Play­ground unites Kaeo com­mu­nity

The Bay Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - JENNY LING

The lit­tle town of Kaeo has seen a huge com­mu­nity ef­fort cre­ate a colour­ful new play­ground for its fam­i­lies.

The new Whangaroa Com­mu­nity Play­ground is hoped to be­come the hub in the cen­tre of town. The pro­ject was co­or­di­nated by the Whangaroa Com­mu­nity Trust who worked with Far North District Coun­cil’s recre­ational ser­vices team to achieve the fun place for chil­dren.

It was a big team ef­fort, trust chair­man Eljon Fizger­ald says, ac­knowl­edg­ing the Bay of Is­land­sWhangaroa Com­mu­nity Board, Te Ru­nanga o Whangaroa, Pub Char­ity, Li­ons Club Kerik­eri, Glen Foster Con­tract­ing, the lo­cal Kaeoannes group and ‘‘ev­ery­one who sup­ported the com­mu­nity raf­fle to help raise funds for the play­ground’’.

About 100 peo­ple turned out to help spread the bark floor on Oc­to­ber 18. ‘‘I was so im­pressed by the com­mu­nity turnout,’’ Fizger­ald says. ‘‘When we put the call out seek­ing help to spread the bark we had no idea that the whole town would turn up with wheel-bar­rows, rakes, tar­pau­lins and paint brushes. Young and old, peo­ple from all walks of life came to help. It was a won­der­ful dis­play of our ‘small town – big spirit’ mantra.’’

The pro­ject came about when Fitzger­ald and his two-year-old grand­daugh­ter vis­ited Kaeo’s old play­ground - two swings and a climb­ing frame - last year. ‘‘I thought ‘there’s noth­ing for them to do’. I made con­tact with the Kerik­eri Li­ons Club and said ‘this is the state we’re in here, can the Li­ons get be­hind us’. It was good tim­ing, they had a sec­ond hand play­ground in stor­age.’’

The play­ground was of­fi­cially opened on Oc­to­ber 28. Com- mu­nity Board mem­ber Bruce Mills is thrilled with the re­sult. ‘‘It’s a lit­tle play­ground but it’s brought the whole com­mu­nity to­gether. I haven’t seen any­thing like it for I don’t know how many years.’’

Mum Te­rina Smith says she’s happy her two tod­dlers have some­where de­cent to play. ‘‘They’ve got some­where to play and I’ve got some­where to take them. They love all the colours.’’

Fitzger­ald plans to in­stall pic­nic ta­bles and a bar­be­cue area in the fu­ture. ‘‘The com­mu­nity is al­ways lifted by pos­i­tive things and this is one of them.’’

Aiyana, 2, Tan­giora, 1, and Aunty Hinemoa ap­pre­ci­ate the new play­ground in Kaeo.

Lots of lo­cals turned out to spread the bark around the play­ground.

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