Community play area
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.