Young Jamie gives up gifts for play­ground

North Harbour News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - CAL­LUM MCGIL­LIVRAY

Waimauku’s new­est kids’ hot spot is of­fi­cially open.

For­mer prime minister John Key of­fi­cially opened the wildlife themed play­ground, along­side Waimauku’s Jamie Har­nett who de­cided he didn’t want any presents for his fifth birth­day.

In­stead, he wanted a play­ground in Waimauku.

Jamie had the hon­our of be­ing the first child to go down the big slide.

He man­aged to raise $350 in Septem­ber last year, con­tribut­ing to the play­ground’s to­tal cost of about $280,000.

Ever since the ad­ven­ture play­ground was un­veiled on Fe­bru­ary 25, ’’there’s been peo­ple there ev­ery day’’, Gra­hame Ed­monds says.

The Waimauku Lions Club trea­surer said the open­ing went very well, af­ter a long wait to get where it is now.

The play­ground was largely funded by the Waimauku Lions Club, coun­cil, lo­cal busi­nesses and res­i­dents.

‘‘The big­gest thrill was all the moth­ers that came up to me and thanked us for build­ing a play­ground.’’

The com­ple­tion of the project is a re­ward­ing feel­ing for the club, and the play­ground has turned out ‘‘bet­ter’’ than ex­pected, Ed­monds says.

‘‘I had a woman tell me that she feels it will be a fo­cal point for peo­ple.

‘‘It will be a place to talk and to get to know ev­ery­one.’’

A few hun­dred peo­ple turned up to Fresh­fields Re­serve to test out the slide, monkey bars and swings.

The open­ing was cel­e­brated with a gala, live en­ter­tain­ment, stalls, a bouncy cas­tle, a clown, food and drinks.

Kumeu-based equip­ment provider, Playco Play­grounds, was in­volved in the de­sign and build process.

It’s theme is wildlife, tak­ing in­spi­ra­tion from the Lions’ club logo.

The front fea­tures ac­tiv­i­ties for young chil­dren and a jun­gle gym, a slide and swings in the mid­dle with the back de­signed for older chil­dren, in­clud­ing a fly­ing-fox.

The area is not lit up at night but there is shaded seat­ing for sunny days.

The Lions club would like to add a bar­beque and maybe a cricket pitch onto the re­serve in the near fu­ture, Ed­monds says.

The ad­ven­ture play­ground is lo­cated on Fresh­fields Re­serve, Fresh­field Rd, Waimauku.

DANIELLE CLENT & CHRIS BRITTENDEN

Kids en­joy the new Waimauku play­ground, in­set, Jamie Har­nett.

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