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The Future of Play

Icon Play

Play makes us feel excited, happy and connected. We often lose track of time when we play.  

As adults if we reflect on our own adventures as children, from flying kites to bullrush in the park, biking to friends houses or playing cops and robbers, many children today don’t experience those same simple pleasures we did ‘back in our day’, with concern about safety or danger of our precious tamariki.   


Why is play important? 

Play is a term used by Sport New Zealand to support and advocate for our tamariki to be active and support cognitive development. 

Play contributes to not only children’s lives but also the wellbeing of our whānau and friends, helping to create a heathy and active community.  It takes us away from a structured environment and provides a sense of freedom.  Play can happen anywhere at any time and by anyone.  In Central Hawke’s Bay we are fortunate to have a great outdoor playground that includes our rivers, beaches, parks and reserves, providing the opportunity for all ages to participate in play activities. 

However, levels of play are declining due to changes all around us in the way that we live - whether the increased busy-ness or impact of roads or parents working long hours. 

Not engaging in play can have detrimental effects on the learning, development and health of our tamariki and wider community, and negatively impact on our general health and wellbeing.   

Having health and well communities is key in supporting a Thriving Central Hawke’s Bay! 


Isn’t play just for kids? 

Play is now recognised as one of the most important things communities can do to support young people to lead active and healthy lives, and to help them learn and grow.  In later life play also supports our health and sense of ‘fun’ and wider wellbeing.

With support from Sport New Zealand, Councils all over New Zealand are developing play strategies ensure simple things like how our tamariki can travel to and from their friends’ homes safely, through to how to create more playful environments in communities for people of all ages.  This investment recognises the important role that play has in improving our wellbeing in the widest sense.

Why are we having this conversation? 

With Play and its connections to community sport and being more physically active intricately linked, we’re partnering with support and funding from Sport New Zealand and Sport Hawke’s Bay to bring play back to our Tamariki of Tamatea - Central Hawke’s Bay! 


What does success look like? 

We’ve done some early thinking and think that success for the future of play is:

  • We want all of our community to be able to experience fun, joy and laughter through play. 

  • That our community are enabled to freely engage in play, across Central Hawke’s Bay 


Want to know more? 

To understand more about play, what we are trying to achieve and who is involved, read our full Discussion Document on Play


Let us know your ideas? 

We’re still in the early phases of this work, however we are keen to hear your ideas to support play in Tamatea - Central Hawke’s Bay.  You can do this by completing our online survey or emailing us on  



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