As we step into the promise of a new year, we reflect with gratitude on the journey that has brought us to the brink of realising a shared dream—Destination Play at Kāwaroa. In the coming year, we’re excited to see the transformation of this dream into a reality that will shape the heart of New Plymouth.

The story started five years ago when Bryce Barnett, inspired by a playground in Takapuna, Auckland, dared to dream of a community-driven project that would redefine the foreshore of New Plymouth. Today, as we prepare to bid farewell to the existing playground equipment and embark on civil construction, Bryce and Delwyn Barnett share their excitement. “Destination Play at Kāwaroa is a long-awaited community asset where people of all ages and physical abilities can come together, play together and create lasting memories. We’re thrilled to see the preparations for Stage One of Destination Play get underway.”

Bryce Barnett at Destination Play launch in July 2022 with Delwyn Barnett and grandchildren Brodie & Alice Barnett.

The realisation of a community project of this scale wouldn’t have been conceivable without the generous support from a diverse range of contributors. Taranaki Foundation, Chief Executive Josh Hickford said, “It’s been a considerable effort to get the project to this point  and we express our gratitude to all the donors, supporters, funders and community partners for their continued backing and advocacy as we move closer to realising this vision and bringing the project fully to life.”

Today, we proudly spotlight some of our cornerstone donors who have been instrumental from the project’s inception—the Barnett, Hinton, Garrett, and Radcliffe families. Rooted in our community, these families believed in the project from the start and their passion and early support set the stage for the realisation of Destination Play at Kāwaroa.

David and Fay Garrett, known for Brooklands Pet Products as well as the popular Kāwaroa Aquarium attraction that opened in 1974, expressed their enthusiasm, emphasising the transformative impact the project will have on New Plymouth’s foreshore, “Now, our children and families can enjoy a superb destination playground that rivals anything else in New Zealand, right here in the heart of New Plymouth.”

David Garrett with his son Warren Garrett and great grandchildren Brodie Wells and Anea Briscoe enjoying the swings at Kāwaroa on 28 December 2023.

Left to right: Brodie Wells, Warren Garrett, Fay Garrett, David Garrett, Anea Briscoe, Monique Wells and Lauresa Brett enjoying the sunshine at Kāwaroa on 28 December 2023.

The Hintons are another key supporter of Destination Play. They highlight the significance of community-driven initiatives. Robyn and Phil say, “We are thrilled to be part of this project and are confident that it will bring immense benefits to our community. It will undoubtedly become a beloved place for families and visitors to cherish.”

The Radcliffe family, known for Daniel’s involvement in founding International Volunteer HQ and Shining Peak Brewing alongside wife Rene, see Destination Play as much more than a playground.  “It’s a space that will provide rich learning opportunities for both those familiar with the area and the next generation. We are proud to call this place home and feel an obligation to contribute to the community’s exciting opportunities.”

As Destination Play at Kāwaroa takes shape, it represents a dream realised, the power of community collaboration and a legacy of joy for generations to come. We celebrate the passion and early support of our visionary donors, embodying a powerful message of what is possible when a community comes together.

Here’s to a bright healthy and playful new year!