Date: March 2023
Helping Hand: Mitre 10 Helping Hands National (Project Playground) & Mitre 10 MEGA Porirua
Porirua’s Glenview Primary School tamariki were over the moon to have their new playground opened, the sixth built by Mitre 10’s Helping Hands Project Playground initiative.
The small decile-one school hasn’t had a new playground in over 20 years. The existing playground was a dated, ageing structure requiring a lot of maintenance to keep safe, and it lacked challenges for senior students.
“Over the last six years our roll has almost doubled,” says Lynda Knight-de Blois, Principal of Glenview Primary School. “We’ve made changes in other areas, from developing a new wharenui complete with Māori carvings, to introducing a targeted programme to support children experiencing distress. Trauma, stress, and financial hardship can be common in our community, which can lead to learning and behavioural challenges. Since introducing a neuroscience-based approach two years ago, we’ve seen those issues all but disappear. And now this new playground will help our children improve their ability, agility and wellbeing too, boosting their core and upper-body strength which is crucial to improving fine motor skills.”
The playground design was student-led and incorporates student’ drawings into the structure to reflect their diverse cultural backgrounds, which includes many Pacific Island cultures, Māori, and refugees from Syria and Myanmar. Students were asked to draw what play means to them, and representations of those cultures came through strongly.
From Tokelauan flags to turtles, marine life and palm trees, Mitre 10 incorporated the drawings into panels under a fale-styled roof so that the heritage of the students would be strongly represented. “It’s created a lot of excitement, and we encourage the wider community to come and enjoy it too,” says Lynda.
“We wanted somewhere that sparks joy, and this definitely does that. We’re so grateful to Mitre 10 for choosing us,” she says.
Big thanks to the team at Mitre 10 MEGA Porirua for supplying timber and materials for the playground surrounds, and putting on lunch and surprise treats for the Glenview School kids.