New playground instant hit

By Sandra Conchie

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A huge crowd turned up to the official opening of Tauranga's new Waterfront Playground at the weekend, including hundreds of children ready to test the creation.

Tauranga Primary School student Arielle Viduya, 6, and her 28-month-old sister Aliza helped Mayor Stuart Crosby cut the ribbon on Saturday, after winning the right to do so in a Downtown Tauranga competition.

The ribbon cutting was followed by a mad dash by the excited children keen to be one of the first to play on the $300,000 water-themed colourful equipment.

The playground, which was created by Playground Centre, features rope courses, a train watching stand, slides, a 'dancing swing' and 'playship' which are unique elements made in Germany.

The rope spinner, the first of its kind in New Zealand, uses thick loops of rope that spin around, and also rock back and forth.

Youngster Arielle said it was exciting to get the chance to cut the ribbon with the Mayor and to be one of the first to play on the new equipment.

"I think the best thing is the big slide as it was fun, and I also like all the colours," she said.

Mr Crosby said he wanted to thank all those people involved with the project, which incorporated a number of features young people had asked for during a council-led public feedback survey.

Saturday was an exciting day for the many young children, all keen to play on the creation, with a mad dash once he and Arielle cut the ribbon, he said.

"There was no stopping them. It reminded me of the old-fashioned bull rush, it was great."

Mr Crosby said the playground was stage three of a multi-staged $5.5 million programme planned over 10 years to bring more people back to the waterfront, he said.

"The playground was to give young people an opportunity to enjoy the waterfront. When you looked at the CBD there has been very little for young people to do, and this is something I have been quite keen to change over many years," he said.

"I'm sure the playground will help attract more young people to come down and enjoy what the waterfront has to offer."

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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