harnessing opportunities to create a diversity of experience and localised connections.
  • Integration of a new harbourside Chinese Garden for the city of Wellington.


Key Features

  • Promotes diversity, a ‘folded’ spine of circulation structures and connects a sequence of spaces: The Chinese Garden, The lawn, Children’s playscape; and the filtration field.
  • The circulation spine employs techniques of revelation and veiling to playfully manage experiences and narrate the site’s stories.
  • Using elements of the existing park’s fabric and function along with an overlay of contemporary materials and programme, the proposal re-orientates the park’s focus toward the harbour and realises Wellington’s long-planned Chinese Garden.
  • Key to the design is the delicate balance struck between the intensively detailed Chinese Garden and the refined simplicity of the park’s other spaces and promenades that rely upon the established robust language of Wellington Waterfront finishes.


Key Areas

    The playground will be enlarged and consolidated at the northern end of the park, where it is at the moment, and where it will be set amongst a garden of new plantings.
    The iconic lighthouse will be upgraded, and a variety of new adventure equipment will be added in a way that accommodates all ages, and levels of ability. And there will be more places for parents and caregivers to watch.
    One of the great   opportunities for the park is to open up the lawn area to the harbour where the existing amphitheatre is. This open lawn  will be the only grassed parkland on the waterfront that faces  the sea, and will be large and flat enough to accommodate large events. It will be surrounded on three  landward sides by plantings, earth mounds and walls to ameliorate the effect of the wind. Beside Jervois Quay there will also be wetlands to cleanse stormwater. There will be plenty of new seats for everyone to enjoy this space.
    The Upper Lawn, located above the existing car park, will provide a quieter grassed area for activities, and will be linked by better stairways to the promenade. At the edges, open-walled shelters will provide seating and weather protection. The vibrant shops and cafes will continue to operate underneath, serving the activity of the promenade.
    Our proposal includes the development of a small part of the park for a contemporary Chinese Garden.
    The Wellington Garden will be unique. Its design is rooted in the principles of Chinese garden landscape and architecture. The experience will entail a journey through chambers that tells the story of the Chinese in Wellington and New Zealand: the journey of the Chinese community from immigrant to settler. It may be considered that this is indeed the journey of other migrant communities.
    It is appropriate that we celebrate our relationship and friendship here. We want to do this with one of their most profound artistic and cultural imports – a Chinese Garden.