About time.

There is no playground in Otangarei, and the local kids deserve one.

But that's about to change.

Read more: Petition for playground pays off for Otangarei youth


Good on Housing NZ for throwing $55,000 at the project and ratepayer funds will bring in another $155,000 for the project.

Of the latter, $100,000 is for CCTV, a sunshade and lighting.

In a way, it's sobering that HNZ's sense of commitment flows from the fact that 60 per cent of the homes in Otangarei, population roughly 1800, are owned by HNZ.

But good on them for recognising that a playground is a valuable part of a healthy social infrastructure.

And it's fun for the kids too, and a meeting place for parents and caregivers.

Local marae youth club co-ordinator Makoare Hoterene is partly responsible - he helped gather support for a 700 signature petition earlier this year, asking for a playground.

Kids who couldn't sign the petition recorded their plea on video that accompanied the petition.

The playground will be built on Otangarei Reserve, behind the marae.


Building the playground is going to require good communication with the community and funders/designers - what does OT want or need?

Those of us on the sidelines shouldn't fall into the trap of "good luck - it will be wrecked within a few weeks".

This is a community that has a strong spirit within. Sure, there is trouble occasionally. Just like there is trouble in other suburbs that we don't always here about because it's not a gang member perpetrating the violence.

But OT is a community that, with a strong sense of ownership of this playground, will enjoy it very much.

It's also a chance for the community to say "hey, this is a smoke, violence, alcohol free zone for our tamariki - respect our kaupapa".

I'm looking forward to seeing what unique design the community and funders come up with.

Great to see this finally happening, for too long the OT kids have missed out on something that no kiwi kid should be denied.