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Floki is fired up to test out the turf. Photos: ALICE PARMINTER

Playground glow-up for rural playcentre

Turua Playcentre has received a fun makeover, and the colourful building is now ready to welcome back the district’s preschoolers. 

The centre was in need of a spruce-up, and spent the end of term replacing the old soft fall material around the playground with a more durable and usable astroturf. The new surface includes a bike track around the playground’s perimeter, which has already proven to be a hit with the centre’s littlest members. 

“We didn’t actually have everything finished [at the beginning of the term] because our contractors didn’t put some of the bits and pieces back on for us – but that was okay, the kids did not care, they were just on it,” centre president Brianna Powell said. 

“We don’t see bikes out that often at all and yet bikes were a massive thing. And then, I mean, they played with water and stuff on it and just stayed there for hours. So yeah, I feel very positive about it.

“I honestly think the turf is one of the best things we could have ever done.”

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The renovation project also included fixing the roof, and repairing and extending the back deck. The changes follow work done earlier this year by Playcentre Aotearoa, to repaint the exterior of the building in the association’s iconic purple and yellow colours. 

The renovation project was made possible with grants of $5000 from Grassroots Trust; $15,000 from NZ Community Trust; and $3000 from Waikato Farmers Trust. The centre also does plenty of internal fundraising, with flower bulbs and socks, relief milking packages, and their current offering of a firewood raffle. 

Next on the agenda, Brianna said, is replacing the front fence, and refreshing the interior along with a complete overhaul of the centre’s resources. 

“We have had a big clean out… we just got rid of stuff that was broken. [And] with the turf being laid, we’ve just done quite a big purchase of balance bikes and scooters to provide some wheels,” she said. 

“And at one stage we were quite worried that we didn’t have a good enough baby area. But the reality is, they don’t need a huge area because they would rather be where the action is. That [was] one of our biggest pushes for the turf instead of bark, because now the babies can be outside on the turf with no issues around parents being worried about them eating bark.”

Caleb claims a spot on the track with the big kids. Photos: ALICE PARMINTER