The neighbourhood that wants kids playing outside for long term health and wellbeing

A group of neighbours from Celadon Place in Wiri lead the way in designing and planning their first Community Play Streets for Tāmaki Makaurau or “Play Streets” event over the weekend.

A temporary road closure was put in place from 11.30am to 4pm and the street was open for unrestricted play.

A brightly hand painted sign signalled to neighbours who ‘missed the memo’ that their street was reserved for play! 

“This has been a few months in the making, all the ideas our community have designed can be seen today,”says Andy Piutau, Healthy Families Lead System Innovator. 

“You get a real sense of community when everyone is working together to make the street a more vibrant and connected place to live” 

Children enjoyed street basketball setup at the end of the cul-de-sac, volleyball, a bouncy castle, and crafts kept younger tamariki activating an otherwise typical urban street. 

Local residents cooked and served up hot kai throughout the day that kept children fueled for play.. 

It was hard for parents to stand back and just watch, they played alongside their children with a sprinkle of healthy competition when the tug of war rope came out. 

Getting children playing outside and off devices is all part of the Playstreets kaupapa,where cars are kept out of the road for a short time, so whānau have extra space to be playful and active and is something that the neighbours on Celadon hope to see more of. 

Local resident Paris Ioane says, “The way it all came together was a huge neighbourhood effort.”

She explains how extremely important it is for them as a neighbourhood to get tamariki off devices and encourage outside play.

“Playing outside is so important, we want kids to be as active as possible in these younger years to ensure they grow up and lead a healthy lifestyle,” adds Paris. 

Since the event residents have already met to discuss its success and identify some areas they would like to improve for the next Play Streets event. 

The immediate benefits of Play Streets encourages unrestricted active play for children whilst empowering them to build long lasting relationships with neighbours and a more connected community.

Paris explains that a highlight of Play Streets was getting to know her neighbours and connecting with them through the design process. 

“It was awesome to see all the kids out in the street enjoying their day, making new friends, and playing on the road just like we did when we were growing up.” 

Community Play Streets for Tāmaki Makaurau is part of Waka Kotahi (NZ Transport Agency) Innovating Streets programme, and is a collaborative initiative underway in Tāmaki Makaurau, managed by Auckland Council, Healthy Families South Auckland and Healthy Families Waitākere.

For more information on how you can get involved with Wiri Playstreets contact: 

[email protected]