Looking at new ways to play

Healthy Buzz . . . East Gore School principal Wendy Kitto is looking forward to introducing new ways to play as a part of the new community initiative. PHOTO: VALU MAKA

East Gore is one of four neighbourhoods throughout New Zealand which has been chosen to pilot a community play initiative.

It will be supported by Active Southland, the Gore District Council and Sport New Zealand.

The initiative will seek feedback on how people within the area want to see play improved.

Consultation with community members will happen in the next couple of weeks.

Once survey results were compiled organisers would investigate ways to put a plan for the initiative into action.

East Gore School principal Wendy Kitto said she was excited about the opportunity to make the community an even better place to live.

“What I love about it the most is the wider community around East Gore School will get to have their say about how play can be a priority in East Gore.”

Mrs Kitto hoped to see most of the community get involved.

“We’ve gopt a really awesome little community here in East Gore, including a lot of young families.

“How cool would it be if East Gore became as famous for play as Gore is for the Gold Guitars and giant trout?

Active Southland tamariki lead Shan Jensen-Loach said play was an important part of growing up, but many children were not able to play the way past generations had.

“It’s no secret play is under threat in New Zealand, and across the globe.

“Opportunities for tamariki to explore and grow through play are being limited by a range of factors including the use of technology and perceptions around safety.”

This initiative was about more than play on playgrounds, she said.

East Gore School was a Healthy Active Learning School, which promoted wellbeing through healthy nutrition and physical activities.

“We are really looking forward to having a good korero with the tamariki, whanau and wider community around East Gore School, listening to the community is part of what a Healthy Active Learning school does.

“We don’t know what the end result will look like because that’s for the community to help us with but the goal is to ensure play is an everywhere activity for the whole family,Loach said.

The East Gore community was the only one chosen in the South Island.

Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks said the community play initiative was an “exciting” approach.

“This is a great fit council’s long-term plan outcomes, especially living in a creative place, having a choice of quality places to go, valuing and respecting our environment and living in a compassionate, caring community.”