Welcome to anybody who has recently started following Kiwi Play Safe, and thank you to everybody who has supported it from the start. I wanted to give you all an update on my progress.
Updates to Playground Files
I’ve made ongoing updates to the three different types of Playground Files: Fenced Playgrounds; Partially Fenced Playgrounds; and Playgrounds of Concern. New playgrounds have been added, and further comments have been included about existing playgrounds on the lists. I’ve also made four changes to the information presented:
- Playgrounds are now listed as by local council. I think this makes it easier to find your local council’s territory and see what playgrounds are listed. It isn’t as helpful for visitors in your region who might be looking for a fenced playground, but when I have spare capacity I’d like to plot the fenced playgrounds available on specific routes throughout the country – all of the fenced playgrounds that you could visit while doing the seemingly endless drive from Auckland to Wellington, for example.
- I’ve included the date at which each playground was added. This enables you to check the list periodically and see if there are any new playgrounds featured.
- I’m occasionally adding Playground Safari links, which take you to separate posts about individual playgrounds that we’ve visited.
- I’m noting when councils have provided the information about playgrounds in their region. I’d still welcome parents’ comments about those playgrounds – and photos!
Conversations with Councils
I’m currently in touch with several councils around the country, and am waiting for several more to respond to my enquiries. I’m also reading any playground policies or strategies they can provide, so I can better understand the reasoning behind their decision-making, and whether their theoretical intentions are working in practice.
I had a fascinating and very helpful meeting yesterday with Shyrel Burt, Auckland Council’s Principal Policy Analyst for Parks and Recreation. The great news is that the Kiwi Play Safe campaign is happening at just the right time: the Council is intending to develop an Investment Plan for Play, which will serve as its play strategy going forward. I will continue lobbying for fenced playgrounds to be included as an essential element of the overall play offering in the city, which includes everything from reserves for free play to highly developed destination playgrounds. There will be plenty of opportunities for interested parties – like all Auckland-based Kiwi Play Safe supporters – to get involved in the consultation process as the Investment Plan for Play is developed, and I’ll ensure that I publicise them as they arise.
With regard to specific playgrounds of concern, the advice I’ve received is to lobby individual Local Boards as required, so that’s exactly what I intend to do! This will require others to speak up as well, so I will let you know about specific mini campaigns.
While speaking to the councils I’m also researching how this issue is handled internationally, to see what best practice is available – I’m a big fan of not reinventing the wheel! Unsurprisingly, the people I’m contacting in Australia, Canada, and Great Britain are unfailingly kind and helpful. When I have more information about different approaches I will share it.
I’m in the process of contacting several organisations that, I believe, should be able to understand the aim of Kiwi Play Safe, and will hopefully lend their support (and that’s really all I need from them: a willingness to put their name on my list of supporters, along with our wonderful first supporter, Dream Au Pair). If you know any organisation that you think should get behind Kiwi Play Safe, please let me know – especially if you can give me specific contact names!
There’s a lot to do, and I start the third year of my busy degree on Monday! However, I’ll keep working on Kiwi Play Safe when I can. I really appreciate everybody’s support, and I look forward to making more progress in the coming months. Please help me by continuing to share the Facebook page, encouraging your friends to like it too, speaking up when I publicise opportunities to lend your voice to the project by lobbying individual Councils and Local Boards, and telling me about different playgrounds. Together we will get this job done!
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