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. The very small list of Christchurch Playgrounds of Concern isn’t included, as there is a separate Christchurch list. Where possible, I have included comments from the parent or parents who nominated the playground.

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.

Dunedin City Council

Parent comment: “There are no fenced playgrounds in Dunedin. The playgrounds are all hazardous – beside roads, several entrances and exists, pools, ponds, and rivers not fenced off. I keep seeing the dog parks and being jealous they get to be fenced in!”

Kiwi Play Safe comment: It is amazing to consider that one of New Zealand’s biggest cities has no fenced playgrounds!

Invercargill City Council

Anderson Park playground

McIvor Road, Invercargill

Date added: 23/01/17

Parent’s comment: “Beautiful with a good playground, but unfenced and child can escape in muiltiple directions into bush, large duck pond or car park.”

Russell Square playground

Corner of Elles Road and Dalrymple Street, Invercargill

Date added: 23/01/17

Parent’s comment: “On a very busy road with corners at each side – it has some great play equipment but very unsafe with no fencing and busy roads.”

Queens Park playground

Queens Drive, Invercargill

Date added: 23/01/17

Parent’s comment: “Has lots of hazards and is not fenced. Can be accessed from 3 sides so if they disappear you don’t know which of the 3 directions they’ve gone (large hedging/planting around so hard to just see where they went). One of those sides is the car park. There are ponds and wee creeks through the other entrances. Within the large playground itself is a water play area with a large paddling pool So there are numerous dangers for a toddler if you are distracted dealing with other children.”

Timaru District Council

Caroline Bay Park playground

Marine Parade, Timaru

Date added: 23/01/17

Parent’s comment: “I am extremely frustrated that this awesome playground has an unfenced paddling pool in the middle of it. If it was at someone’s home it would need to be fenced but somehow council can get away with it. Makes it very hard for me with 3 preschoolers to go there on my own. Lost my then 3 yr old there once and totally panicked but thankfully he wasn’t in the pool!”

Queenstown Lakes District Council

Parent’s comment: “I wish wish wish Queenstown had even just one fenced playground so I could actually take my three toddlers to the park on my own. When I was a nanny in the U.K. It was great as I’m sure every playground in London was gated.”

Kiwi Play Safe comment: Given that Queenstown is one of New Zealand’s most popular holiday destinations, surely it would be a good idea to have at least one fenced ‘destination’ playground there?

Main Beach playground

Marine Parade, Queenstown

Date added: 23/01/17

Parent’s comment: “There is an unfenced playground on the Queentown lake front, near water.”

McBride Park playground

Hope Avenue, Lake Hayes Estate, Queenstown

Date added: 23/01/17

Parent’s comment: “The Lake Hayes Estate playground is big, unfenced, and near the road.”

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