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Waihinga Centre Park and Playground

The Martinborough playground is being completely upgraded. This long overdue overhaul is part of Stage two of the Waihinga Centre project. With funds already raised we only need another $100,000 to deliver the proposal.

This is a ‘once in a generation’ project which will see the Waihinga project as a whole become the true heart and connector of the Martinborough community and a great asset for the entire South Wairarapa region. The proposed equipment has been chosen by the children of Martinborough during our consultation process. 

We’re a growing community with a diverse range of wants and needs. The new playground will include areas, which can be used for social gatherings, formal events and all year round recreation. The proposed upgraded playground will include a range of equipment and natural opportunities for imaginative play, suitable for all ages and abilities, including limited mobility.

The proposed Park and Playground has been designed by Wraight and Associates - A leading landscape Architecture Firm who have designed parks such as Waitangi Park and Playground in Wellington.

The proposed redevelopment plans are extensive with new planting, parking, paths, seating and tables, areas designated for all ages, a children’s water play area and new and improved green areas. Much of the equipment will be new but many of our existing play elements are to be revamped and relocated.


The Design

The brief to the designers was to create a signature park for Martinborough which could become a major attraction for the town; the first choice for play, recreation and relaxation

The Park and Playground will have a strong sense of place with extensive plantings of appropriate trees, low grasses and native shrubs and a shallow water stream providing a sheltered and safe play area.

The landscape is designed to be accessible from all directions with convenient entry from new parking area, the square and all supporting streets.  All areas of play have been designed with high visibility providing easy surveillance and peace of mind for parents, children and visitors alike.

The design includes areas for all ages that encourage different types of play including active, creative and cognitive play. There are grassed terraces and  long areas of seating edges which allow for recreational groups or organized events.

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Design drivers

Three key drivers influenced Wraight and Associates' design of Waihinga Centre and the Park and Playground areas.

  • Wairarapa’s natural rural land and water patterns

  • Nga Waka 0 Kupe hills to east of Martinbourgh town center

  • Rural architecture (farm buildings, wool sheds, barns and shelters)

The Nga Wako O Kupe hills are a distinguishing feature within the district. The distinctive repetitive landform undulations resemble the flat-bottomed hulls of upturned Waka. Drawing on this unique landform, and the legend that gives the hills their name, the new Waihinga Centre building and the Town Hall are accessed by a series of gently undulating terraces and ramps that feed directly into interior spaces.

The terraced entry connects the building from ground level to the much higher floor level of the existing Town Hall. This allows the building to form a ‘backdrop’ with the landscape and building terraces refocusing towards the Town Square.

The brief to the designers was to support and expand social, environmental and economic activity in the town.  The design emphasis’s the Waihinga Centre’s physical proximity to Martinborough Square and suggests a direct and inviting corridor between Kitchener Street and the new Centre.

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Key play spaces

The Park and Playground area is divided into a number of areas specific to age groups and types of play.  These areas are separated by low planting or open grassed terraces. While these areas are separate they are connected to allow some degree of interactive play between age groups.

Play areas include active spaces for youth (including the skate park, netball and basketball area and wider grassy areas) to ages 7-11, to 5-7 and then under 5’s.

The younger children’s play area is located closest to the new Community Centre, in particular the children’s area’s within the Centre, allowing supervision from the adjacent terraces and building and a fenced secure environment for little ones to enjoy free and imaginative play.

The grassed terraces, picnic tables and seating edges throughout the park allow for many different types of play, social interaction, recreation and organized events. All the areas provide for straightforward and accessible parental supervision.


Older childrens area

For older and adventurous children the concept provides for a water play area which welcomes visitors entering from the Square. The current flying fox will be relocated adjacent to this. A feature of the new playground will be a multi-purpose tower kindly donated by the Martinborough Lions.

Water Play Station

This area serves as the ‘front porch’ to the playground at the entrance to the Waihinga Centre project opposite Memorial Square. The water play station will be completely interactive with a hand pump, gates and buckets to get the kids thinking as well as playing.   This area will be landscaped with seating walls, wider timber benches and picnic table seating. It is a mixed-use zone providing creative, cognitive and challenging play elements for all ages. These elements have been design to include:

  • Water play station for children of all ages with a stream bed with constructed components and water pump.

  • Slide tower with climbing.

  • Relocated Flying Fox

Central Lawn

Here we have open playing fields offering children a chance to run at full speed, play ball games, and create their own means of play. Seating walls and terraces provide additional raised areas to rest and socialize. This area can be used for organized events and gatherings with the hard surface of the Basketball court serving as the ‘stage’ and the terraces leading up to the Waihinga Centre building serving as raised background seating.

Hard Surface Play

This area incorporates the existing skate park and a re-shaped and surfaced asphalt basketball/netball and ball court area.


Junior Play

This area encompasses play equipment for ages 7-11 and 5 and younger. It is rimmed with a seating wall that provides a secure perimeter to the area whilst ensuring good visibility and access for supervision.  Play equipment is planned to include:

  • Inclusive Flying Saucer (donated by the Royal NZ Plunket Trust)

  • Inclusive Spinning Bucket (donated by the Royal NZ Plunket Trust)

  • Net climbing tower

  • Relocated swings

  • Relocated spring toys

  • Stepping stones and creative play.

Plunket outdoor play

This area is situated under the sheltered canopy of the new Waihinga Centre building with opportunity for supervised viewing of the Junior play area. It can be used by all community groups within the center and connects directly to the Junior play area and adjacent car park via a ramp for easy access for wheel chairs, mobility vehicles and child strollers.



Play equipment and landscape furniture

Although many of our existing play pieces have been earmarked for re-purposing and relocation we are fundraising for new and challenging playground equipment, which will excite and delight children of all ages. Our goal is to create a playground that is so inviting it becomes a popular ‘destination’ for local children and visitors to the area.


We are committed to building a playground and park accessible to everyone. The design includes wide paths between playground equipment so all children can walk or roll between playground equipment. We aim to create surfacing which is easy to use with crutches, wheelchairs and other mobility devices. The design will create cozy or quiet spaces for children who may become overwhelmed and may need a quiet space and we are looking to purchase playground equipment that can be used in a number or ways by all children.


The planting plan for the Park and Play area includes the retention of many trees of value including small to medium sized deciduous and one medium sized Totora. New planting will include trees which:

  • Are characteristic of the area native and exotic

  • Provide good summer shade and allow winter sun (deciduous).

  • Are single trunked and can be limbed up for good visibility.

Ground covers will include those from the area tolerant of site conditions including: grasses, lilies, reeds, ferns, low flowering shrubs and climbers.

Due to the need to conserve water over summer months the grassed areas will not have watering systems embedded.


The design aims to provide challenging and fun activities while also providing for the safety of the children using the playground.  We will be using third-party certification to ensure all equipment meets the required safety standard NZS 5828:2015.