Te Aro Mahana playspace at Frank Kitts Park

We’ve completed the new playspace and interactive waka at Frank Kitts Park.

Playground dome at Frank Kitts Park
The refurbished original cupola dome at the new Te Aro Mahana playspace at Frank Kitts Park

About the project

Te Aro Mahana playspace and Whetuu Maarama waka will be opened at an official dawn blessing on Thursday 29 February with Mayor Tory Whanau and mana whenua representatives.

Mana whenua - Taranaki Whānui ki te Upoko o te Ika has gifted the new playspace the name Te Aro Mahana, which translates as warm front. The name acknowledges the site’s enduring connection to Te Aro Pā by remembering the warmth and sense of belonging for Taranaki iwi to ancestral land.

The playground at Frank Kitts Park was originally scheduled to be redeveloped into a destination playspace in 2016. After delays due to several factors including liquidation of the original contractor, rising inflation and other cost pressures, the project was restarted in 2023 with a more modest design.

The new playspace has been designed as a series of interconnected play areas within a maritime and coastal landscape theme. The area includes a brand-new safer lighthouse with the refurbished original cupola dome, a series of climbing nets and swing sets, and a shaded seating area. The playspace has been designed in partnership with mana whenua.

Frank Kitts Park Playground design plan (1.94MB PDF)

The new interactive waka that lies at the heart of the rejuvenated space is named Whetuu Maarama, which translates as Bright Star. The waka was crafted by artist Matthew McIntyre-Wilson (Taranaki, Ngā Māhanga, and Titahi).

Contact us

If you have any questions please contact Liam Farrell, Manager Public Space Design.
Email: liam.farrell@wcc.govt.nz