New Rotorua lakefront playground now open
New Rotorua lakefront playground now open
Local tamariki put their ideas to the drawing board and now the new playground at the Rotorua lakefront is complete and open for all to enjoy these summer holidays.
An opening ceremony led by Ngāti Whakaue Kaumātua, Monty Morrison, was held this morning. Project partners from Ngāti Whakaue, the Gifted Reserves Committee (Pukeroa Oruawhata Trust), Te Arawa Lakes Trust, and Kānoa – RDU, the New Zealand Government’s regional economic development and investment unit were acknowledged.
Prior to construction, four creative workshops were held for local tamariki to share their ideas about play with the playground designers from Isthmus Group. Isthmus then used the common themes that emerged from the workshops to develop the final playground design. A flying fox and a group swing were stand-out requests from the tamariki involved in the creative workshops, and both have been incorporated in the new playground equipment.
Tamariki who participated in the workshops, along with tamariki from schools that have been involved in the Lakefront Redevelopment engagement programme, were invited to have the first play on the new equipment following this morning’s blessing.
Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick says the karakia held this morning marked a significant milestone for the project, unifying the creative ideas of local tamariki with the expertise of the playground designers.
“It was delightful to have our tamariki join us for the ceremony this morning. They were instrumental in the creation of the new playground and we hope they enjoy seeing their creations come to life.
“Despite another turbulent year due to COVID-19, we’ve managed to reach three very significant milestones within the Lakefront Redevelopment project. We opened Memorial Plaza in April, the new boardwalk in July, and today we’ve opened the much anticipated new playground, ahead of the summer break as initially planned. I am very proud of what has been achieved and grateful to those who have made it happen. The playground looks spectacular and every stage of this project just continues to wow us.
“We couldn’t have done this without the partnership we share with Te Arawa, the significant funding received from Kānoa – RDU, and everyone else who has contributed to the project so far. It really is something special for our community and I can’t wait to see our local tamariki and manuhiri enjoying this space over summer.
The playground has been constructed by local company, Campbell Infrastructure, and includes two large smooth surface loops for bikes, scooters, skateboards, and anything with wheels, dual flying foxes for racing, a half basketball court (local artist Lyonel Grant has created a unique design for the court which is scheduled to be painted in late January 2022), a nest swing, a rope course with slide, a pendulum swing and net see-saw, as well as spaces to sit, relax, and enjoy the view.
Campbell Infrastructure has also completed the work on the section of the lakefront between the playground and lake edge which includes new grass terraces, the extension of the shared path, landscaping and installation of new furniture. This section was also opened to the public today.
Kānoa – RDU is a major investor in the Rotorua Lakefront Redevelopment, matching funding from Rotorua Lakes Council after recognising the project’s potential to support tourism and investment, and create jobs in the region during and after construction.
As of today, the playground is now open for public use. Over the summer, visitors to the lakefront will also be able to purchase coffee, snacks and drinks from the new Grounded and Teariffic Bubble Tea kiosks that are now on site. The new toilet block adjacent to the playground is also near completion and will be open for public use in late January 2022. The current blue toilet block opposite the new playground will remain open until the new one is complete.
In the New Year, Campbell Infrastructure will begin work on a dedicated toddler play space where the existing Volcanic Playground equipment is. The toddler play area has been designed based on a typical lakefront setting and will celebrate the natural environment of Rotorua.
HEB Construction continues their work along the lake edge, extending the new boardwalk out and over the water to the west of the lakefront reserve.
Further information about the Lakefront Redevelopment is available HERE.
Background information on Lakefront Redevelopment
In 2018, a $19.9 million Government investment from Kānoa – RDU was announced for the project. This funding, alongside $20.1 million from Council, aimed to transform this recreational, economic and cultural resource.
In July 2020, an additional $1 million investment from Kānoa - RDU was announced to progress work on the cultural design foundation for the lakefront project. This will consist of artwork, interpretation and design, with local artists creating carved pou, and information panels that will tell the korero history of the area. The artwork will be installed at the lakefront in early 2022.
The lakefront design reflects the heritage and deep connection of Ngāti Whakaue and Te Arawa to the Rotorua Lakefront and the project has been made possible through the support of our partners, the Gifted Reserves Committee (Pukeroa Ōruawhata Trust) and Te Arawa Lakes Trust.
Together, our vision is to develop the lakefront into an outstanding recreational area that will benefit locals, support tourism and encourage private investment. This in turn will create new jobs and benefit Rotorua’s community.
Drone footage of the project’s progress over the last couple of years has also been captured and you can view these video updates here: