It’s play time!
Community space in Marfell officially opens
A space in New Plymouth for children to ‘‘stretch themselves, push themselves, learn to fall down and learn to get up’’ has been officially opened.
The Marfell community area on Cook St was launched on Wednesday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by hundreds.
The space was blessed by Haydn Te Ruki and Shane Cassidy of Nga¯ ti Te Whiti and the crowd, which included children, parents, key sponsors and district councillors, was entertained by a dance troupe and kapa haka performers.
District Mayor Neil Holdom was as excited to see the space opened as the tamariki who cheered while he spoke. The space is kitted out with a brand-new playground and a half-sized basketball court.
‘‘This is for you,’’ Holdom said. ‘‘You guys are incredible. When you look around and look at all of these adults, we love you. We are so proud of you and we are so excited about what you’re going to do in the future.’’
Nine-year-old Lexus Opetaia lives two doors down from the park and was now a frequent flyer on the flying fox.
‘‘We used to just go to the school and play but now we all come here,’’ the Marfell Community School student said.
Classmate Jericho Nuku lived around the corner and said he and all of his friends liked to ‘‘play with the hoop and play knock out.’’
‘‘And all the people love the spider swings,’’ he said.
Father-of-six Hendrix Rawiri has lived in the area since he was a youngster and while he wished the recreational space was around while growing up, he was happy knowing his children would benefit from it.
‘‘It’s awesome for the kids. It keeps them active and out of trouble.’’
Jess Oka said the upgrade was long overdue.
Since being established it had already worked to reunite the neighbourhood with many people now using it as a meeting place, she said.
‘‘And on birthdays we can just roll down the road, light it up and away we go.’’
The play area, made possible with an almost $300,000 donation from the TSB Community Trust, was the first step in a project to rejuvenate the park and was created in consultation with community groups and Marfell residents, who got to vote on their preference for the new play equipment.
It was built on the site of two former Housing New Zealand homes, including one damaged by fire, that were scheduled for removal or demolition. NPDC bought the homes in 2016 to create a welcoming new entrance to Marfell Park.
The NPDC had started a discussion with the community on the future of the BMX track, which has been unused since 2016.
The project also included a new home for Rangimarie Ma¯ ori Arts and Crafts Society after NPDC approved a concessional land lease for a site just below the BMX track.
‘‘It’s awesome for the kids.’’
Opening of the new Community Space in Marfell, New Plymouth.
The play area was made possible with an almost $300,000 donation from the TSB Community Trust, and was created in consultation with community groups and Marfell residents, who got to vote on their preference for the new play equipment.