For background information, please read The Playground Files.

Playgrounds of Concern are the unfenced playgrounds that parents throughout the North Island judge to be too close to hazards like traffic, water, and off-leash dogs to be a safe place for a sole caregiver with more than one small child. That isn’t to say that they’re bad or dangerous playgrounds – many of them are fantastic! The concern is that children using the playgrounds are at risk from nearby hazards. The following list is organised by alphabetically by local council, and then alphabetically by playground name/location. Auckland and Wellington Playgrounds of Concern are not included, as they have their own pages.Where possible, I have included comments from the parent or parents who nominated the playground. In some cases I have nominated the playground myself, so the comment is from Kiwi Play Safe.

As always, if you can think of a playground that should be on this list, please send me the details (location, why you think it qualifies as a Playground of Concern, etc). Photographs of any of the playgrounds mentioned are always welcomed. And please contact me if you feel that the information below is inaccurate in any way.

Far North District Council

Church Street playground

Church Street, Kawakawa

Date added: 23/01/17

Parent’s comment: “It’s on top of a hill, but has no fencing whatsoever. And the road can get busy at times. As far as I can remember, I think it only has some swings and possibly a seesaw.”

Hamilton City Council

Lake Rotokaeo playground 

Minogue Park, Moore Street, off Forest Lake Road, Hamilton

Date added: 23/01/17

Parent’s comment: “Unfenced and next to a large pond.”

Parana Park playground

Memorial Drive, Hamilton

Date added: 23/01/17

Parent’s comment: “Unfenced and next to Waikato River.”

Manawatu District Council

Kowhai Park playground

South Street, Feilding

Date added: 23/01/17

Parent’s comment: “Open playground with a duck pond and easy access to the road.”

Kiwi Play Safe comment: I know this playground well – I grew up in Feilding, and we used to play there while my father played twilight cricket on the neighbouring cricket ground, on summer evenings. It is so much fun, but the lack of fencing is a huge concern here. Aside from the road access and large duck pond already mentioned, there is access down to a stream (which can be very big if there’s been a lot of rain), and a lot of bush for young children to disappear into…

Napier City Council

Spriggs Park (also known as Ahuriri Park)

Hardinge Road, Napier


Date added: 23/01/17

Parent’s comment: “Ahuriri Park in Napier is not fenced and really needs to be… it goes almost directly across a walkway/cycle path straight into the sea!”

Kiwi Play Safe comment: We were very surprised that this playground was unfenced when we visited Napier, in light of the amazing fenced playground closer to the city. The same hazards exist at this playground, so it will be interesting to find out why it hasn’t been treated in the same way.

Otorohanga District Council

Windsor Park playground

Haerehuku Street, Otorohanga

Date added: 23/01/17

Kiwi Play Safe comment: It would be good to get some more details about this playground, including the specific hazards that make it a Playground of Concern.

Rotorua Lakes Council

Parent’s comment: “I live in Rotorua and I don’t know of any fenced playgrounds. I always have found it hard to take them to the park. I’d say most often the playgrounds are by roads.”

Kiwi Play Safe comment: Another tourist destination without a destination playground!

Taupo District Council

Tongariro Domain playground

Tongariro Street, Taupo

Date added: 23/01/17

Parent’s comment: “Unfenced, on a busy road.”

Kiwi Play Safe comment: We stop at this playground whenever we drive through Taupo, which is a couple of times a year. It’s a fun place for the kids to run around, but it is completely unfenced. Tongariro Street isn’t as busy as it once was, now that State Highway 1 bypasses the town, but there is still plenty of local traffic. I would not use this playground if my children were runners!

Tauranga District Council

Mount Drury playground

Mount Drury Reserve, Maunganui Road, Mount Maunganui

Date added: 23/01/17

Parent’s comment: “Really needs to be fenced, it is always busy and over the summer there are so many cars and people it is hard to keep your children safe.”

Tauranga Waterfront playground

The Strand, Tauranga

North Island Playgrounds of Concern image.jpg

Date added: 23/01/17

Parents’ comments:

“There is a playground right there – I wasn’t impressed to see they were right on the harbour front with no fencing what so ever … just a really low railway sleeper type thing which I actually thought for a toddler was more of a trip hazard to send them onto a 2ish meter drop to the water! Did not let my son leave our sides and still had a few heart in mouth moments!”

“Yes the Tauranga one sprang to mind too – it’s awesome but sprawling along the waterfront. Alo right next to the train tracks – which are fenced off at least but was surprised they would build a playground so close.”

“The Hairy Maclary one gave me the jitters with a 6m drop into the ocean next to the park.”

“And right next to a carpark AND the railway lines.”

Kiwi Play Safe comment: Apparently the Hairy Maclary figures along the waterfront, which are very likely to attract the attention of young fans, are perilously close to the above-mentioned drop down to the ocean, as shown in the photo above.

Waipa District Council

Pioneer Park playground

Corner of Welwyn Lane and Gorst Avenue, Te Awamutu

Date added: 23/01/17

Parent’s comment: “On a busy road and not fenced at all.”

Waitomo District Council

Waitomo playground

Waitomo Caves Road, Waitomo (beside the Top Ten Holiday Park)

Date added: 23/01/17

Parent’s comment: “There’s a playground in Waitomo that’s right next to the road and unfenced. Would love to take my kids there but I have 2 year old twins and a 3 year old so it’s just not safe. It’s a busy road with tourists and buses going to the caves, especially in summer.”

Whangarei District Council

Parents’ comments:

“No fenced playgrounds in Whangarei that I’m aware of.”

“My friend in Whangarei has done a giant drive, petition to have up there playgrounds fenced – got loads of signatures, took it to be presented, and was still declined. I don’t get it, I have two runners who’d head in opposite directions, so sometimes the park can be a nightmare! Loads are by roads and other potential hazards.”

Kiwi Play Safe comment: I look forward to talking to the Whangarei District Council and finding out why they are opposed to providing safe playgrounds for their ratepayers’ children!

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