Project summary

What we're doing

We're redeveloping Boyes Park and the old Founders Theatre site into a multi-purpose park for recreation, play, rest and other outdoor activities in the central city. The park will include connected pathways, flat grassed areas for rest and play, shady trees, and the refurbished Dame Hilda Ross Memorial fountain.

The new park will also include interpretive signage that celebrates the rich history of Boyes Park – its time as an arts and performance space with Founders Theatre, and its significance and history to mana whenua in Kirikiriroa.

This project will happen in three stages:

Stage 1: Enabling works and planning
Stage 2: Demolition works and detailed park design
Stage 3: Development of multi-purpose park

Why we're doing it

Boyes Park is in the heart of the West Town Belt, a 54ha band of open space stretching from Lake Rotoroa (Hamilton Lake) to the Waikato River. It was also home to Founders Theatre, which was closed in 2016 due to building safety issues.

Council explored several options for Founders Theatre and engaged with the community several times before making a decision. In 2023 Council voted to pull it down and redevelop the area into a multi-use park.

This project will

  • Provide a multi-purpose, open community space

  • Be part of a connected belt of parkland in the city

  • Honour the history of the area

Frequently asked questions

What will be there instead of Founders Theatre?

A multi-purpose park that connects the green space of the central city. Exactly what that park will look like will be worked through in Stage 2, during the detailed design process, but we know it will include connected pathways, flat grassed areas for rest and play, shady trees, interpretive and wayfinding signage, and the refurbished Dame Hilda Ross Memorial Fountain.

What's the West Town Belt?

The West Town Belt is a 3km long stretch of green space in the central city, encompassing 10 parks, the historic Hamilton West cemetery, FMG Stadium Waikato and Seddon Park. It's one of Hamilton's largest continuous open spaces, and provide a green link between Lake Rotoroa and the Waikato River.

The West Town Belt Masterplan outlines a 30-year plan to guide the development of the Belt, "stitching" it back together and enhancing the value of the connected green space for the community.

What's happening to the trees in the park?

All the large existing trees surrounding the theatre building will be protected throughout the work and will become important features of the new park development. The nikau grove on the southern side of Founders Theatre will also be retained. There are a few small trees growing very close to the building that will need to be removed.

Will the work impact events at FMG Stadium Waikato?

Demolition work will stop during key sporting events at Seddon Park, including the international cricket matches over summer. None of the works will affect FMG stadium, however there may be increased traffic in the area throughout the project, so we advise allowing extra travel time.

Will any elements from Founders be kept?

Yes, we've removed several items from the theatre, including stage curtains and dressing room doors, and donated these to theatre community groups who wished to keep them. The Dame Hilda Ross Memorial Fountain will also be repaired. We'll also repurpose and recycle materials as much as possible during the project, including making a table from the wooden stage that will live at the Waikato Regional Theatre.

Will it be noisy?

This is a big project and it will generate some noise. All work will be done 7.30am - 6pm, Monday to Saturday. We expect Stage 2, the demolition to take 6 - 7 months which is when you can expect to hear more noise.

We have strict controls about noise levels in place, and we'll be monitoring this regularly. If you have any concerns about noise, please reach out to us directly at

Will there be road closures?

At this stage we are not planning to close any roads around the work site. There will be some increases in traffic while the work is underway, so please plan your travel accordingly. We will update this page and our key stakeholders if anything changes.

How are you minimising waste?

Reusing and recycling materials as much as possible is a key focus of this project. We're aiming to minimise the amount of waste going to landfill and will have targets in place that we'll regularly monitor.

We're exploring how we can reuse materials, for example, repurposing concrete for roads, and reusing the timber from the Founders stage for a table that will live at the new Waikato Regional Theatre.

How are you managing asbestos?

Health and safety are our top priorities when it comes to removing asbestos, and we're following strict regulations throughout the process. We are using a certified asbestos removal company, and they will be independently monitored.

How are you managing dust and debris?

We follow best practices and strict regulations of Work Safe and New Zealand Demolition and Asbestos Association (NZDAA) in how we manage dust and debris. This includes dust suppression machines and water spray fixtures on equipment to minimise dust.

What about water restrictions over summer?

We're expecting a hot, dry summer, so we're planning now to ensure that we can continue to work if water restrictions kick in. We need to use water to control dust, so we're exploring using tanker-supplied water in the summer months, which won't impact on Hamilton's water usage.


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Last updated 24 January 2024