For background information, please read The Playground Files.

Playgrounds of Concern are the unfenced playgrounds that parents in the greater Wellington region 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. 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.

Hutt City Council

Avalon Park playground

Taita Drive, Lower Hutt

Date added: 23/01/17

Parents’ comments:

“Avalon Park used to have a fenced toddler area, but sadly after a million dollar plus upgrade last year, there is no longer a fenced section.”

“They have water play areas and parking on both sides. It’s v easy to lose your kids there as its so spread out, no shades either. Lots of fun but lack of fencing is a problem.”

“Avalon Park in Lower Hutt doesn’t have a fenced off area (even for the toddler playground) since it was revamped last year.”

“Yes the Avalon Park playground upgrade is a little concerning now actually. Theres a great water feature but it floods a tiny little ‘pond’ so you can’t see the edge and a small, less spatially aware kid could easily fall in. And theres no barrier of any sort between the park and the carparks.”

“Very scary and easy to lose sight because it is really big and busy. Last time I went I spotted a child running up the dam where there is a road with an 80kph speed limit on the other side – luckily the Mum could run fast.”

“We have a new and beautiful and expensive playground in my area (Avalon park, Lower Hutt) and they ripped out existing fencing and destroyed sight lines. The playground is fun, but it is difficult for parents to supervise.”

“You can add the new Avalon Park in Lower Hutt to this too – no fences and our twins run off in different directions = we don’t go to the park – it’s so unfair.”

“Our big bugbear, such a great park but no fencing and hard to keep track there as just need to nip through a tunnel and it’s a hike to find them, it’s really a fantastic park though just hard on parents with young ones.”

“It’s totally crazy that they didn’t fence the under 5s area given that it used to be fenced.

The Hutt City Council website page about the Avalon Park development says ‘The under-fives area is not fenced off, but is designed to encourage toddlers to stay within the area’. Hahaha try keeping 2 1/2 year old twins within the sandpit/toddler area when there is a big water play area a few metres away and cool climbing frames, climbing walls, huge slide etc within view!! Not to mention the car park right next to it. A nightmare. We rarely go even with my husband to help. Too big and too hard to contain the twins.”

Kiwi Play Safe comment: This playground was all set to appear on the Wellington Fenced Playgrounds list, and then several parents provided the comments above. I can’t wait to find out why a council would upgrade a really popular playground and choose to make it less safe for young children…

Play area by Dowse Art Museum

Myrtle Street, Lower Hutt

Date added: 23/01/17

Parent’s comment: “Has a carpark nearby and stream through it (this was the scene of a near miss with one of my guys running to the carpark and other chasing ducks….argh!).”

Harcourt Park playground

Akatarawa Road, Upper Hutt

Date added: 23/01/17

Parent’s comment: “Harcourt park has a road off the carpark where a lot of cars speed plus it has two separate playgrounds and lots of walks and different areas so it’s so easy to lose a child. I lost my oldest when I was running after my middle child and I didn’t know where to look first because it had two car parks and roads at either end I was having the worst visions of him running out onto traffic since then I won’t take them to the park alone.”

Porirua City Council

Wi Neera Drive playground 

Wi Neera Drive, Elsdon, Porirua

Date added: 23/01/17

Parents’ comments:

“Unfenced playground between the harbour and a busy road. I would never take my kids there as it feels very unsafe. And I always see people smoking there.”

“It might have something to do with the rowing shed that’s in the same area. Something to keep the kids occupied… We have stopped there once on our way home from the library. The smokers didn’t leave the area even with my kids playing there. And now I have two and sometimes four kids the idea of twin dangers of road and harbour is overwhelming.”

“The Porirua Harbour playground is on Wi Neera Drive, opposite part of the Whitireia campus. As well as being right by a road (with cars parked on each side) and the banks of the harbour, it’s also quite rickety and grubby at times.”

Wellington City Council

Central Park playground

Brooklyn Road, Brooklyn

Date added: 23/01/17

Parent’s comment: “Has a cliff/bush slope you can lose a toddler over.”

Karori Park playground

Karori Road, Karori

Date added: 23/01/17

Parent’s comment: “Right next to a very busy road.”

Khandallah Park playground


Date added: 23/01/17

Parent’s comment: “Has a stream running through it.”

Kiwi Play Safe comment: I would appreciate it if somebody could confirm the name of the access road for this park.

Nairn Street Park playground

Top of Nairn Street, Mt Cook

Date added: 23/01/17

Parent’s comment: “Is open and has slopes all around, one of which will land you on a road.”

Nairnville Park playground

Cockayne Rd, Khandallah

Date added: 23/01/17

Parent’s comment: “Next to a very busy road.”

Oriental Parade playground

Oriental Parade, Oriental Bay

Date added: 23/01/17

Parent’s comment: “A great playground but is on the beach and fully open to the water. I really liked this when I just had one kid as it is kind of beach/playground combo but I imagine will be a lot harder once our twins are older and I have three running in different directions.”

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