Hamilton’s Hare Puke Park playground has been named Playground of the Year at the Recreation New Zealand Green Pavlova 2019 parks sector conference held in Auckland this week.
The Hare Puke Park playground was opened to the public in July 2018, and was delivered by Hamilton City Council’s Parks and Recreation Unit.
Hare Puke Park is in Flagstaff, one of the fastest-growing suburbs of Hamilton. The Council had received numerous requests from residents seeking construction of a playground in their neighbourhood.
Maria Barrie, the Council’s Parks and Recreation Manager, says the award recognised the partnership between the Council and the community, and a commitment to build quality and unique play spaces for Hamilton.
The North East Hamilton Community Hub advocacy group led the public engagement on the design of the playground, which the Vibrant Hamilton Trust and WEL Energy Trust supported with grant funding.
Integral to the $1.01M project were the Council’s playground construction partner, Fluhler Contracting, design firm Bespoke Landscape Architects, with support from Playground People and Team Turf, an artificial grass specialist company, along with other suppliers.
Ms Barrie says the collaborative approach resulted in a comprehensive and challenging playground with a range of equipment, ensuring people of all ages and ability can enjoy the space. All key play activities – climbing, swinging, spinning, rocking and balancing and sensory play – are part of the playground experience. The playground also includes park furniture, shade, drinking fountains, accessible toilets and a scooter track.
“We wanted to continue the momentum created by a number of popular playgrounds installed around Hamilton in the past five years, with the goal to take the learnings of the previous projects and provide even better community outcomes.
“The park was designed with a view to be a meeting point for the families new to the area to mingle and be introduced in a relaxed atmosphere through their kids’ play,” she says. “The feedback we’ve had from the community has been overwhelmingly positive as well.”
“We’re extremely proud of the playground and the Recreation Association award, and the work of the team of staff responsible for it,” Ms Barrie says. “The team puts a major focus on delivering great outcomes and assets for our residents and we’ve achieved this with the Hare Puke Park playground.”