Ideas from tamariki come to life in playground designs



9 May 2019

Ideas from tamariki come to life in new Lakefront playground designs

Elected members were updated on the Rotorua Lakefront development at today’s Operations and Monitoring Committee meeting.

Developed designs of the extended playground and Memorial Plaza are nearing completion and were shared during a presentation to the committee. You can view the presentation slides here and watch the live presentation here.

Lakefront playground

Earlier this year, Rotorua Lakes Council held four creative workshops for tamariki/children at Rotorua Library – including one in Te Reo Maori. Tamariki were invited to attend the workshops to share their ideas about play with designers from Isthmus Group, the studio designing the proposed new playground.

The workshops were a great success with over 100 tamariki taking part and sharing their creative designs and ideas for the playground.

Isthmus use these types of workshops to introduce projects to a community, uncover local stories, gather an understanding of the local identity, and learn what is most important to the project’s end users.

Landscape architect Zach Barker from Isthmus attended the workshops to learn what our tamariki value about play.

“The workshops were a great success. We had lots of engagement from the 100+ children who attended and over one hundred models and drawings were created. There were several common themes that have had an impact on our playground design and will contribute to making the Rotorua Lakefront a unique play destination,” says Mr Barker.

The new playground will include two large smooth surface loops for bikes, scooters and skateboards, dual flying foxes, a basketball half court, a nest swing, a rope course, a pendulum swing and net see-saw, spaces to sit, relax, and watch the action, and much more.

The playground has been designed with safety in mind and will be separated from adjacent pathways with recycled timber from the current lake edge which will form a barrier around the playground’s area.

The committee heard that most of the existing Volcanic Playground will be kept and expanded on, making the new playground three times bigger than it currently is and suitable for all ages and abilities. The new playground will have a greater play landscape, more space for gatherings, and improved accessibility.

Lakefront playground

* This is an artist's impression of the new playground area at the lakefront.To the left of this area is where the new ticketing offices and food and beverage outlets will be located and behind the playground remains the Village Green. Click on image to enlarge

Memorial Drive redevelopment

Plans to transform Memorial Drive into a space that better reflects and honors those that have served in the New Zealand armed forces were also shared with the committee.

Council has been working with the RSA to redevelop Memorial Drive into a plaza to create more open space. The memorial gateway will remain and existing plaques will be moved closer to the lakefront, allowing more space for reflection. This space also aims to provide better support for events on the Village Green such as markets and concerts. 

Parking and public toilets

Car parking was also discussed with most of the new car parks to be located on Memorial Drive and Tutanekai Street. Parking will also be available throughout the Lakefront to ensure users can park close to the amenities they want to visit. Parking spaces are set to remain at 171 which is the same amount of spaces currently available.  Mobility parks will double and extra trailer and bus parks will be created. A brand new toilet block including a fully accessible toilet will also be built on Tutanekai Street.

The next steps for the Lakefront development include tendering for the playground and Memorial Plaza work and prepping the land for the new playground and toilet block construction.

Rotorua Lakes Council has allocated $20 million to the Rotorua lakefront development with matched funding coming from Central Government’s Provincial Growth Fund to enable the project to be completed over the next three years. The project was recognised by the Government for its ability to create over 470 jobs.  Learn more about this project here.

Page reviewed: 09 May 2019 12:36pm