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Lawrie Cooke Reserve Playground

Lawrie Cooke Playground bannerNew reserve and playground for Lyndhurst

The residential development of Lyndhurst has resulted in a new reserve for the area; a space where neighbours can relax and children can play. The playground, seating and shade will be installed on the reserve in early 2022.

Jan and Lawrie Cooke

Jan and Lawrie Cooke

The naming of the reserve

The new green space sits within an area that was once a fruit tree nursery, developed by noted Hastings nurseryman Lawrie Cooke.

Mr Cooke established a number of nursery sites across on what we know today as Lyndhurst and wider Frimley, starting in the late 1950s, firstly growing asparagus and roses before specialising in fruit trees for the orchard industry.

Among other accolades he was recognised for his contribution to the industry in 2004, being made a life member of Summerfruit NZ. In 2008 he was awarded life membership of the Hawke’s Bay Fruitgrowers Association.
 
His wife Jan joined in the day-to-day running of the business, L.E Cooke Nurseryman Ltd, from 1959.

The pair’s legacy lives on with their son and daughter-in-law Martin and Kelli Cooke now running the business, today one of the longest surviving fruit tree nurseries still operating in New
Zealand. They grow up to 300,000 fruit trees of a wide variety each year, distributing them nationwide.
 
Although the area has changed a lot since those early days, they say the naming of the reserve is a way to preserve their links to the area. “The grandchildren will be proud to think there’s a reserve and playground named after their grandad.”

Lawrie Cooke Playground MapThe playground

The new reserve fronts onto Matariki Avenue. It will serve as a relaxing green space for Lyndhurst and wider Frimley.

As well as play equipment that is fruit tree-inspired – apple red balancing balls, ‘fruit bin’ climbing frame and slide and play tractor - the plan includes a mini orchard.

Subject to contractor availability, the playground will be installed in early 2022.

 

Artist impression

Laurie Cooke Reserve artist impression

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