Shorland Park

Shorland Park in Island Bay is close to the sea and has a popular playground and barbecue area.

Toddlers' playground at Shorland Park.
Shorland Park

Location: Island Bay

Entrance: Corner of Reef Street and The Esplanade

Brief description: Shorland Park in Island Bay is a suburban park with a coastal flavour. Bring your swimming togs on a summer day. Shorland Park is also the start / finish points for the City to Sea Walkway, which, if you have the energy, will lead you back to the city centre (5-hour walk).

Park features:

  • Playground with a great selection of play equipment, including a long slide 
  • Toddlers playground 
  • Pirate ship
  • Basketball half court
  • Public toilets
  • Changing sheds
  • Picnic area with tables 
  • Electric BBQs
  • War Memorial Band Rotunda 
  • Liberty swing

Toddlers’ playground

A render of the new separated toddlers’ play unit.
A render of the new separated toddlers’ play unit and safety surfacing.

We are replacing the current junior module and will install new safety surfacing around it, as it has reached the end of life and has non-compliance issues regarding the current NZ standards for playground equipment and surfacing.

We have planned to begin the work in May, with a view to completing the project by late June.


During public consultation for the main play area, we asked the community if they wanted to keep the two separate play areas, or have them combined. At the time, 56% of submitters asked for the junior and senior areas to be brought into the same vicinity. This was then incorporated into the final design, and installed in February 2022.

Since that time, we delayed deconstructing the old junior module to conduct observations on whether this equipment was still being used. It was made clear that a separated junior module within a fenced in area is still enjoyed by the community. Therefore, we have planned to replace the old unit with a similar module, using materials and colours in keeping with the rest of the renewed play area.

For any enquiries about the toddlers’ playground, contact:

Liberty Swing

The Liberty swing is located in Shorland Park, Island Bay. It is designed specifically for people in wheelchairs. The swing is locked to prevent misuse. To get the keys, contact the Parks, Sport and Recreation Newtown depot - 113 Russell Terrace, Berhampore (04) 389 0251.

War Memorial Band Rotunda

The War Memorial Band Rotunda is an iconic focal point of Shorland Park and is a significant heritage building in the suburb of Island Bay. Completed in 1930, the rotunda has occupied the same site and the same purpose for over 80 years. In 1996, the Council carried out a major extension and refurbishment that included the addition of a stage to the rotunda. Despite these changes, much of the original structure remains intact.

Parking: Reef Street
Accessibility: Easy access with sealed pathway
Dogs: Dogs to be kept on a lead and controlled by owner. No dogs allowed in the playground area.

  • In 1906, on a large portion of the eastern section of the land that today makes up Shorland Park, Mr G.H. Baylis built the Blue Platter Tea House. The large octagonal building, which provided accommodation as well as tearooms, dominated the foreshore and became a landmark in Island Bay. Alan Atkinson wrote that the building “was the closest the Bay ever got to the atmosphere of the famous English seaside resort at Brighton.”
  • In 1920, the first official proposal to buy land and establish a park in Island Bay was put forward.
  • In 1931, the Council acquired nine separate pieces of land on the block bordered by The Parade, Reef Street and The Esplanade. These nine Lots were amalgamated into one holding for the purposes of a pleasure ground. The land, which was part of the coastal dune system, was levelled out and grassed, and a section was set aside for a children's play area.
  • In 1934, a spectacular fire destroyed the Blue Platter Tea House, and in 1935 the Council bought the land, which was then added to the park.
  • In 1957, the Council bought the house and land at 17 Reef Street, the last section that remained privately owned.
  • In 1960 the house was demolished and the land added to the reserve.

Origins of the park's name

Shorland Park was named posthumously after J.O. Shorland, who had been an active member of the Island Bay community. From 1917 to 1921, he had been a Wellington City Councillor, and he later served as Deputy Chairman of the Island Bay Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Committee. As a member of this committee he was involved in the development of the War Memorial Band Rotunda. After retiring, he built playground equipment in the park. In November 1950, the Island Bay Progressive Association proposed the name ‘Shorland Park’, and in October 1951 the Council agreed.

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