Parana Park is a children’s playground located on Memorial Drive in Hamilton East.
Parana Park, was gifted to Hamilton City by George Parr. In his will Mr. Parr gifted the house located at 3 River Road to be used as a home for children recovering from illness. The land surrounding the house was to be used as a children’s playground. It became apparent that home was not suitable for a children’s convalescent home and the 1958 Hamilton City (Parana Park) Empowering Act was established to give the Council more control over managing the park.
The name Parana does not have anything to do with piranhas in the pond. That is a joke. The name came from a combination of Mr. Parr’s name and that of Annie McPherson who planted the trees on the property.
In April 2012, the playground reopened after an extensive upgrade, which included new paths, sculptures and a viewing platform.
The park has been designed with a kōwhai theme. There is a 300-jet fountain shaped liked a kōwhai seed, a slide shaped like kōwhai flower and viewing platform overlooking the Waikato River shaped like a kōwhai leaf.
Kōwhai tress are a small legume trees with yellow blooms native to New Zealand. Kōwhai is also the Māori word for yellow, a reference to the colour of the flower. Although not officially recognised the kōwhai flower is often seen as New Zealand’s national flower.
There is also a small amphitheatre, playhouse and an aviary in the park.