About the project
This project has been a long time in the planning, with public consultation on the playground design first taking place in 2015. The concept is actually based on a Wraight and Associates design submitted as part of a design competition held in 2006. The Resource Consent to redevelop the park was approved in December 2018. The playground was out for tender in 2019 and the tenders returned were significantly over the budget and the project had to be suspended.
In 2021 the $6 million project budget was approved to redevelop the playground. Work started early in January and the new playground is expected to be open in October 2022.
The new playground
The new playground will have a maritime theme, including an abstract waka and a tug boat – there will be plenty to keep tamariki busy!
With the redesign, we’ve integrated active, imaginative and cognitive play opportunities across terraced play spaces stepping up from the harbour’s edge. The terraced spaces will provide a variety of play experiences, some of which are specifically designed for different age groups.
The northern edge is framed by the waka play deck, and at the eastern end an abstracted boat bow seperates the playground from the waterfront promenade.
Some of the other features include:
- 5 swings, including a basket swing; inclusive mirage swing; toddler swing and two standard swings
- A new lighthouse play tower and slides, positioned to the western side of the playround
- A duel flying fox.
While there will also be some accessible play equipment and some easy routes for getting around with a wheelchair or a pram, it is important to note that not all of the equipment is fully accessible.
We have incorporated the advice we recieved from CCS Disability and Barrier Free during the design process. The idea is to provide accessible places and equipment for children and caregivers with disabilities, as well as providing opportunities for others to enjoy experiences on less accessible equipment. It’s about striking a balance. You can see the fully accessible and partially accessible equipment marked on the plan below.
The new configuration for seating provides a range of different spots for parents and caregivers to watch, and engage with children as they play.
Trees and shade
We have worked the design around many of the existing Pohutakawa trees so they can remain, while others were transplanted to different spots in the park back in November 2021 to make space. One of these trees will be transplanted back into the playground to provide shade. We are also investigating adding a shade element to the lighthouse tower.
A new name
Mana Whenua will gift a new name to the playground which will be formally unveiled at the opening ceremony.
Recycling the old playground
The decommissioned lighthouse will not be going to waste as it will be salvaged, diverting most materials from the landfill. The domed roof will be refurbished and reused on the new lighthouse along with the seagull. The chrome seashells and telescopes will be salvaged, refurbished and reused in the new playground. The lighthouse has been purchased by an interested party and the removal, relocation, and associated costs will be paid for by the new owner – and two donations of $1250.14 have been made to charities - Life Flight and Child Cancer Foundation.
Some of the rubber matting has also been salvaged along with some swings and chains for maintenance at other playgrounds.
November 2021 - Pōhutukawa tree transplantation to get the site ready
January 2022 - Whakamoe ceremony to put the whenua (land) to sleep, followed by works starting
October 2022 – New playground expected to be open
Frank Kitts Park Playground was first built in 1989 and has been a favourite spot to play for many children over the years. The time has come for a refresh, and we’re using that opportunity to completely redevelop the playground to make it future fit…and even more epic for the generations to come.
Who are we working with
Armstrong Downes Commercial Ltd
Project Manager - Frank Kitts Park
04 499 4444