When Pohangina Village was first settled the 13 acre/5.2 hectare Pohangina Recreation Reserve, commonly referred to as ‘The Domain’, provided a venue for social gathering of the community. Early photos show large numbers attending events with families picnicking and watching competitions such as wood chopping. Tennis courts were another attraction. This Village Green concept was adopted over many parts of New Zealand and provided an important connection point for the early residents.
Over time with the ability to travel more readily and advancing communication methods many of the public domains throughout the country ceased to be used for recreation.
In the case of Pohangina, the Recreation Reserve was leased as farmland throughout various local government regimes. Under the stewardship of Manawatu District Council (MDC) the income generated is used wherever the need is considered most warranted throughout the district.
In 2014, with the culmination of the Pohangina Valley Community Action Plan , community consultation confirmed what had been identified through Project Pohangina 10 years earlier; that local residents wanted a place for recreation. With the Domain classified as a recreation reserve the Pohangina Valley Community Committee (PVCC) decided with support from MDC to survey the community. In 2016 a questionnaire was developed by the PVCC to find out what they thought about the development of the Pohangina Recreation Reserve (Pohangina Domain) and to guide the next steps in its development.
Survey Monkey and Google Drive were used to collect and analyse data which showed unequivocal support for development of the Domain for recreation with a proportion of respondents also indicating both recreation and farming.
With the knowledge of the survey results, in 2017 a submission was put to MDC in support of developing the Domain. This was successful with financial provision of $5000 for the production of a Landscape Plan. This was completed by Pete Shore and Bruce Court and was presented, adopted and priorities set at a community meeting on 1 May 2018.
A period of ongoing development with two further successful submissions have occurred since, in 2018: $5000 per year over 3 years and in 2021: $10,000 per year over 3 years. Along side this there has been significant sponsorship by local businesses and service groups with the major sponsor being the Ashhurst Pohangina Lions Club. Added to this is the high quality stock management by the current lessee who works alongside fellow community members on this project. A detailed report of the Domain development describes the progress to date.