Natasha Hill, Te Rito Journalism Cadet
A $10.8 million playground has left some users questioning the limited parking spaces available on the expensive project.
Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
The Hayman Park Playground in the heart of Manukau City has been open to the public for the past two weeks.
The redevelopment of the playground was a two-part $10.8 million project taking over a year to finish.
It features a 12.8 metre-high play tower, two flying foxes, rope play equipment, a wave and pump track, and an additional basketball half-court.
The 12.8 metre tower is the tallest playground tower in New Zealand, beating its nearest rivals by 2.8m.
Hayman Park’s play tower includes a rock climbing wall, rope tunnel bridges, and a rooftop seesaw.
Papatoetoe local Jessica Perkins has visited the playground twice with her baby, as part of a playcentre group.
However, it took over half an hour for the group to find parking, on the far side of Hayman Park.
Perkins says parking has always been an issue for the playcentre group, especially after school, with the limited parking spaces in front of the playground often occupied.
She acknowledges the nearby public transport but points out that most families visit in private vehicles.
Perkins says it is great to see the park full of people after the redevelopment.
However, given the lack of parking, she questions the $10.8 million price tag.
“I really like it but I would like to see where the money went.”
Shanelle Simon-Layug, from Clendon Park, agrees there is not enough parking.
“Like the place is clean and has an accessible toilet. It’s just the parking.”
A mother of three, Simon-Layug also eventually ended up parking on the far side of the park after a lengthy delay.
Despite the parking issues she hopes the playground can be well maintained.
Eke Panuku Development Auckland is one of four council-controlled organisations of Auckland Council and is in charge of developing parks across Auckland.
An Eke Panuku spokesperson says they are working on more parking options for Hayman Park visitors.
David Barker, Auckland Council Parks and Places team leader, says they are also working on more than 25 park playgrounds across Auckland.
Several park sites will have new play spaces built to meet the needs of growing communities.
“One of the biggest and most exciting projects is currently underway at David Lange Park.”
“A cultural narrative for the play space was gifted by mana whenua and this gift and the story of “Te riri o Mataaoho” (The Wrath of Mataaoho) will provide a unique play experience for the tamariki of South Auckland – and visitors from across the region.”
The project will be completed in the middle part of next year.
Hero Image: Hayman Park playground featuring a 12.8-metre high play tower. Photo / Natasha Hill (edited)