Play initiative in East Gore

A Gore community is getting the chance to create great play memories, something local principal Wendy Kitto is really excited about. 

The East Gore community is one of just four neighbourhoods selected from across New Zealand to pilot a new community play initiative. 

“I’m really excited about this opportunity to make East Gore an even better place to live,” Wendy said. 

“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.” 

The initiative is being backed by Active Southland and supported by the Gore District Council and Sport New Zealand. 

Active Southland Tamariki Lead Shan Jensen-Loach said play was a vital part of growing up, but many New Zealand children were not able to play the way generations before them 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.” 

Shan stressed this initiative was about much more than just playgrounds. 

“We are really looking forward to having a good korero with the tamariki, whānau 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.” 

The East Gore community will get a number of opportunities to have their say over the next few weeks and Wendy is hoping a cross-section of the community will get involved. 

“We’ve got 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?” 

Shan said Wendy was a passionate advocate for her community and play, as shown by her support for East Gore School becoming a Healthy Active Learning School. 

“Wendy is a champion for East Gore and really understands the power of play for the wellbeing not just of tamariki but also whānau and the entire community. It would be fantastic if even more local champions come forward as this initiative gains momentum.” 

Gore District Council Mayor Tracy Hicks said the community play initiative was an exciting approach. 

“This is a great fit with 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.” 

Article added: Thursday 18 November 2021


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