Cass Square

Cass Square

The cool little playground.

Westland District Council
Circa budget:

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.


Creo’s Commitment

  • Made in New Zealand: Our equipment is proudly made in New Zealand, showcasing local expertise.
  • Award Winning Quality: We’re creating safe, durable play spaces that stand the test of time.
  • Sustainable Materials: We use recycled materials, like rubber for safe landings, to protect our environment.
  • Fun for Everyone: We’re dedicated to making sure there’s something for everyone, no matter their ability.

Creative Highlights

Drawing inspiration from Hokitika’s wild landscapes, we’re designing a playground that’s as much a part of nature as it is a hub of activity, with wooden structures and elements that echo the local scenery.


What to Expect

  • Swings that offer a sense of freedom, musical instruments for play, and elements that reflect our heritage.
  • Accessible equipment so everyone can join in the fun.
  • Climbing structures that invite kids to reach new heights reminiscent of Hokitika’s natural wonders and historic architecture.

This is just the beginning. As we roll out the project, we’ll share updates on the progress and milestones. Keep an eye out for the latest news and get ready to join in the fun at Cass Square.

We’re excited to bring this vision to life, creating a space where every visit is a new opportunity to play, relax, and connect. See you at Cass Square!

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A new destination playground for the whole community.

Circa budget:

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.

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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Aorangi School

Small design items can be great in thematic playground design, such as this native bird.

Aorangi School

Small design items can be great in thematic playground design, such as this native bird.Small design items can be great in thematic playground design, such as this native bird.

A play space for Tamariki to play with culture and learn with fun.

Aorangi School
Circa budget:

A School with a Heart

Aorangi School is more than just a place for learning; it’s a community haven in Western Heights, Rotorua, dedicated to empowering its 140 students. Its mission is Empowering, Encouraging, and Engaging everyone to Personal Excellence. But for Principal Kairo McLean, one thing was missing: a culturally reflective, therapeutic, and engaging play space.

The Search for the Perfect Partner: Why Creo?

Principal McLean knew that a traditional playground would not cut it. The school wanted a play space that engaged students, reflected their cultural heritage, and supported their emotional well-being. That’s when Creo was brought into the picture to collaborate with this fantastic project.

Wet pour rubber provides safety as well as good aesthetics for your space.

The Importance of Personal Engagement

For McLean, the decision to go with a design and build firm was easy. The two-year relationship with a dedicated consultant at Creo ensured a smooth, personalised experience that allowed Aorangi School to realise their dream playground.

When asked what stood out about Creo, McLean said, “They made everything our students wanted possible.” This willingness to adapt and incorporate the school’s unique requirements sealed the deal.

"They made everything our students wanted possible."

The Transformation: When Dreams Become Reality

When the construction began, McLean knew they had made the right choice. Creo’s professionalism and easy-to-work-with nature reassured the school that their vision was becoming a reality.

The result is a playground that fits Aorangi School’s unique needs. From enabling students to regulate their emotions to imaginative play, the play space is deeply embedded in the school’s values. It even features culturally significant figures like their Kaitiaki, the Kārearea Falcon.

With its new play space, Aorangi School takes a giant leap towards holistic, quality education that doesn’t just teach but empowers. The play space is not merely a place for fun—it’s a cultural emblem, a therapeutic tool, and an embodiment of the school’s high standards for student well-being.

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Kristin School Senior

Kristin School Senior

Students play at Kristin School Senior playgroundStudents play at Kristin School Senior playground

A gathering, fun space for the children at Kristin School

Kristin School Senior
Albany, Auckland
Circa Budget:

When Opportunity Knocked

When Kristin School in Auckland had to remove a playground due to the construction of a new bus bay, they found themselves at a crossroads. Creo has worked with them previously, so we were ready to get the fun back to the school with a new playground opportunity.  “Our experience with Creo has been very positive,” said the school’s Director of Business Services, Nigel Wilkinson.


A Visionary Approach

Kristin School wanted more than just a playground; they aspired to create a unique space. “This was a new project where we wanted playground equipment as well,” Nigel pointed out. Creo didn’t disappoint. “We approached Creo, and they were able to give us some really good designs very promptly and also a virtual tour of what it would look like. All those things helped us imagine what we could do in this area,” he shared.



The Urban Landscape: A New Concept

Creo introduced the idea of an “urban landscape,” a concept that initially puzzled the school team. “We didn’t understand what benefits that might bring,” Nigel admitted. However, the results were beyond expectations. “What we’ve found now that the playground’s in place is that it’s become a social gathering space for students. It’s much more populated now than it was before.”


"We approached Creo, and they were able to give us some really good designs very promptly and also a virtual tour of what it would look like. All those things helped us imagine what we could do in this area"

A Bustling Community Space

“People gathering, talking, using the equipment periodically, and then stepping back and just joining with their friends,” Nigel described the new atmosphere. “And it’s now become one of the busiest places on the campus.” The playground isn’t just a place for play; it’s a vibrant community hub. “You just have to look at the playground at lunchtime and the use it’s getting and the fun and the excitement and the voices of the students to know it’s been a really worthwhile investment,” he concluded.

The Immediate Impact

“Since the day we opened, we’ve had staff, students and just about everybody wanting to have a go at some of the equipment in the playground,” Nigel said, capturing the essence of the playground’s appeal. “It’s safe, exciting and challenging. And those are all the sorts of things year seven and eight students want.”

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Shotover Grove Reserve

Shotover Grove Reserve


Shotover Grove Reserve Playground

Kapiti Coast District Council
Kapiti Coast
Circa budget:

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.

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.

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

Whitikau Reserve Playground with all its featuresWhitikau Reserve Playground with all its features
Waka at the Whitikau Reserve PlaygroundWaka at the Whitikau Reserve Playground
Marae Modular Play Equipment Tower at Whitikau Reserve PlaygroundMarae Modular Play Equipment Tower at Whitikau Reserve Playground
Creo Robinia Play Equipment at Whitikau Reserve PlaygroundCreo Robinia Play Equipment at Whitikau Reserve Playground
Play equipment at Whitikau Reserve in OpotikiPlay equipment at Whitikau Reserve in Opotiki

Whitikau Reserve Playground, a destination space for the town.

Opotiki District Council
Circa budget:
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.”

Play Video
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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Hurunui College

Hurunui College

Cornerstone equipment, a 7.5m net tower.Cornerstone equipment, a 7.5m net tower.
Obstacles offer play value, challenge and learning.Obstacles offer play value, challenge and learning.

A playground for the school and the community.

Hurunui College
Circa budget:
A Fantastic Play Opportunity

Hurunui College in North Canterbury is a school catering to students from year 1 through to year 13. Recognising an opportunity to enhance the student experience, Principal Stephen Beck and the teachers saw an opportunity when the prefab classrooms were removed to transform the space into a vibrant playground.

Removing old prefab classrooms opened space, setting the stage for an ambitious playground project that would align with the school’s unique rural environment. The project was not just to benefit the students but the community.

Embracing Nature

Embracing the local landscape was at the core of Hurunui College’s playground vision. The school’s leadership wanted a design that resonated with the natural surroundings. Featuring timber play equipment, such as an obstacle course and natural climbing features. This aesthetic decision was intentional and grounded in the community’s connection to nature.

Cornerstone equipment, a 7.5m net tower.
Unprescribed Play – The Centerpiece

One of the main things you will notice as you walk past the playground is a 7.5m climbing net tower. A statement in the playground. Stephen and the teachers wanted to give the children some challenges. “Our kids are really active, love climbing, often climb trees, and we don’t stop too much of that,” Stephen explained.

The playground at Hurunui College has some fun and exciting features that the kids love to use. The basket swing and Viking swing are favourites, and as Principal Stephen Beck says, they ‘get a huge amount of use.’ These parts of the playground aren’t just for fun; they also help the children explore and use their imagination, making playtime more enjoyable and creative

"The thing that stood out for us with Creo was that we only had to deal with one supplier, and they managed the process from design to build to completion."

A Playground for The Community

As a small rural community, the new playground is not just for the school. Stephen believes that the space will be of great benefit to the community of Hawarden. “This will be a high-use facility so the community can enjoy this space during the weekends and holidays. A win for everyone!

The Creo Factor

Creo’s expertise in design and building was one of the factors for their choice. We aim to make a smooth and seamless project for all parties involved. Being a one-stop-shop was essential to achieve the desired outcome where Stephen, his students and the whole community could benefit from the fantastic playground they envisioned. 

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Mission Heights Primary School

Mission Heights Primary School

Playground with a boat, vegetation rubber and bark surfacePlayground with a boat, vegetation rubber and bark surface

Play Reaches New Heights at Mission Heights Primary.

Mission Heights Primary School
Circa budget:
Turning Concrete into Child’s Play

At Mission Heights Primary School, a concrete yard posed an enduring problem for teachers and children alike. According to Camelia, a new entrant teacher at the school, the previous environment was uninviting and hard on young students. “Our children were struggling to find an area to play, especially our younger children…there were a lot of bruised knees and grazes because of the concrete,” she recalls.

Mission Heights, home to approximately 700 children, recognized the crucial role of outdoor play in childhood development and took the bold step of transforming their grey, concrete landscape into a vibrant, interactive playground.

A Paradigm Shift in Playgrounds

Following a successful upgrade of their existing playground into a natural play area, the school saw an opportunity to extend their revitalization efforts to the concrete yard. This previously overlooked area became the next candidate for an exciting playground transformation. The new playground design aimed to invite exploration and physical activity, promoting healthy play habits among the children. The transformation, accomplished within a week, had an immediate and profound impact.

Play Video

Camelia enthusiastically reports on the children’s reaction: “Our youngest children really love it. They love how there are, you know, the obstacle courses and the different heights where they love to explore.”

Playground Elements that Kids Love

The new playground, designed with children’s interests in mind, features a variety of components including slides, hills to climb on, and huts for those quieter moments. “And we’ve done some writing last week, in fact, about the new playground. The children talked about, you know, how they loved to play on the slide. They loved the little hill that they can climb on, and they love the hut that they can sit in.”

Not only does the new space provide children with a safer, more enjoyable place to play, but it also serves as a springboard for classroom activities. Children’s love for the playground transcends the playtime, transforming into a source of inspiration for their academic projects.

"This is a very cool playground that our children really love exploring."

The Enduring Impact

A week after the introduction of the new playground, Camelia and her colleagues are observing that the children’s enthusiasm for their new playground shows no sign of waning. “Our children have been telling us how much they love the playground,” she says, “Overall, I think this is a very cool playground that our children really love exploring, and they will continue to love exploring on the playground.”

Not only has this project improved the daily lives of students at Mission Heights Primary School, but it’s also set a positive example for other institutions struggling with similar issues. The concrete-to-playground transformation is a testament to the power of creative, child-centred thinking in education.

Camelia concludes, “And I think it’s highly recommended.” With her endorsement and the clear delight of the children who play there, the new playground is an undeniable success, underscoring the importance of play in children’s development and how educational institutions can facilitate it. Mission accomplished!

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St Patrick’s School, Te Awamutu

St Patrick’s School, Te Awamutu

Natural Play Equipment are simple, but engage children imagination and problem solving skills.Natural Play Equipment are simple, but engage children imagination and problem solving skills.

"We were really keen on creativity and imagination. We were looking for something really different."

St Patrick's Catholic School
Te Awamutu
Circa budget:

In Te Awamutu, New Zealand, Saint Patrick’s Catholic School is charting its own path in the realm of children’s play spaces. This isn’t a story about the traditional playgrounds we all know, filled with swings and monkey bars. It’s about a school challenging the norms to create a new narrative for their playgrounds.

When the school’s senior playground fell into disrepair, Principal Shelley Fitness didn’t opt for a like-for-like replacement. She envisioned a different kind of play space – one that emphasized creative play, physical strength development, and appealed to all ages. Creo, with its non-traditional approach, was chosen for the task.

Play Video

Creo’s methodology was both collaborative and innovative. We worked with the school’s playground committee to understand the unique requirements, aligning their design with the school’s ethos. For Shelly and her team, what set Creo apart was their use of technology – providing not just blueprints but a virtual walkthrough. This brought the school’s vision to life, aiding their leadership in presenting the plan to the board and PTA.

The construction phase, a crucial stage where many projects can falter, was handled professionally. Creo created an isolated worksite, reducing the impact on the school’s daily operations and addressing safety concerns. Their regular communication with the school ensured the project moved smoothly towards completion.

"One thing we've really noticed is that the older kids play with the little kids, so it's no longer the senior playground and junior playground,"

Upon unveiling the new playground, there was a transition period as the children adjusted to the new play space. It was a departure from the familiar, but its uniqueness soon found favour. The space now sees children of all ages interacting and playing together, a far cry from the previous segregated setup.

The fresh approach taken by Saint Patrick’s Catholic School and Creo has drawn interest from other educational institutions. This playground, built on the pillars of creativity, strength, and inclusivity, has carved a new path in play space design.

This experience has underscored that change can sometimes be met with apprehension, but with careful planning, collaboration, and a bit of creative courage, new norms can be established – even on a playground. It serves as a reminder to other schools considering similar projects that innovation, while challenging, can offer exciting and rewarding outcomes.

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Elm Park School

Elm Park School

Full Service playground design and build company can work from surface to playground equipment manufacturing.Full Service playground design and build company can work from surface to playground equipment manufacturing.
Proper shade prevent wet pour rubber surfacing from getting hot.Proper shade prevent wet pour rubber surfacing from getting hot.
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Managed risk is a key component of learing-focused playgroundsManaged risk is a key component of learing-focused playgrounds
Elm Park School_2.8.1Elm Park School_2.8.1
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“We decided to go with Creo because they were really interested in what made Elm Park unique to us.”

Elm Park School
Circa budget:

Elm Park School, a diverse community nestled in the heart of Auckland, found themselves facing an all-too-common problem: an outdated, 30-year-old playground. Deputy Principal Dave Walsh, a 26-year veteran of the school, describes the old space: “It was the old-style type of playground with, you know, climbing frames, the old woodchip bark.” The area, shaded by large trees, was also unsuitable for grass growth, which led to a dusty or muddy terrain depending on the weather.

The Promise of Transformation

The school knew they needed a change, and that’s when they found Creo, who specialise in play space design. Principal Sarah Baleicakau explains, “We decided to go with Creo because they were really interested in what made Elm Park unique to us.” Creo promised a design that would incorporate the school’s core values of respect, responsibility, and resilience, turning the space into more than just a playground – it would be a place where these values were nurtured and developed.

Managed risk is a key component of learing-focused playgrounds
The Project Begins From the outset, Creo impressed the school with their professionalism and dedication. “Health and safety was planned down to the detail,” Baleicakau recalls, noting that the worksite manager was always on-site and communication was consistently open and effective. A Nod to the Past Creo’s design didn’t just focus on the future. They suggested refurbishing and incorporating a 50-year-old climbing frame into the new design, preserving a piece of the school’s history. “That made it just that little bit more special,” Baleicakau notes, highlighting the project’s emphasis on sustainability.

Multi-Purpose and Multi-Functional

The transformed space is more than just a playground. It is now a multi-purpose area that promotes outdoor learning, physical education, and even confidence-building. “We know that learning just doesn’t take place inside the classroom,” explains Baleicakau. The playground has become a space for education outside the traditional classroom setting.

A Job Well Done

Upon completion, the playground received rave reviews from students and staff alike. “The children are absolutely thrilled with the playground. The staff are ecstatic,” shares Walsh. The space is not only used extensively but has added significant aesthetic value to the school environment.

“Creo was outstanding. They were professional, and their craftsmanship was second to none. We felt at ease at all times.” Sarah Baleicakau, Principal Elm Park School.

Looking Ahead

Elm Park School’s experience with Creo was overwhelmingly positive. As Baleicakau states, “Creo was outstanding. They were professional, and their craftsmanship was second to none. We felt at ease at all times.” This success story serves as a shining example of how a well-executed play space transformation can have far-reaching impacts on a school’s community. For Elm Park School, this may just be the first of many projects with Creo.

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If you’d like more information or to discuss a new project, get in touch today