Opening of redevelopment, Kennedy Park, Napier

  • Mark Burton

Kennedy Park is unique, certainly from a tourism point of view.

Kennedy Park was established 63 years ago, in 1937, originally covering three acres. It was owned by the Napier City Council and was best known as a family camping ground, with a few cabins and some motel-type units.

Over the years Kennedy Park grew to cover 14 hectares and became the largest single provider of accommodation in Hawke's Bay.

Six years ago the Park was purchased by the local authority trading enterprise, Napier Tourism Facilities, which through its parent company, Napier City Holdings, is wholly owned by the Napier City Council.
The fact that Napier has established LATES to operate in the tourism sector is, in itself, unique – most other LATES in New Zealand are for service delivery in activities such as roading and engineering.

This year, after being a four-time finalist, the Kennedy Complex won the Holiday Park section of the New Zealand Tourism Awards.

These are New Zealand’s most prestigious tourism awards and the win reflects the huge effort, from staff and the LATES, to develop Kennedy Park into a superb tourist destination for both domestic and international travellers.

It demonstrates the commercial focus and culture developed in the new working environment of the LATES, where customer service is a top priority.

Many other tourism operators have also improved their standards in what has become a very competitive industry – which makes winning the award even more noteworthy.
Wholesalers booking and buying tourism accommodation are looking for something very special, and visitors themselves are becoming more discerning.

Earlier this year Kennedy Park also won an inaugural brochure award from the New Zealand Holiday Parks Association, which represents more than 400 holiday parks around the country.

Kennedy Park also picked up the Hawke’s Bay Chamber of Commerce Regional Tourism Award 2000 – it's certainly been a winning year!

Kennedy Park has undergone extensive redevelopment under the new ownership and new style of management of the LATES, which encourages innovation, commitment to quality, flexibility and a willingness to change to be able to cater to the changing needs of both domestic and international travellers.

Significant redevelopments carried out in recent years have greatly enhanced the property, and I understand further work is planned.

The improvements have been carefully designed not to destroy the ambience of Kennedy Park and as well as proving a winner with the guests, have also proved a commercial success.

I am told that Napier Tourism Facilities Limited, which owns Kennedy Park, achieved a record profit before tax of $346,000 in the year to June, 32 percent ahead of last year.

Napier Tourism Facilities has returned more than half a million dollars to the Council over the past four years.

We have here in Napier an excellent example of the role local government can play in encouraging tourism development, that benefits everyone, local residents and visitors alike.

Kennedy Park doesn’t aim to be a narrow, five star property. The Park promotes itself as a “bed for every budget”, offering motel style accommodation, through to camp sites.

It has set a standard that offers value for money and reflects well on its staff, a supportive Council and Hawke’s Bay as a whole.

I am delighted to officially open the Kennedy Park Top 10 Accommodation redevelopments.