The Valley Walk is intended to represent the 'Naturalistic / Aesthetic Style'. This style is characterised by the use of plant material that is indigenous to the region although not necessarily sourced from local seed.
Planting is supposed to be appropriate to the habitat so where possible it functions according to the principles of the natural ecosystem. In theory this should mean less weeding, less use of chemicals, more layer of plant growth and more plant diversity. So while the planting is artificial it should appear reasonably natural.
The main feature of the 'Naturalistic / Aesthetic Style' is that it's usually planted over a man-made landscape. It's usually created to integrate both resource protection and natural processes with the practical and aesthetic requirements of the site.
In New Zealand, the recent trend towards using natives can be traced back to the Naturalistic Style.
The Naturalistic Style is usually understood to have originated in the early part of the 20th Century with Jens Jensen and other American landscapers. There were two main parts to the style: firstly, the rediscovery of native plant material and its potential for garden design, and secondly, the careful observation and dedicated recreation of the patterns found in nature.
As the Valley Walk winds along the hillside, a prominent structure is revealed amongst the native trees.
The Suffrage Pavilion was commissioned in 1993 to mark the centenary of New Zealand becoming the first country where women gained the vote. The concept originated from members of the Waikato Women’s Suffrage Committee, gaining support from Hamilton City Council and the Department of Conservation, as well as a grant from the Suffrage Centennial Trust. Project supervisor was Hamilton City Council engineer, Ngaire Kingsbury.
The pavilion is a simple, open-sided structure and its striking blue colour is mirrored in the pond below. It is intended to be a place to meet and reflect.
Planting in the area highlights flora used by Maaori women for healing, weaving and food. The bricked terrace and retaining wall are designed to replicate traditional weaving patterns. Viewed from a distance, the brickwork echoes the shape of a kete (woven basket). This is symbolic of food-gathering and also the three baskets of knowledge in Maaori culture.