Com­mu­nity play area

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS -

The de­vel­op­ment of Wai­tan­girua Com­mu­nity Park has been judged the best in New Zealand for out­stand­ing com­mu­nity en­gage­ment.

Wai­tan­girua res­i­dents drove the de­vel­op­ment of the park, to cre­ate a heart for the sub­urb on un­der­used land.

Res­i­dents worked along­side Porirua City Coun­cil staff, from con­cept to con­struc­tion.

The project has been named the New Zealand re­gional win­ner for Aus­trala­sia of the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion for Pub­lic Par­tic­i­pa­tion IAP2 Project of the Year 2011 Awards. The over­all Aus­tralasian win­ner will be named in Oc­to­ber.

‘‘This is fan­tas­tic recog­ni­tion for the project to de­velop Wai­tan­girua Com­mu­nity Park, which was a gen­uine part­ner­ship be­tween the com­mu­nity and the coun­cil,’’ says Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett.

The project was also an im­por­tant fea­ture of Porirua’s Gold Award wins for Com­mu­nity En­gage­ment at the In­ter­na­tional Live­able Com­mu­ni­ties Awards last year.

‘‘None of this would be pos­si­ble with­out the amaz­ing sup­port we have from hard­work­ing res­i­dents, who put so much time into these projects.

‘‘ In par­tic­u­lar, in Wai­tan­girua huge thanks must go to Moana Tuariki and a team of com­mu­nity vol­un­teers who drove the project from be­gin­ning to end, with enor­mous sup­port from across the whole the com­mu­nity.’’ Mr Leggett says Porirua res­i­dents are proud of what is be­ing achieved through the coun­cil’s Vil­lage Plan­ning Pro­gramme.

‘‘ We want to share that story of suc­cess with the world, so oth­ers can learn from it.’’

The IAP2 is de­scribed as the in­ter­na­tional pro­fes­sional body for prac­ti­tion­ers in pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion and en­gage­ment. The awards recog­nise and en­cour­age projects at the fore­front of pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion.

Wai­tan­girua Com­mu­nity Park was of­fi­cially opened in De­cem­ber 2010.

Its de­sign and de­vel­op­ment was driven by the com­mu­nity, with sup­port from the coun­cil.

De­sign work was done by school­child­ren dur­ing spe­cial school pre­sen­ta­tions, and by the wider com­mu­nity at com­mu­nity fairs and work­ing days.

Those draw­ings were de­vel­oped into a park de­sign which was signed off by the com­mu­nity. And once con­struc­tion be­gan, res­i­dents were closely in­volved in plant­ing and paint­ing days.

Themes for the park were trans­lated into carv­ings that adorn the park and a mas­sive Wa­haroa that acts as the park en­trance way.

Mean­while, the south­ern wall of the mall is be­ing pre­pared for the paint­ing of a large mu­ral, and an artist is work­ing at telling the story of Wai­tan­girua through mo­saic art.

A grant of $5000 from Hutt Mana Char­i­ta­ble Trust will go to­wards a climb­ing rock, and lights have re­cently been in­stalled to keep the area flood­lit un­til 10.30pm.

An up­grade of the toi­let fa­cil­i­ties is also planned in the com­ing months.

Award-win­ning: Ray­mond Smith, from Wai­tan­girua, en­joys the new play­ground equip­ment at the com­mu­nity park’s open­ing in De­cem­ber last year. The park is now up for an Aus­tralasian award.

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