News | 13 October 2023
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Botanic Garden ki Paekākā play area renewal is springing into action

Renewal and upgrade work on the Botanic Garden play area is starting earlier than planned to make the most of the good spring weather.

Proposed design of Botanic Garden ki Paekākā play area

As part of its commitment to providing safe, exciting and engaging play areas to Pōneke, Wellington City Council is giving the play area at Wellington Botanic Garden ki Paekākā a much-needed upgrade. 


Design concept (10MB PDF)


In August 2022, after asking for pre-design ideas to upgrade the playground, Council received 831 responses. Further feedback on design concepts provided Council with submissions on themes ranging from adequate shade cover to making sure the playground suits children of all ages.  


There was also a workshop with Clifton Terrace Model School which got countless ideas and drawings from local tamariki – the local VIPs for this play area!  


Now, after incorporating all this feedback into the final design, the play area at Botanic Garden ki Paekākā is getting this well-deserved upgrade – after 22 years of delighting tamariki in its previous form. 


The start of construction has been brought forward from the original timeline of December and is now closed in preparation for work starting Monday 16 October, and weather permitting will reopen in February 2024. 


During this construction period, it’s recommended that people explore the other popular sites in the gardens like the Duck Pond, Rose Gardens and the Sound Shell lawn, plus the other play areas nearby like Kelburn Park on Salamanca Road in Kelburn, or Creswick Terrace Reserve and Glamorgan Street Reserve in Northland. 

Botanic Garden play area before upgrade
Botanic Garden play area before upgrade works

Key features of the renewed Wellington Botanic Garden ki Paekākā play area include: 

  • A 6m-high climbing tower with honeycomb features, plus three different slides coming off it, for various ages. 
  • Accessible features including different sensory play equipment, two musical panels, and a basket swing. 
  • Dynamic play equipment like two bee springers, a springer seesaw, and a carousel. 
  • More climbing options: a new senior timber challenge that leads to the tower, internal climbing options within the tower, and a set of monkey bars. 
  • A new double seated flying fox to replace the old one. 
  • Three shade sails. 
  • New safety surfacing throughout. 

With around 1.2 million visitors to Botanic Garden ki Paekākā each year, the play area is a very popular area and needs some TLC after so many years of service, says Councillor Teri O’Neill, Chair of Kōrau Mātinitini | Social, Cultural, and Economic Committee.

“The Botanic Garden play area has always been a beloved destination for Wellingtonians and visitors alike to enjoy, and we know the new play area will entertain tamariki and their whānau for many years to come. 

“We are committed to play areas that are safe, have elements of challenge and physical activity, and most importantly of all are fun – now that’s priceless.”

Wellington City Council has on average a 17-22 year cycle for playground renewals across the city. These are principally funded through the Long-term Plan and typically are depreciated over 15 years. This is in line with many other local authorities though the country.

A lot of thought and effort has gone into the design, based on some great feedback from the public says Council Play Spaces Specialist Matthew Beres.

“We’re excited to finally be at the delivery stage for the Botanic Garden play area renewal.

“The site has a theme of flora, featuring manuka flowers and the bees that pollinate them. We have incorporated these elements into the large tower slide, the sensory module, and the surfacing.” 

The new works schedule will take advantage of the spring weather to do some planting on the lower level of the Botanic Garden play area.

Taking advantage of the spring weather for planting, we have begun the adjacent installation of the new nature play space, ensuring that we highlight the natural local fauna and flora.

While continuing to scope the idea of a māra hūpara together with our Tākai Here partners, we are committed to ensuring this idea is delivered in the future, and in true reflection of our Tākai Here agreement within the play spaces network.

The project is estimated to cost $1.1 million and be finished in February 2024.