Water play, climbing platforms and a pump track are some of the new features planned for an innovative new play and learning space that will transform New Plymouth’s Kāwaroa Park for all ages to enjoy and explore.

Destination Play at Kāwaroa, which is being led by the Taranaki Foundation in partnership with Ngāti Te Whiti, NPDC and NP Partners, will be created next year and is designed as a legacy for future generations.

A range of interactive experiences as well as new learning and public facilities will be included in 12 conceptually themed zones. Woven into the ground-breaking layout are the rich stories of the area, hapū and communities as well as our city’s culture, heritage, ecology.

With work set to begin early next year, the $5.5m project to replace the aging playground and transform Kāwaroa into a regional destination has already secured 65% of the funding, and the rest is being raised through public and philanthropic donations, sponsorship and other channels.

Taranaki Foundation Chair Bryce Barnett said at the unveiling of the plans that Destination Play at Kāwaroa is an investment in our story, culture, people and community.

“The Taranaki Foundation are honoured to be working on this visionary play space that will benefit all generations and for generations to come, and we’re looking forward to bringing everyone on this journey with us,” says Bryce.

“This is a park that people will visit again and again and have different experiences each time they come. We’re inviting everyone to get involved and contribute to this project and to making our city an incredible place to live, work and play. ”

“Destination Play is an example of New Plymouth people coming together to create something amazing for our people and will reflect our unique cultural heritage through our partnership with Ngāti Te Whiti,  transforming Kāwaroa into one of the highlights of our award-winning Coastal Walkway. Our thanks to the Taranaki foundation and the NPDC for their collaboration on a project that will celebrate the child in all of us,” says New Plymouth District Mayor Neil Holdom.

Kāwaroa Park is historically significant to the people of Ngāmotu-New Plymouth, being one of the first areas first inhabited by Ngāti Te Whiti, and Destination Play would honour that connection to the land through stories from Ngāti Te Whiti and Te Atiawa

Ngāti Te Whiti Hapu Chair Julie Healey is proud of the cultural narrative weaved throughout the Destination Play at Kāwaroa.

“Destination Play will celebrate and bring to the forefront elements of our rich Ngāti Te Whiti history.  Through the use of inclusive story-telling Destination Play will facilitate a more in-depth appreciation of the whenua (land), moana (sea) and te taiao (the environment) for all generations within the wider Taranaki community”.

  • Read more about Destination Play at Kāwaroa here
  • Read the Taranaki Daily News article announcing Destination Play here 
  • Watch an interview with Ngāti Te Whiti hapū chair Julie Healey reflecting on the project planning and collaboration here