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Revamped all-abilities playground earns Kāpiti top award

12 May 2023, 4:19 PM

The revamped Lorna Irene Drive Reserve playground in Raumati South on the Kāpiti Coast has taken out Playground of the Year at the 2023 New Zealand Parks Awards hosted by Recreation Aotearoa.

The playground, which was completed in February, includes New Zealand’s first wheelchair seesaw, other wheelchair-accessible equipment including a roundabout and tower, sensory play opportunities, and a safe space for all to enjoy. There is also an inclusive swing donated by Kris Dahl and her son Cyrus, who has cerebral palsy. Their fundraising efforts have seen seven inclusive swings donated to playgrounds across the Wellington Region.

“We’re pretty chuffed to see our work recognised - especially as some of the projects we were up against had more than six times our budget,” says Gareth Eloff, Parks, Open Space and Environment Manager for Kāpiti Coast District Council.

“We clearly heard during consultation on this project that our community wanted to see inclusive play equipment for children of all ages and abilities – and that’s exactly what we delivered.

“We worked closely with playground builder Creo to bring that feedback to life in new and creative ways, and our community have really embraced it with open arms.”

Council operates 49 public playgrounds in neighbourhoods across Kāpiti, and selects a number each year to refresh and upgrade based on the lifespan of existing play equipment. Lorna Irene Drive Reserve was one of three playgrounds renewed in 2021/22.

More on Lorna Irene Drive Reserve playground at Lorna Irene Drive Reserve