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Cyrus Yates and Lucas Lee-Blackmer take a dash down the slippery slide. Photo: SUPPLIED

Playground planning underway for Pūriri School

The kids of Pūriri School had a blast at their colour run fundraiser on March 16. They slipped, slid, ran, crawled and climbed through the various obstacles while being doused with water and coloured powder. The funds raised from the event will go towards a new playground for the school, which principal Lydia Lester said was sorely needed. 
“It is in disrepair and needs to be replaced,” she said. 

Pūriri School is fundraising for a new playground, to replace the current worn-out apparatus which has reached the end of its life.

School principal Lydia Lester said the equipment refresh has been a priority for her since she joined the school early last year, and the whole community has been working hard to reach that goal. 

“We’ve actually had to demolish part of the playground because the wooden poles and things were, over this last summer, split in the heat and so it’s even in more disrepair than what it originally was,” she said. 

“The current playground, I think it’s 34 years old and when it was made, was made out of another old playground. So parts of the playground are over 50 years old.” 

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The school has been fundraising since the beginning of last year. Along with the colour run event on March 16, the students have been selling chocolates and putting on other events including a quiz night and a book fair. 

So far, a total of $12,500 has been raised. Lydia estimated the playground would cost around $90,000, and said she would be looking into grants to make up some of that figure. 

The support of the community had been invaluable so far, she said, and she was thrilled with the way it had rallied around the school. 

“Even if their kids don’t come to our school they’ve really positively embraced our fundraising efforts,” she said. 

“It’s cool to build that community as well – Pūriri is its own big community and [the school] is the only place for people to go to in terms of a public place to play with your kids or take your dog for a walk or whatnot, and so having a playground there will really service the community.”

As for the playground itself, after community and student consultations the school has narrowed it down to two choices, each with features suitable for children of all ages. 

“They’ve both got really good elements of play and strength building and imaginative play, and ways that we can use it in PE as well as just playtime,” Lydia said. 

“Each playground company that we’ve been to, we’ve asked them to speak to the students and share their ideas and listen to the kids’ ideas as well. 

“Our biggest criteria was that it would cater to the younger kids as well as the older kids – we’re wanting a playground that will cater for our school and our students but also that will bless the community.”

Kanae Fujii with her host family Sloane, Imogen, Kim, Murphy and Vincent Popping. Photo: SUPPLIED
Laynlee Toko-Kaina and Florence Finlay enjoy the face painting. Photo: SUPPLIED
Vincent Popping and his son Murphy Popping. Photo: SUPPLIED
Aiya Watene has a blast. Photo: SUPPLIED
Daniel Lester enjoys the colour run. Photo: SUPPLIED
Samuel Blackmer hits the obstacle course. Photo: SUPPLIED