Entry received from: Matamata-Piako District Council
Category: The Minister of Local Government’s Award for Excellence in Council-Community Relations

Thomas Park was typical of many playgrounds in small town New Zealand - a variety of disconnected play equipment, installed over time, no accessible path, and a loo tucked in a corner. Despite this, it was a surprisingly popular, though a bit dated. Plans were afoot to renew parts of it (within budgetary constraints) and consider a vision for the whole park to work towards over time.

While staff were throwing around ideas, Council was approached by a philanthropic donor looking for a community project to inject some cash into - preferably one that provided something for kids. A minor playground renewal suddenly became something much bigger!

"€˜Tell Tom"€™ was MPDC'€™s most comprehensive playground consultation ever, attracting more submissions than some LTPs, with over 10 per cent of the town getting involved, including kids!

The procurement process for the playground was an innovative and risky departure from the norm with the community ultimately choosing the preferred option. Local iwi artist designs were involved, while local kids designed the exterior of the new toilet block. Despite the challenges of massive scope change, tight timeframes, protected trees, and (of course) COVID-19, a great result was achieved for the community on time and within budget.

Thank you to our category sponsor