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Parks Week competition winners

Nichola Dickinson

A bunch of dedicated families know heaps more about Hastings’ playgrounds after racing round trying to visit them all - and they have won gift vouchers for their awesome efforts.

Families were challenged by Hastings District Council to get to as many of the 37 playgrounds as they could during Parks Week, take photos of their children playing on the equipment, and get the pictures into Council by 8pm on Sunday [March 15].

It was about encouraging families to explore all kinds of playgrounds, from the small neighbourhood and rural ones to the seaside playgrounds and premier play spaces, said Hastings councillor Ann Redstone.

“I really think we’ve achieved that. All of the families who commented on the challenge said it was a real eye-opener to see the sheer number and variety of places that we have to play in.”

This week the winners have been decided, and it was not easy. In the end the parks team has awarded first-equal prizes ($250 gift vouchers) to three families. They made it to all 37 playgrounds and said they had a fabulous time.

But the team has decided to also award a fourth prize ($150) to a family which was not far behind. The children went to a lot of trouble to provide feedback on each of the playgrounds they did get to and are planning on writing about the experience. “That sort of feedback is great to have,” said Council’s open spaces planning manager Rachel Stuart.

The three winning families were the Palmers, the Mitchells and the Scottons.

The Palmer children, chauffeured by their “very patient granny Cheryle”, made it a quest, visiting all 37 playgrounds over three days. Brayden (11) and Bailey (5), said their favourite park was Puketapu, “with its awesome flying fox”, followed closely by the Haumoana Memorial Park playground. “They were amazed at how many parks there were and are looking forward to visiting many of them again,” said their aunt Lena.

Fran Mitchell and daughter Amazon-Reign (6) also rated Haumoana Memorial Park. “My daughter and I had an absolute blast. We were introduced to some new parks and got to revisit parks we had not been to in a long time.”

The Scotton family also made it to all of the parks, saying it was “really good quality time travelling to all the different parks and going to places we hadn’t been to before.”

The  fourth-placed Dickinson family, mum Nichola with Leo (8), Flynn (7), Malakai (2) and Juno (8mo), made a learning experience out of the competition. “We home-school . . . so did learning projects around the competition including statistics, gathering information and ranking systems. We plan to write an article with our rankings and expect the elder two to help with the writing,” said Nichola.

They have also been experimenting with video and are planning on making one on their playground visits.

The playground at Haumoana again scored highly, 9.5 out of 10, beaten out of the family’s first place ranking only by the new playground at Cornwall Park, with a 10. Other high scorers for the Dickinsons were the Flaxmere Park playground and the Kirkpatrick Park playground in Camberley.


20 March 2020

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