The installation of new accessible picnic tables at some of Tauranga's most popular reserves has been hailed as "a big thing" for those with mobility needs.
The tables have been designed with modified stools that allow a wheelchair to sit alongside.
Two tables will be installed at Pāpāmoa Domain over the next three to four months and there are plans to install up to another 12 in that time at locations including Pilot Bay, Marine Parade, Mount Drury, Sulphur Point and Karewa Parade.
For disability advocate Paul Curry, the tables were another step towards the goal of getting Tauranga closer to becoming New Zealand's most inclusive and accessible city.
Curry, co-chair of the Tauranga Disability Advisory Committee, was involved in Tauranga City Council's consultation regarding the tables and said they would have a huge impact on the lives of wheelchair users.
"If you're stopping for fish and chips with family or friends - instead of trying to arrange your knees because you can't get under the table, you can actually participate like everyone else," Curry said.
"These are about inclusion, doing stuff like everybody else does."
Curry said such inclusion was important for anyone with mobility issues and for him personally, it meant peace of mind and a sense of belonging.
About 28 per cent of Tauranga's population has some form of disability.
Of this population, one in three people were aged over 60. This is 4 per cent higher than the national average.
"There are two types of people in the world; those with a disability and those who haven't found theirs yet," Curry said.
"I think the council has made huge strides."
The stools could be retrofitted to existing picnic tables as well as being purchased new.
Future locations also being considered for the tables were The Strand, Kulim Park, Fergusson Park, Yatton Park, Motiti Reserve, and Pāpāmoa beach reserve.
The tables were expected to cost $2800 inclusive of the concrete pad, on par with standard picnic sets of the same style previously installed around the city.
Council community development advisor of disability and age-friendly cities Kieran Walls said the idea came from a staff member talking with a mother of two children who had a spinal cord injury.
"She wanted to be able to play a full part in meal times when out at the beach."
Walls agreed the tables were a step towards making Tauranga the most accessible and inclusive city in New Zealand.