For background information, please read The Playground Files.


At present this category is totally owned by one very famous and very expensive playground: the Margaret Mahy Family Playground in Christchurch’s CBD. It reportedly cost around $20m to buy the land and build the playground, and it sounds like it’s a fantastic community resource. However, there has been ongoing complaints from local parents regarding the lack of fencing and the presence of hazards – specifically traffic, and water. I got very excited for a minute when I found this news story about how fences were up at the playground, but sadly these were just temporary fences while the playground had additional equipment added, including play equipment, specialist equipment for disabled children, and more shade and seating.

While it’s wonderful that the council continues to invest in this playground, perhaps it could have been sensible to consider whether, rather than adding more play equipment for able-bodied children, some of the money could have been invested in fencing? This blog post discusses the Margaret Mahy Family Playground in more detail.

As always, please let me know if you feel that any of the following information is inaccurate. And please send me a photo of any playgrounds featured on this list!

Christchurch Central

Margaret Mahy Family Playground

177 Armagh Street, Christchurch Central

Date added: 23/01/17

Parents’ comments:

“Amazing and bordered by 3 unfenced roads and an unfenced river – idiots.”

“Doesn’t need complete fencing, but it does need limited fencing. When you go to the big slide, kids can go down the other side into the car park. You can’t see. Who they consulted was beyond me. Parents of primary age children? My daughter has art as part of the playground. We hardly go though, two toddlers of almost 2 and 4.”

“I love this park but hate that it isn’t fenced so only go on the weekend when my partner is home to help watch the kids. It’s a great playground but with an 11yr, 9yr, 4yr and two 3yr old kids it’s too hard to supervise them all on my own. Oldest want to do stuff on one side of the playground while the younger ones want to run all over the place.”

“Could be the biggest unfenced playground in the country.”

“The new Margaret Mahy playground in Christchurch is unfenced and I’m pretty sure it also has parts near water (although we didn’t go near those). It’s also on an intersection right in the middle of the CBD which is quite unnerving.”

“The ‘fence’ they do have is a perfect size for a toddler to run through yet mum can’t fit through it and you can’t climb over it!! It’s also on the banks of a river!”

“I’m unsure how to survey the playground easily when it’s very crowded, every time I’ve been I’ve lost track of one of my 4 kids for mins at a time, too long for something to happen now I only go there when I have my youngest on her own it’s just too chaotic.”

“You’re so right about this. It’s exactly why I haven’t been and can’t go. I have almost 2 yr multiples and an almost 3 yr old. There is no way I would ever attempt to go to this park. What’s it going to take for this park and ALL parks to be fenced. Doesn’t this take the piss of the “you have to have your swimming pool fenced” unless it’s a certain height. Well a river is a bloody big drop down not to mention the roads. I feel like this wasn’t even designed for everyone. this would not be a safe place to take my kids. Just very risky! And I’m not ready to gamble their life.”

“I’ve not taken my boys there yet as youngest who is 12 is autistic and still does runners from time to time, he’s also faster than me. His brother is fine, but fences are necessary to slow him down slightly.”


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