“The Neighbourhood Systems Play Report (NPS) was the best report that I have read at this committee, not a word was wasted,” says councillor Tony Robinson.
The NPS prototype at Cobham School Report was presented by Anna Tolich, the Regional Play Systems Lead for Healthy Families East Cape, Sport Gisborne Tairāwhiti to the last sitting of the Operations Committee at Gisborne District Council, for the outgoing Council Members before the October 2022 elections. One Councillor noted, in recognition of the NPS prototype, that we’d saved the best for last.
Healthy Families East Cape was excited by the opportunity to present and enable the momentum to continue for the prototype and for the tamariki of Cobham School. This is a collective impact in action, that can be scaled across the community of Elgin to include other schools and spaces in the next phase of the project.
Anna has spent twelve months engaging with the tamariki at Cobham School alongside of the Tu Manawa team at Sport Gisborne Tarāwhiti to better understand the aspirations of tamariki in their built environment. Anna’s deep research of the suburb of Elgin included a number of trips on the bus routes to better understand the environmental barriers and the impact of years of urban design decisions Anna also walked with the tamariki of Cobham School around the neighbourhood surrounding Cobham School, including the railway corridor and close-by Blackpool Park.
"It was such a great opportunity to be able to present the neighbourhood play aspirations of the Cobham School tamariki to the Operations Committee. The NPS is such a radical approach to urban design in that it places the tamariki as the co-designers of their own neighbourhood. The presentation to Council allowed us to help elevate the Cobham School tamariki as valued contributors to society, giving them the space to participate, assume agency and take responsibility for the design of their own neighbourhood", says Anna.
What we know is that play, and in particular, outdoor play is associated with healthy tamariki and rangatahi healthy development and physical activity. There are attributes of a neighbourhood-built environment that can influence positive play behaviours, with the NPS prototype seeking to kickstart these environmental changes for the neighbourhoods surrounding Cobham School.
Gisborne District Council signalled extensive support from Council members for the prototype. We are excited to understand what a collaborative approach with Council will look like for the momentum of the kaupapa.
As we move into the next phase of the Neighbourhood Play System prototype which seeks to experiment and test opportunities identified by the tamariki, we are excited to strengthen enduring relationships with mana whenua, and bring to life the insights and opportunities set out by our tamariki.
Anna will present the prototype as part of the Healthy Families NZ: Systems Change in Action Webinar Series 2022 on Wednesday 19 October at 11.00 am.