Porritt Park Destination Playground opening in Thames

Published on 29 May 2024

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The upgraded playground at Thames’ Porritt Park is set to open to the public after school on the afternoon of Friday 31 May, with a ringing endorsement by a group of local tamariki who had a sneak preview a week ahead of the launch.

“Wow! We can’t wait to play on it,” was the response of a small group of children from Te Puru and Moanataiari schools who took part in a supervised walk around the playground on Wednesday 22 May where they inspected the new play equipment.

The visit allowed children to understand the work, effort and generosity that has gone into the planning and construction, and the reason why the playground has been closed from early February.

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The upgraded playground features exciting new play equipment such as the climbing tower lighthouse and ‘Wakatere’ boat. It also includes a wheelchair-accessible seesaw and carousel, hamster wheels, talking tubes and net climbers. In addition, it features some of the old favourites, such as reinstalled swings, as well as picnic tables and a BBQ area. Some of the soft-fall areas under the play equipment feature designs incorporating concepts kindly provided by local iwi Ngāti Maru.

The upgrade to Porritt Park will mean the space becomes a gathering place for whānau to spend the whole day, enjoying the barbecues, extra seating and the more challenging play equipment. The greatly-enhanced facilities reflect the history of the area, including incorporating concepts such as the Wakatere boat.

An official launch of the upgraded facilities will take place in the morning of Friday 31 May, with donors, local iwi and other dignitaries, as well as around 60 school children who entered a colouring competition invited.

One of the lucky children will be chosen to have the first play, and the other invited children will follow closely. The attending children will be allowed to play on the equipment in the new playground’s first hour before heading back to school for the day, while the playground is closed for the remaining final work to take place. The park will be opened again after 3pm after security fencing has been removed.

The total cost of the facility is around $1.5 million – most of it provided by a very generous philanthropic couple’s donation. Community fundraising, managed by the Thames Business Association, has been ongoing, with many individuals and businesses helping with construction, which is still being finalised.

Further fundraising is proceeding in order to build an enhanced accessible ‘Changing Places’ toilet and a basketball half court. To contribute, please email the project or download the flyer which has all the information on how to make your donation. Alternatively, drop a donation into a collection jar at Thames Council office reception.


The Porritt Park Project is a collaborative initiative between the philanthropic donors, our Council, Thames Business Association, Ngāti Maru, Future Landscapes (the designers), Changing Places and Rotary Charitable Trust.

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