Myers Park Playspace, Auckland City

The new destination playspace at the heart of Myers Park is an integral component of a masterplanned renewal, designed to reimage the park as a high quality shared backyard in the city.

Designed to a theme of "play in the backyard", Myers Park Playspace is a rambling sculptural garden of magnified scale. Under an abstract canopy of bright and colourful disc-shaped flowers kids can swing, crawl and climb through a network of sprawling pumpkin vines and large permeable leaves, roll marbles down a tendril, slide through a large kamokamo eaten by a caterpillar, or clamber over giant garden birds and insects with moving parts.

The playspace was commissioned by Auckland Council at the start of 2013. A Master Plan was completed by the Auckland Council parks design team in 2012, and subsequently a number of improvement projects have been implemented to coincide with the centennial celebration in February 2015. The revitalization of the park and improvements to safety are an important step in realigning the park with Sir Arthur Myers original intention that ‘nature should be brought as near to our citizens and their children as possible'.

The play experience needed to cater to a wide ranging audience or visitors and daily users (including Myers Kindergarden and Kadimah School), and balance physical activity with imaginative play and social interaction. Traditional play elements such as swings and slides are mixed with sculptural, interactive and quirky features. Within the compact site, every surface is textured and playable, including walls, edges, decks and paths.

The park has attracted continuous streams of children since opening, caregivers sit comfortably chatting and observing children for several hours, adults engage in play with children, and the space absorbs a whole school of energetic children at one time.