Girls’ Leave a Playground Legacy

April 12, 2019 at 3:13 PM

Girls’ School students shared a proud moment today as they took part in the official opening of the Wairua Reserve Playground that they had helped design three years ago.

It all began in 2016 when, as Year 5 students, they started a social science inquiry on ‘Continuity and Change,’ with a focus on the use of green spaces and natural resources in Auckland. During the process of investigating how communities interact with their local environment, they noticed how under-utilised the Reserve across the road from school was; and so it became the focus of their enquiry.

The students created their own suggested models of development and wrote letters to Auckland Mayor, Phil Goff, explaining their project, and why it would be effective to develop the area.

Left feeling inspired and proud of their designs, the class invited Orakei Councillor at the time, Desley Simpson in to view their projects, in the hope they could become a reality. Ms Simpson was so taken back by the girls’ ideas and reasoning behind them that she sparked a visit from the Deputy Chair of Orakei Local Board, Mr Kit Parkinson, who also visited the girls. After questioning the girls about their ideas, Mr Parkinson presented the ideas to the Local Board who agreed to develop the park, putting $130,000 towards it. Before proceeding, Council members met with the students to discuss designs and what they thought would be appropriate to put in the Reserve.

In 2017, Park Central Playground Consultant, Mrs Tina Dyer ran through designs with the students before they agreed that they should utilise the dense trees and open reserve, as it would make for great natural play. Council members then took the design back to the Board to be signed off. Weeks later, three of the girls were asked to design three arches to be built in the park.

Students, Isabella Hayes, Charlotte Massey and Issy Gittos researched and submitted various ideas to the council before deciding they would go with a ‘Kiwiana, natural environment’ theme in conjunction with all things ‘flora and fauna’. The Council liked their ideas and specified the colours they could use: orange, green and yellow. The arches were painted and installed at the Reserve in 2018.

Now, three years later, the park is open for play. What a fantastic way of leaving a legacy! Well done to all the students who were involved. You can now call yourselves playground designers!


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