Oakura is the largest settlement north of Hikurangi within the Whangarei District Council and serves as a central community hub for the Parutahi and Ohawini coastal communities, the inland communities of Mokau and Punaruku and to a lesser extent due to distance, the Tuparehuia/Bland Bay and Ngawai/Teal Bay coastal communities. Currently there is no Council playground at Oakura Bay, with the closest public playground located at Hikurangi Domain, King Street, Hikurangi, approximately 32km away. Our children deserve better.
Last year, the tamariki of Mokau Marae, under the guidance of Simon Mitchell and others, did a fantastic presentation to Councillors and Council officers, that was favourably received by all. This was followed up by a formal written and oral submission by Norma de Langen on behalf of both Whangaruru Residents & Ratepayers Assoc. Inc. and Whangaruru Coastal Community & Sports Association Inc. to Council during the Annual Plan process to seek Council support and funding for the provision of a children’s playground and associated infrastructure on Council owned land at the end of Wharua Road. We are pleased to announce that WDC have approved the sum of $80,000 for a children’s playground and this has been adopted in the Annual Plan 2022-2023.
The children’s playground will be part of a wider community hub complex that comprises a community building/sports facility, rugby fields, netball and basketball hardcourts (that could also do double duty for tennis in summer months) as well as associated carparking and amenities. Access is via Wharua Road and through a connecting pathway, or series of pathways, to be designed as part of the adjacent wetland development area that would connect Waimarie Avenue with the sports complex and playground, thereby allowing for safer passage away from the busier Oakura Road. The pathway(s) would allow for a multitude of uses, including walking, running, cycling and riding a scooter. By siting the playground within the sports complex, children can be suitably monitored and supervised by adults who might be using the adjacent facilities to shoot a hoop or kick a ball around.
We believe the sports complex, children’s playground and wetlands combined, will not only be a fantastic local facility catering for the interests of all ages, but will also become a worthwhile destination for the wider Whangarei District and will enrich the experience for visitors to our beautiful Bay.
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