Wellington Botanic Garden

Wellington Botanic Garden

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A buzzing new destination playground!

Client:
Wellington District Council
Location:
Wellington Botanic Garden
Circa budget:
$275,000

The Wellington City Council, in collaboration with the Botanic Gardens, embarked on a significant project to revamp the existing playground within the Wellington Botanic Gardens.

It was spearheaded by council stakeholders Matthew Beres and David Sole. The initiative aimed to modernise the playground while incorporating the unique aspects of the surrounding botanical landscape and the crucial role of bees in the ecosystem.

The primary goal was to refresh the playground to serve the community and visitors to the botanic gardens better.

Through community consultation, there was a strong desire for a space to educate children about the importance of pollination and the role of bees in sustaining flora.

The feedback informed the creation of a playground that could both entertain and educate, aligning with the broader themes of the botanic gardens.

"It's one of those multigenerational playgrounds. It's one of those places where you'll make memories that will go on for generations."

Inclusivity and Education
A vital aspect of the project was ensuring the playground was accessible to children of all abilities, incorporating sensory panels to facilitate learning about the environment and pollination.

Outcome
The renovated Wellington Botanic Gardens Playground is a testament to innovative design, educational focus, and community engagement.

This project has not only revitalised a key community asset but also enhanced the botanic gardens’ educational offerings. It provides a space where children can learn about nature through play.

The playground’s design and features will be a valued community resource for years to come, embodying the garden’s themes of nature, education, and inclusivity.

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Mahara Place

Mahara Place

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Mahara Place Play Ground

Client:
Kapiti District Council
Location:
Waikanae
Circa Budget:
$

The Mahara Place playground is in the heart of Waikanae, in the Kapiti District Council. Overdue for an upgrade, their existing space was old and dangerous for users.

They required a transformation to improve safety, but not only that, they wanted to make the new playground accessible for users of all abilities.

Understanding their needs and finding the best way to approach this small space to create a unique area, Creo worked with the Council to develop this new great playground.

The Collaborative Approach

Initial Engagement

The project began with a detailed brief from the council, emphasising the need for a safe, imaginative, and culturally relevant play area. Our team’s first step was to understand and explore this brief thoroughly.

Community and Artist Involvement

 Key to our approach was the collaboration with local stakeholders, including a Māori artist. This partnership was crucial in integrating local cultural elements into the playground’s design, ensuring the final product was unique and resonant with the community’s identity. Bringing names into the surface design, tying the local story with the land and sea, all aligned with local heritage.

Design Process

Concept Development

Our iterative design process involved multiple revisions to align with the council’s vision and the artist’s creative input. This involved incorporating themes such as water elements, native flora and fauna, and imaginative play features.

Final Design

The approved design was a great blend of safety, creativity, and cultural significance, tailored to cater to children under 5 to 10 years old and simultaneously accommodate multiple families.

Implementation and Features

Safety and Play Elements

The playground featured a ‘Pour n Play’ surface with artistic designs, varied play items like musical instruments, sensory spaces, a ground trampoline, and unstructured play elements.

Cultural and Natural Integration

 Reflecting local heritage, the design included Māori art, water themes representing the nearby Waikanae River, and representations of native trees and birds.

A pocket of relaxation

 The layout included seating, allowing parents to supervise their children comfortably. Creating a breathing space in the area.

Outcome and Impact

The upgraded Mahara Place playground has become a vibrant and safe recreational space in Waikanae’s urban landscape. It offers a unique blend of imaginative play, cultural education, and communal interaction, serving as the area’s ‘pocket of happiness’.

Community Benefits:

  • Enhanced Safety: A secure and stimulating environment for children.
  • Cultural Engagement: Promotes local heritage and environmental awareness.
  • Social Hub: Acts as a gathering spot, strengthening community bonds.

The Mahara Place project showcases our commitment to delivering playgrounds that are not just functional but are deeply embedded in the local community. We are creating spaces that locals can feel connected to.

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Cass Square

Cass Square

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Under Construction.

Client:
Westland District Council
Location:
Hokitika
Circa budget:
$275,000

Welcome to the Cass Square Playground! We’re excited to transform this space in a destination for fun and learning!

It’s not just about new swings and slides—it’s about building a place where memories are made right here in the heart of Hokitika.

This is a collaborative project where our design team will work directly with Westland District Council and the community to create a unique playground that connects with its people.

The Vision

We’re imagining a playground that feels like a natural part of the community. A place for fun, and people of all ages can find something to enjoy. It’s about blending the fun of play with the beauty of our local park. 

The Plan

  • Swings for the little ones and the young at heart.
  • A dynamic rope area for amazing adventures.
  • Mounds with tunnels for the explorers.
  • Sheltered spots for the parents and for a deserved rest.
  • Greenery and pathways make the space inviting.

Design Approach

  • Local Connection: We’re infusing the playground with the essence of Hokitika.
  • Diverse Play: We’re creating spots for active, imaginative, and relaxed play. Features like sensory play and an exciting flying fox.
  • Comfort in Mind: We’re choosing durable, comfortable materials for everyone to enjoy. 
  • In Tune with Nature: The design will complement the park’s natural beauty.

 

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Caroline Bay Playground

Caroline Bay Playground

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A new destination playground for the whole community.

Client:
CPlay
Location:
Timaru
Circa budget:
$275,000

Playground for all!

CPlay story starts from a vision to create a space where users of all ages, abilities and background can enjoy, interact and create memories.

From that vision, the volunteer group was created to bring Caroline Bay Playground back to life with a unique design that tells the story of its people.

CPlay focused on inclusivity, local heritage and making sure that this playground will set the standard for what public spaces should thrive for when designing new spaces.

 

The Story

Caroline Bay and its surrounding region have a rich and notorious history spanning millions of years. It all began with the reef under the sea, which formed from a lava flow extending from Timaru inland to the shore.

When humans began to explore these lands, the Te Tihi-o-Maru region transformed into a gathering place. Early Maori groups like Waitaha, Rapuwai, and Kati Mamoe would collect food from Waitarakao (Washdyke Lagoon) and head to the West Coast to gather pounamu. Today, Arowhenua is the local marae.

With the arrival of Europeans, Timaru transitioned from a whaling spot to a hub for South Canterbury. The shallow reefs, however, were treacherous. Many ships found themselves wrecked or stranded along the Caroline Bay coastline. This led to the establishment of the Timaru Volunteer Rocket Brigade, whose goal was to rescue passengers and crews from ships that met misfortune on the reef.

These historical episodes are now vividly told at the new CPlay playground, capturing everything from its geological foundations to the local Maori heritage and the European arrivals.

Read the full story at CPlay.

How the Community Created This Space

Through a community initiative, CPlay volunteers collaborated with various groups in Timaru to guarantee that the playground would be inclusive and reflect the local narrative.

Understanding and catering to the community’s genuine desires was crucial for CPlay’s success. The new additions include playground equipment for various age groups, sensory components, and other inclusive features— all based on community feedback.

Generous contributions from numerous donors provided the essential funding, showcasing what the community can achieve when united in purpose.

CPlay Design

The vision to showcase Timaru’s millennia-old story has always driven the community group behind the CPlay concept.

CPlay’s design was a combined effort of the community and outstanding industry partners. Rushton Architects was behind the area’s design, while Creo managed the surface detailing design and equipment layout. Playground Centre designed and manufactured the amazing playground equipment that features Timaru’s Lighthouse and Shipwreck.

Particular design highlights include the bespoke lighthouse and shipwreck, complemented by a surface design that creates a journey into history and local heritage. This journey also features the Taniwha, a creation of the gifted local Maori artist Francine Spencer.

Every part of this playground tells a story, incorporating careful planning and artistic intent, making it unique and visually captivating.

The vision to showcase Timaru's millennia-old story has always driven the community group behind the CPlay concept.

For the Community, With the Community

CPlay would remain a dream without the collective effort of everyone in Timaru. From the diligent volunteers who lifted this project off the ground to the individuals involved in design and on-site work, all played a part in making this project a premier attraction in South Canterbury.

Public play spaces are continually evolving. CPlay stands out by creating a destination catering to users of all ages, abilities, and cultural backgrounds. This was only possible due to community engagement, industry expertise, and, most importantly, individuals driven by passion to shape communities for its people.

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Shotover Grove Reserve

Shotover Grove Reserve

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Shotover Grove Reserve Playground

Client:
Kapiti Coast District Council
Location:
Kapiti Coast
Circa budget:
$245,000

Challenge
To rebuild and revitalise the Shotover Grove Reserve playground, catering to an older community to engage with their family while promoting a sense of gathering.

The goal was to downsize the playground area and prioritise a larger community gathering space, offering a unique play experience.

Solution
Creo partnered with the council to deliver an innovative design, presenting a fresh perspective on playgrounds. The design considerations included:

  • A custom-built tower as a centrepiece, complemented by a slide.
  • A scooter track, ensuring easy access for all.
  • Distinctive play elements like log jams and Robinia swings, all custom-built by Creo’s team.

The space was envisioned as a hub for living music, capturing the essence of community gathering. Emphasising inclusivity, the playground was designed to be welcoming for both grandparents and their grandchildren.

It also featured two open spaces dedicated to unprescribed play, ensuring ample room for imaginative activities.

Outcome
Creo delivered a stunning natural play playground that went beyond traditional design norms. The transformed Shotover Grove Reserve now stands as a beacon for community interaction, merging play and gathering in a harmonious blend.

It’s not just a playground but a cherished space where multiple generations can bond and create memories together.

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Whitikau Reserve Playground

Waka at the Whitikau Reserve Playground

Whitikau Reserve Playground

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Whitikau Reserve Playground, a destination space for the town.

Client:
Opotiki District Council
Location:
Opotiki
Circa budget:
$450,000
Transforming Wasteland into a Destination Space

Turning unused land into a thriving community space is no small feat. In Opotiki Township, the Whitikau Reserve Playground has become a symbol of community revitalization and cultural celebration. “It’s about more than just play; it’s about our community’s identity,” says Garry Page, the reserves manager with the Opotiki District Council.

With a skate park and a large green area around it, Whitikau Reserve needed a destination playground to make the area inviting for the whole community. 

Listening to the Community

The playground wasn’t designed in a boardroom. Local children were invited to share their ideas and what they wanted in the playground. “We wanted the playground to reflect our community,” Page explains. “Creo helped us incorporate the Two Rivers theme, something unique to Opotiki.”

The final result is a playground that’s become a destination at the Whitikau Reserve. “The children’s joy says it all,” Page says. “Creo’s design and the locally crafted equipment have made this place special.”

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Featuring Locally Crafted Equipment

Creo’s commitment to quality and authenticity extended to crafting the playground’s equipment in our workshop. This hands-on approach ensured that every element, from the logo in the rubber surfacing to the play equipment, was perfectly aligned with the community’s identity.

Local Culture Representation

The implementation of the local culture is vital for the playground. We designed and built a Marae tower and a waka for the children. Inclusivity was also considered when designing the play space at Whitikau Reserve Playground. Th et-pour rubber surfacing is fully accessible, and the waka has space for children of all abilities to play.

"The children's joy says it all."

On-time and Budget

Being a complete design and build company, Creo’s commitment to the project timeline and budget was commendable. We finished two weeks ahead of schedule and within the allocated funds. “Creo came in both within budget and ahead of time. That went down very well with us here,” Page affirms. This efficiency allowed extra time for finishing touches, ensuring everything was perfect for the official opening.

Reflecting on the Success of Whitikau Reserve Playground

This project is a success story of collaboration, innovation, and community engagement. “Everything Creo said it would deliver, we see out here being delivered,” Page concludes. It’s a testament to what can happen when a community and a company like Creo come together with a shared vision.

The Whitikau Reserve Playground is more than swings and slides. It’s a story of a community coming together to create something meaningful and lasting. It’s a legacy that will continue to bring fun and engagement to Opotiki.

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Milne Drive Playground

Milne Drive Playground

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In 2022, Creo collaborated with the team at Kapiti Coast District Council to update the playground at Milne Drive Reserve.

Client:
Kapiti Coast District Council
Location:
Paraparaumu, Kapiti Coast
Circa Budget:
$150,000

The playground is a basic, low-cost design that was built within an existing asphalt pathway. Despite the limited budget, Creo was able to create a functional and engaging space that has become a hit with the local community.  

One of the key factors the Creo team used to keep the project within budget was the decision to utilise the existing footprints of the area. By working within the designed space that was already there, Creo was able to avoid the need for costly excavation and construction work. Instead, Creo focused on introducing new and exciting play features, including a basket belt, a Robinia swing set, a ground-level spinner, and a couple of upper-body play pieces that lead onto a slide and mound in the playground. 

To create better connections and easy access to the playground, Creo created some new pathways to define the area. These new paths were also transformed into an additional play opportunity by creating humps that could be utilised as obstacles for a scooter track, encouraging kids to think outside the box, get creative with their play, and inspire them to stay active. By being creative with the design and layout of the playground, Creo was able to make the budget go as far as possible while still providing a fun and engaging space for the community.  

Another element to the playground that was added at the request of the council is the fitness equipment pieces. These pieces were included to provide recreational options for more mature visitors to the playground. These fitness pieces are targeted to users with a wide range of ages and abilities. Creo has created a space that is truly inclusive and welcoming to everyone in the community. 

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Brooklyn Community Centre

Brooklyn Community Centre

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The playground at Brooklyn Community Centre is a celebration of colour and activity.

Client:
Wellington City Council
Location:
Wellington
Circa Budget:
$470,000

The council collaborated with Creo to create a recreational space for the visitors and community around the Brooklyn Community Centre. The playground embraces activity and equipment designed to encourage activity for a wide range of ages while also becoming a space that can be used for after-school and holiday programmes in the community.  

Sports are also great on thematic playground design.

The playground near the community centre had an existing basketball court and a small play space. The Creo design team decided to build upon the existing space by adding new features, equipment pieces, and playful elements that could serve the needs of the community using the space. Creo transformed the space by including hang-out areas off to the side of the space, ground painting sports marks, and a basketball court, making the playground an ideal spot for kids of all ages to enjoy. 

The playground also included play surfacing with elements designed to promote physical activity and challenge, by introducing balance play pieces like the balance balls that add both a 3D element to the surface and become a fun play piece for everyone the enjoy. The design of the space is bright and colourful making it an inviting place for families to come and enjoy. 

This playground project is an excellent example of how thoughtful design can transform an existing space into a vibrant and inviting environment. The new play space is a multifunctional environment that is fun for users of all ages and can be accessed year-round.  

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Chelsea Street Playground

Chelsea Street Playground

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The recently completed playground project at Chelsea Street, Wellington, is a fun play on the environment and community surrounding the area. 

Client:
Chelsea Street Playground
Location:
Miramar, Wellington
Circa Budget:
$480,000

Located near the capital’s airport, the space is themed around aeroplanes and flight motifs, along with the regional Wellingtonian colours, that together make this a truly unique space.  

The playground at Chelsea Street is a junior play space with a unique focus on accessibility. The council wanted to create a new play space that could be used by the surrounding community and those using the nearby community centre. Creo worked closely with the council and community groups to identify key priorities and budgets. Taking those ideas, Creo’s designers put together a playful concept that met the needs of local families. The result is a playground that is engaging, accessible and tells the story of the surrounding environment. 

There are a number of play opportunities in this playground including the inground tramp and basket swing, scooter tracks, and other engaging play equipment pieces. These elements provide a unique play experience for kids and are easily accessible and complement each other in the space. The rubber surface ensures that the playground is safe and easy to navigate. Clear access pathways were included in the space to provide easier entry into the play space, as well as create additional play opportunities by doubling as a bike or scooter track for younger kids. 

Shade was also a key consideration in the design of the playground, and Creo worked closely with the council to ensure that there are ample shade structures throughout the space. This provides a comfortable and safe space for kids to play, even on hot summer days. 

The Creo team ensured the playground concept and implementation also included plenty of seating options and gathering spaces that could be used as conversational areas, perfect for that picnic or a catch-up with friends.  

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Lorna Irene Reserve Playground

Lorna Irene Reserve Playground

Lorna Irene Reserve Playground

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Winner of the 2023 Playground of the Year Award!

Client:
Kapiti Coast District Council
Location:
Paraparaumu
Circa Budget:
$390,000

We are extremely proud to introduce you to the Lorna Irene Reserve Playground, the celebrated recipient of the prestigious 2023 Playground of the Year Award by Recreation Aotearoa. Now an iconic feature of Paraparaumu, this playground stands as a testament to the power of inclusivity and community engagement.

Recognising a growing need for wheelchair-accessible playgrounds, the Kapiti Coast District Council, in partnership with Creo, began a transformative journey in 2022 to reimagine the existing playground at Lorna Irene Reserve. Our mission was clear: to create a universally accessible, fully inclusive play space that welcomed all children in the Kapiti Coast community.

Lorna Irene Reserve Playground

The former playground, with its high edging, bark surfacing, and non-inclusive equipment, presented barriers to play for many children. The community’s desire for an inclusive play space was particularly acute in the Lorna Irene neighbourhood, home to a child who used a wheelchair. Bolstered by strong community support, the council embarked on a plan for a playground that would not only meet the needs of differently abled children but also enrich the play experience for the wider community.

Creo, who specialises in innovative playground designs, was brought onboard to breathe new life into the Lorna Irene playground. Our team focused on crafting an inclusive, sensory-oriented design that catered to a broad spectrum of ages and abilities. The goal was to create a playground that delighted everyone, with a special focus on ensuring the local child who used a wheelchair could fully enjoy the space. Initial designs and 3D concepts were presented to the council and shared with the local community, encouraging extensive feedback before proceeding to construction.

Drawing from their extensive experience in designing and building inclusive play areas, our design team introduced unique play elements and equipment to ensure the playground was both engaging and safe.

The Creo team replaced the previous playground’s edging and bark surfacing with a smooth, seamless surface that improved access to and around the playground. They introduced novel, accessible play equipment, including a large basket swing, a wheelchair accessible trampoline, an inclusive carousel, an accessible tower structure with a slide, and a variety of sensory elements like mirrors, windows, musical walls and ground games. To further enhance the sensory experience, they used a combination of surfacing materials to create different textures and incorporated natural plantings to foster a welcoming and inviting ambiance.

The revamped Lorna Irene Reserve Playground has since become a haven of fun and connection for children of all abilities. We are immensely gratified that it has been recognized by Recreation Aotearoa, and we warmly invite you to visit and experience this award-winning, inclusive playground for yourself.

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