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Australasian award for Margaret Mahy Family Playground

2 September 2019 Kate Palmer


An iconic project that has bought laughter and joy into the heart of post-earthquake Christchurch has received recognition from Australia's leading municipal engineering body - the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA).
Tākaro ā Poi - Margaret Mahy Family Playground – was a key part of the Christchurch regeneration. It is the biggest play project undertaken in New Zealand and is the largest playground in the Southern Hemisphere.
Last week, at its biannual awards, IPWEA gave the project top honours in the Best Public Works Project over $5.0m section which had 14 finalists from across Australasia.
This is the latest in a long list of award wins for the remarkable project that infused the CBD with hope and life. Technical Principal - Landscape Architecture Catherine Hamilton was the Project Design Leader and says it was a privilege to work on the project that transformed an entire city block from ruins into a vibrant public space for play.
“The project site had been laid bare by the effect of the earthquakes and I started imagining what was involved in creating a new landscape. I wanted to represent the diverse landscapes of Canterbury - wetlands, plains, coastal edges and the Port Hills - and these are all reflected in the different play zones.”
Catherine, who has been involved in numerous playground and park projects in her career, says that in creating a place for children, play value needs to be central in design decisions.
“What are the things that will develop a child physically, cognitively and socially, and how can we create all of those stimuli within the site to build stronger, more confident children? How can we encourage children to reach and overcome their fears, and learn to manage risk? In every design decision that’s made we think about how children will interact, how it will challenge them physically, how it will stimulate their imaginations.”

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Integrating Māori perspectives in planning

29 April 2019 Chloe Brigden

WSP Opus NZPI Awards 2018

Leading engineering, design and environmental consultancy WSP Opus is helping future engineers solve tomorrow’s problems with two innovative sponsorship packages.For the third consecutive year WSP Opus has committed as lead sponsor of the New Zealand Planning Institute annual conference, building on more than a decade of support.

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5 things you missed at the NZPI Conference

10 April 2019 Chloe Brigden

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Nick Aiken, WSP Opus Market Leader Environment and Planning, shares his insights from the NZPI Conference in Napier-Ahuriri.

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Cultural intelligence in sport and recreation

26 November 2018 Kate Palmer

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Sport and recreation has an essential role in forming and maintaining the fabric of our communities and our society overall. A vibrant sport and recreation culture can provide social benefits far beyond the sporting field – to underpin happy, healthy, cohesive and resilient communities. Sheryne Lok, WSP Opus Parks, Sport and Recreation Consultant, takes a closer look at what’s happening in Auckland.

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Improvement project delivers world class facility

22 November 2018 Kate Palmer


Keen amateur and professional BMX riders now have a world class track thanks to work carried out by WSP Opus for the NZ Transport Agency.
The construction of the new North Harbour BMX facility is part of the Northern Corridor Improvements project.
North Harbour BMX is one of three sports clubs (along with Rosedale Pony Club and Harbour Hockey) that has been relocated by the Northern Corridor Improvements (NCI) project team to make way for the new motorway.
For Maree Drury, Technical Principal – Planning, the project has involved pulling many different threads together to bring the vision to life.
WSP Opus had around 10 designers working on the year-long project, along with contaminated site specialists, planners and stormwater experts.

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World-leading sustainable park design honoured

November 2018 Kate Palmer

Masterplan render Flattened

A game-changing new approach to designing recreation spaces has received national recognition, with the NZ Recreation Awards highlighting WSP Opus and Auckland Council’s work on Scott Point Sustainable Sports Park.

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