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Source: Auckland Council

Remember when kids played in the street?

The clock is being turned back at Te Mahia Community Village in Takaanini on Saturday 24 April when it hosts south Auckland’s first Play Streets event.

Play Streets is supported by Auckland Council and has a simple kaupapa.

It aims to:

  • Provide play equipment to help tamariki and rangatahi be playful and active 
  • Emphasise the importance of community partners taking a role in initiatives
  • Engage community placemakers, suppliers and champions to support events.

The Anzac weekend event brings together organisers and residents concerned about the lack of play opportunities in the area.

Healthy Families lead systems innovator Nicola Dennison says playing on the street with your neighbours used to be a common sight in south Auckland.

“The street might have been for cars, but it was also used by kids to connect with all the other kids over a game of cricket, touch, or just to ride bikes and the like.

“But today our young people are indoors with technology and their experiences of playing in the street are declining.”

Te Mahia Community Village manager Maxine Maaka says Play Streets revives that childhood rite-of-passage and gives youngsters the right to play on the street in a safe way.

“Cars will be kept out of the road for a short time, so people can take over the space, so whānau get a dedicated and communal space to just be playful in.”

The event for residents of the area will be held outside the village on the Cunningham Place cul de sac.

When the call went out for an organising committee, 15 residents eager to be part of the pilot turned up to help plan how tamariki could use the street to play and connect.

Dennison says it’s important to co-design events with residents, many meeting for the first time.

“It was great to see them come together. When a street is a safe place for fun activities, neighbours and whānau can connect. Our role is to help make that happen, but it’s the residents who make the event.”

Village owner Rima Nakhle says residents are very concerned about their tamariki not being physically active or connecting with others.

“The residents love having the opportunity to work together and give back. They’re a creative bunch so I’m excited to see what they come up with.”

Play Streets is part of Waka Kotahi’s (NZ Transport Agency) Innovating Streets programme, working with Auckland Council and Healthy Families South Auckland and Waitākere.

MIL OSI