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Butterfly Walkway takes flight at Aotea Lagoon

Butterfly Walkway

Sarah Field releases a monarch butterfly at the opening of the Butterfly Walkway.

Sarah Field’s vision has become a beautiful reality.

On Wednesday, Porirua’s Butterfly Walkway at Aotea Lagoon was officially opened. It has 128 memorial plaques and brightly coloured mosaics laid – with space for more in the future - commemorating babies and children that have passed away.

Sarah, who lives in Ranui, was inspired by a Butterfly Walkway in Nelson, where she laid a plaque for her daughter Lilly Marie, who was born in 2013 at just 22 weeks and lived for a little more than two days.

She said her proposal to Porirua City Council for a walkway at Aotea Lagoon was met with enthusiasm and the process has been a smooth one to get the walkway built.

“Satisfying is the right word to describe how I feel – the council have been hugely supportive and what we’ve ended up with is beautiful, far better than what I dreamt,” she said.

Sarah said the last thing she wanted was a “graveyard”.

“I wanted people to come away feeling at peace, that it was a wonderful way to remember our children. It has been amazing watching this come together.

“It is a bit of a taboo subject but something like this opens up conversations.”

Porirua City Council Parks Manager Olivia Dovey says it has been gratifying for the parks team to utilise their skills and be involved in the project.

“This is a lovely addition to our city’s parks and we’re so happy that we could realise Sarah’s dream. It’s a credit to our team, the walkway looks stunning.”

Porirua Mayor Mike Tana says a place like this is important in such a young city.

“It feels good to have this walkway in Porirua.

“Sarah has done an incredible job and I’m delighted the council could make it happen. What a stunning spot for reflection.

“It is painful to lose a child but this walkway is one way to help heal that loss. Now we can have something to remember our precious babies by and I love the fact the noise of the playground is nearby.”

Along with Porirua and Nelson, Auckland’s Purewa Cemetery has a walkway to remember children that have died, and Sarah is hoping to get similar projects going elsewhere in this region and around the country.

During the ceremony this morning, a group of tagged monarch butterflies were released. If you see one, you can log its location at www.monarch.org.nz/introduction-to-research/report-a-sighting/

27 Jun 2018