Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Award-winning playground fills skies with ‘laughter and joy’

Photo: Dan McLaughlin.
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Local Democracy Reporting | Free Public Interest News Service

By Torika Tokalau, Local Democracy Reporter

New Zealand’s tallest play tower, in the heart of south Auckland, has been recognised for two prestigious architecture awards, cementing its reputation as one of the best playgrounds in the country.

Hayman Park (Manu-kau Noa Iho), which opened last July and cost $10.8 million to upgrade, scooped the planning and urban design award for its 12.8 metre-play tower and kiosk in the Te Kāhui Whaihanga New Zealand Institute of Architects Awards.

It also won the excellence award in the play spaces category for the 2024 Resene New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects (NZILA) Awards.

Manukau Ward Councillor Lotu Fuli was proud of the park’s achievement as a destination playground.

“During my time as chair for Ōtara-Papatoetoe local board, it was always a priority to deliver play spaces that are fit for purpose, inclusive and of high quality,” Fuli said.

“We always believed that our community deserves beautiful as well as functional facilities.”

Photo: Natasha Hill/NZ Herald.

Hayman Park’s upgrade was part of the Transform Manukau project led by Eke Panuku, in collaboration with the Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board.

Fuli thanked all key stakeholders for being open minded and listening to the community’s feedback for the upgrade.

“Congratulations to the planning and design team and architects who brought the ideas and aspirations of our communities to life.

“The greatest reward, is seeing our tamariki and their families enjoying the playground, their laughter and joy filling the Manukau skies.”

The park is designed to be a unique and inclusive playground, with natural play, early-childhood focused play, and the tallest play tower in the country.

Its bright colours in the rubber surface and timber detailing drew influence from its Pasifika communities celebrating Manukau’s diverse culture.

Ōtara-Papatoetoe Local Board chair Apulu Reece Autagavaia said Manukau City Centre had the bones to be a great metropolitan location.

“We have long heard from our people that they felt like they had to travel outside our area to take their kids to other better playgrounds,” Autagavaia said.

“Now we see visitors come to our area to enjoy, with our local families, a destination playground that we are all proud of.

“Our locals now tell us, South Auckland has quality facilities too.”

Eke Panuku priority location director Richard Davison said the park’s re-development was aimed at enhancing the urban landscape, and fostering increased investment in housing and amenities in Manukau.

“It was time for us to go big and bold and put significant investment into a play space that will ensure Manukau is ready to welcome the people and families that will call this area home over the next 10 – 20 years.”

Local democracy reporting

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