A large park provides a well-integrated mix of active and passive recreation opportunities, whilst protecting its native bush and maintaining its rural character.
Totara Park is a 216 hectare gem offering adventure play, walks and bridle trails, riding for the disabled, tennis courts, an open air swimming pool, mountain bike tracks and the heritage building, Beauford House, which is used for weddings, conferences and other private functions. The park is dog-friendly with both on-leash and off-leash areas. The park is located next to the Auckland Botanical Gardens, and near the Nathan Homestead, a historic building and arts centre.
The 12 km Puhinui Stream Forest Trail is an important local asset and there is an ongoing project to restore the stream and develop a walkway linking Totara Park and Puhinui Reserve.
Manukau City Council acquired Totara Park in 1965 from the owner after agreeing to protect the bush and preserve the park for public use and enjoyment. Since that time, significant amounts of local funding have been used to develop facilities at Totara Park, which is a regional treasure. A reserve management plan was developed for the park in 2001, and development in line with this plan has been delivered progressively over time. The primary objectives outlined in the reserve management plan include:
- To provide for and encourage a range of outdoor recreation activities and uses throughout the park.
- To protect and enhance the ecological integrity and natural qualities of the park.
- To extend and enhance the character of Totara Park as a 'countryside' park and confine development to specific areas.