Parks & Open Spaces Guidelines

Sports Fields Development Guidance

Are you making the sports field surface decision for your organisation?

For many New Zealand councils, schools and sports clubs making the decision to invest in a sports field is a complicated balancing process, with many factors to be considered. For a start the amount money to be spent upfront and the associated on-going running costs are just a few. Then there are the myriad options available when it comes to choice of turf.

For example when is it best to use artificial turf or sand based grass fields or just keep the existing soil based grass fields?

Sport NZ and Jacobs have developed a guidance document that will assist sports field providers with planning, constructing and maintaining their fields.

Sports Field Guidance Document

Parks Management Handbook

The Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia has released the Parks Management: Inventories, Condition, and Performance Grading Practice Note 10.1 handbook that updates and improves upon park management guidelines developed in New Zealand in 1995.

If you are interested in parks management and wish to purchase the handbook, please visit their website or download their order form

Territorial Authority Best Practice Assessment Tool

Territorial Authorities (TAs) have responsibility for a range of sport and recreation activities. This includes sports fields and parks, reserves and open spaces, playgrounds and play spaces, swimming pools and leisure centres, as well as a range of sport and recreation programmes and services.

We've developed a best-practice guide to help TAs ensure they meet their responsibility to ensure their staff are well equipped, well supported, and have access to good information in order to make sound decisions about their investment in sport and recreation.

Territorial Authority Best Practice Tool and Guide for Sport and Recreation Departments

The purpose of the TA Best Practice Assessment Tool is to identify areas of good practice and opportunities for development and improvement across departments with responsibility for sport and recreation so that the investment in sport and recreation is maximised.

It is not intended that the results of the assessment be benchmarked against other TAs. The key value for many TAs will be in doing an initial assessment to establish a current position, developing an action plan and then reassessing at a future date to see the improvements made.

Research On Conflicts Between Maintenance Equipment And Landscape Trees

This University of Canterbury study, entitled Conflicts between landscape trees and lawn maintenance equipment - The first look at an urban epidemic, explores the impact of mechanical lawn care equiment on urban trees.


  • Mechanical wounding of trees by lawn maintenance equipment is quantified for the first time.
  • 62.9% of 1018 trees had at least one wound, 93.6% of 389 trees with surface roots have at least one wound.
  • 17.8% of trees had more than 10 wounds, 87.3% of these trees had surface roots.
  • Maintenance activities (e.g. mulch) significantly reduced the incidence of mechanical wounding.
  • Results justify the use of tree maintenance practices that keep grass away from the stem.
  • Reducing mechanical wounding will maximize ecosystem services from urban forests.

Download the full study

Guide To The Healthy Parks Healthy People Approach And Current Practices

A guide to the Healthy Parks Healthy People Approach was created in 2015.

The Healthy Parks Healthy People approach acknowledges that contact with nature is essential for human emotional, physical and spiritual health and well-being and reinforces the crucial role that parks and protected areas play in nurturing healthy ecosystems.

It acknowledges the vital importance of conserving and enhancing our natural world so that ecological processes, on which life depends, are maintained, and the total quality of life, now and in the future, can be improved.

The Improving Health and Well-being: Healthy Parks Healthy People stream at the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 was co-led by Parks Victoria, Australia, and the United States National Park Service. This stream was targeted at environment and health professionals and others with an interest in the fields of nature, human health and well-being.

This stream led to the production of a Guide covering the park management approaches, current international practices and projects, as well as the latest research.

Guide to the Healthy Parks Healthy People Approach and Current Practices

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