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Making Porirua Play-able

Playable Porirua

Above: Project leader Dr Meredith Perry briefing researchers in a park.

The Playable Porirua project is underway thanks to a partnership between the Council, Plimmerton Rotary and Plimmerton Inner Wheel, with the community groups taking a lead role in helping to make the goal a reality.

Porirua City Parks Manager Olivia Dovey says the aim is to become a city where most of our playgrounds have some features that are accessible and usable for all people – regardless of age or disability.

“We want all our people to get the enjoyment and health benefits that come from being in parks, so we need to make sure everyone is able to access and use them,” she says.

Also involved with the project are researchers from Otago University, who have done a pilot study into whether parks are accessible for people with disabilities.

Project leader Dr Meredith Perry and her team created a survey tool to assess how parks measure up and used this to evaluate 21 parks in Porirua, Wellington and the Hutt Valley. They found there were some good aspects, but lots of things that could be done better.

“Our research shows there is a real need for accessible and usable parks. It’s great to see Porirua championing improvements in this area,” Dr Perry says.

The first step is to evaluate what’s working well and what could be done differently, and this is where the community volunteers come in, Ms Dovey says.

Rotary and Inner Wheel members will visit and assess all Porirua’s playgrounds over the next few months, using the survey tool.

They will look at a number of factors at each park and their findings will help the city plan improvements, Ms Dovey says.

“We’ll then be able to package up a programme of improvements that Plimmerton Rotary Club and Plimmerton Inner Wheel will be able to use to assess and access funding opportunities.”

Adrienne Murray of Rotary and Inner Wheel said this was a project club members were excited and enthusiastic about.

“We see this as something that has real value, and a project that can contribute to the future and the reputation of our city.”

2 May 2017