Installed to aid in the rehabilitation of patients, the mobility garden originally comprised a collection of paths, steps, ramps and handrails. The various ground finishes help to develop tactile senses and stability in movement. Although the functional requirements of the TDHB Mobility Garden were completed as part of the Project Maunga development of Taranaki Base Hospital, in 2013 the Taranaki Health Foundation Trust prioritised fundraising efforts to upgrade the facility to also include weather protection and visual and sensory enhancements.
Representative of life, growth, and wellbeing; the tree structure developed brings an element of joy, relaxation and reflection to the foreground of the otherwise practical utility of the Taranaki Base Hospital. The tree’s purposes extend beyond the aesthetic; providing protection from both sun and rain, increased seating provisions and support for climbing plants. A seamless integration of architectural form and outdoor furniture blends function and aesthetic into a cohesive design element. The Hero’s Walk that defines the garden space provides interpretive signage to recognise the contributors to health services near and far and enhances the path from the car park to the hospital main entrance. The development includes scented planting for inclusion of vision impaired people and a future sculptural fountain for both sound and visual aspects is also proposed.
The prominent location of the garden means it serves as an entry feature, enhancing the arrival to Taranaki Base Hospital.