The country’s first fully accessible playground could soon find its home in Hamilton.
At a Community Committee meeting on Thursday, Hamilton City Council agreed to partner with Magical Bridge Trust (NZ) to
develop a universally accessible playground.
The Hamilton-based trust proposes to build ‘the world’s most accessible’ playground at Claudelands Park, replacing an
existing playground due for renewal.
Not only would it be a safe place to play for people of all physical capabilities, but it would also incorporate the
needs of people with intellectual disabilities, people with autism, and sensory, visual, and hearing impairments.
Community Committee Chair Councillor Mark Bunting said this was a chance for Hamilton to be bold and innovative in its
“The beauty of these designs is they truly consider all capabilities, including neurodivergent needs, intellectual
disabilities, and sensory impairments. We know some families might avoid our traditional playgrounds if their children
don’t feel comfortable playing there. But everyone should be empowered to play – this could be a rare and magnificent
opportunity for the city.”
One in four New Zealanders lives with a disability, with more than 120,000 living in Waikato.
“These are among the most creative and accessible playground designs in the world and soon we could have one in
Kirikiriroa Hamilton. This a chance for us to fly above the rest of the country – let’s do this.”
The 11000sqm proposed playground will have themed zones, including a slide zone, sensory zone, swing zone and spinning
Hideaway huts, buddy benches, and gathering spots to play and relax will be fun play spaces. It will also have fully
accessible amenities such as changing rooms, along with improved parking.
The design would also consider specific colours for pathways and zones, planting for sensory purposes, braille on
signage and equipment, and user facilities such as shade and drinking fountains.
Funding for the project is budgeted to cost $3.5 – $4 million, with Council contributing up to $1.2 million from its
renewal budget for the existing playground.
The Trust has committed to raising the rest through grants, sponsorships, and collaborative fundraising.
Once completed, the partnership between the Trust and Council will continue with Council establishing a repair and
maintenance programme. Meanwhile, the Trust will manage and coordinate promotion, marketing, event management, and
educational and entertainment activities.
Mayor Paula Southgate said the playground was an “absolutely fabulous concept”.
“Families with children who have accessibility issues will be counting the days until it’s built and we will be counting
along with them.”
Staff will report back to the Community Committee on location and construction timing, and Council would seek community
feedback on its plans before continuing.