And last weekend was no exception. As we head into a season of larger community events – such as Newtown Festival, Capital-E Children's Day, Destination Play Kilbirnie and Strathmore Play Day – it is wonderful to appreciate the smaller neighbourhood events that connect us back to fond childhood memories of playing in the street.
Jeypore Street in Berhampore was a hive of activity on Saturday as it was closed to traffic, with local residents and their whānau working hard to plan and deliver a full day of fun and games.
Event organiser Mark Johnston says he and other locals had been dreaming up a neighbourhood event since the COVID-19 lockdown.
“We had lots of unstructured play activities, people spending time together chatting, everyone was really happy. I was able to meet some new people from my street, and I could see others strengthening old friendships.”
Mark says the event showcased the “strong neighbourhood spirit” and was a way that could help communities and children feel safe and welcomed.
“I am really proud of how well we worked together as a community and how involved everyone was.”
The event was community led and supported by Wellington City Council's Parks, Sport and Recreation (PSR) team, with a full Traffic Management Plan in place.
Play Advocate Peta McMillan says it aligned with PSR’s focus on promoting play and was a celebration of one of Wellington’s vibrant communities.
“All children deserve to access green and open spaces, and if you don’t have much of a backyard, it's a nice idea to get together with your neighbours in shared spaces.
“We hope that as a result of the Play Days we are hosting around Wellington, whānau will be inspired to keep play time simple, creating more space and time at home, while exploring how they can say ‘yes’ more.
“Simply allowing kids to play more with less structure, is essential to a healthy development. Kids learn to set their own boundaries and create their own rules amongst their play peers,” Peta says.