New Plymouth firm Clelands Construction have been awarded the main construction contract to build Destination Play at Kāwaroa. Led by Managing Director Michael Braggins, Clelands Construction will work closely with Denis Wheeler Earthmoving to bring the community’s vision to life by transforming Kāwaroa into a vibrant space where individuals of all ages and abilities can gather, play, and create lasting memories.

Michael was pleased to bring together a group of likeminded subcontractors and suppliers to support the project, which is largely funded through philanthropic donations and sponsorships. “We are excited to embark on this project, helping to create something pretty special for local families,” he said. “This project means a great deal to us as it presents an opportunity to bring to life the first Destination Playground for our region, transforming Kāwaroa into a highlight on our award-winning Coastal Walkway. This playground, situated on a culturally significant and historic site on New Plymouth’s foreshore, will honour our community’s heritage while providing a space for all to enjoy.”

While Clelands will handle the main contract, there has been close to 10 smaller contracts already awarded for bespoke play items and areas that require specific skills and expertise. Site activation began on April 15th and planned completion is December 2024. Upon completion of the civil works, the installation of above-ground play equipment, furniture, and landscaping will complete the play space for an eventual opening to the community.

The groundbreaking and blessing ceremony on March 19th marked the official commencement of works on-site. While the team focuses on delivering Stage One, progress on Stage Two is actively underway. Almost $6M – of which close to 90% is philanthropically funded by donations, grants and the sponsorships – has been raised for Stage One, subsequent sections will be unveiled as additional funding becomes accessible, ensuring a comprehensive and gradual development of the project.

Josh Hickford, Chief Executive of Taranaki Foundation, shared his excitement at reaching this significant milestone in the project’s development. “After a rigorous tender evaluation process, the contract was awarded for professionalism and the best value for money. We’re on a journey to create a play space where everyone can play together, immersed in local stories to inspire imaginative play. We can’t wait to see children and families enjoy it.”

“Having close to 90% of the project privately funded through philanthropic channels, we are truly grateful to all the donors, supporters and foundation, Kāwaroa and community partners for their continued support and advocacy as we take big strides to bringing this vision to life. Their dedication and generosity have been pivotal in overcoming the challenges of this complex community project and seeing it through to the construction phase.” Josh added.

John Leuthart, NP Partners lead, shared his pride in the Foundation Project for the Ngāmotu New Plymouth Partners Programme coming to realisation. “Drawn by the power of a unified vision, we work together to support bold initiatives for our city, district and region. Destination Play is an initiative of Bryce Barnett and the Taranaki Foundation, our investment and legacy partner, in this foundation project. Destination Play is supported by NP Partners: Toi Foundation, Todd Energy, OMV, NP Airport, Clelands Construction, Rivet, Timberco, Beca, BTW, WSP, Powerco, Mad Media, Strategy Collective, Bryce and Delwyn Barnett, Dan and Renee Radcliffe, Phil and Robyn Hinton.”

New Plymouth District Mayor Neil Holdom echoed these sentiments at the power of a unified vision. “Destination Play is an example of New Plymouth people, families and local organisations coming together to turn a dream and a vision into a reality, transforming Kāwaroa into one of the highlights of our award-winning Coastal Walkway. Our thanks to the Taranaki Foundation, Ngāti Te Whiti, NP Partners and NPDC for their collaboration on a project that will celebrate the child in all of us.”

Key Dates and Information:

  • 20 March 2024: Fencing off play area; Playground closed.
  • 21 March 2024: Removal of existing play equipment and furniture; Playground and Walkway closed.
  • April – September 2024: Civil construction commences for new Destination Play; expect disruption to the Carpark near playground, and Coastal Walkway.
  • September – December 2024: Installation of play equipment and furniture; Carpark may be partially/completely closed, Coastal Walkway may reopen.

Find out more and contribute to Destination Play here

Read the Taranaki Daily News article here

Photo Credit: Vanessa Laurie / STUFF