Frank Kitts Option C
Option C looks like a real wildcard:. In contrast to the slick presentation and hard lines of the other entries, it has a homespun look and messily organic structure that really stands out. It's also the only one that doesn't "incorporate" a Chinese Garden; instead, Chinese elements and feng shui principles are spread throughout the whole park.
I'm actually surprised how much I like it, given my modernist tendencies. It works hard to break down the monotony of the long promenade, and to bring the land into the water and vice versa. It restructures the carpark into a circular configuration, slightly reducing the total number of parks while setting a café into the northeast side of the raised area. It has a lot of detail and complexity, but within a strong organising framework that respects the city grid more than it seems at first glance. It appears to take Chinese, Maori and European cultural signifiers much more seriously than some of the entries, there's a lot of sheltered space, and it actually looks quite fun.
Surprisingly, this may be the scheme that has the least open green space, since all of the yellow-shaded area seems to be hard landscaping. This may not appeal to those who want a game of football or to stage a big event, but it creates a lot of sheltered nooks and crannies for quiet contemplation and picnics. It plays around a lot with sinuous grass berms, to the extent of having one snaking up to the TSB Arena, though I doubt that it and a small stage would be enough to humanise the edge of such a nasty building.
But despite all that, and despite my guarded admiration for mad old hippies like Hundertwasser, this all looks too twee and Seventies for my liking. If it wasn't for some of the more technical accompanying diagrams, I'd have assumed this was a school project, and while it has some admirably inventive ideas (such as the curving breakwater and the dragon boat display cases) the plan as a whole looks too amateurish. There's something about all the circles, triangles and squiggles which, while full of symbolism and a nice change in some people's eyes, just seems to set up a discord with the urban context.