Playground unites Kaeo community
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.