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Case Study

A world class playground in Central Christchurch

Margaret Mahy Playground

Citycare, in a joint venture with John Fillmore Contracting (JFC), built the Margaret Mahy Family Playground for Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA).

Part of the Central City earthquake rebuild for CERA, and sitting within the celebrated Avon River Precinct, the playground opened just in time for Christmas 2015 amid much public anticipation. The Margaret Mahy Family Playground is now a dominant feature of the rebuilding city’s landscape and is a major drawcard for children, families and young people from all over New Zealand and the world.

Project scope

Work carried out by the Citycare JFC JV for this $13M project included:

  • Water supply and drainage, power and controls
  • Earthworks (remediation, capping, subgrade construction)
  • Site clearance, including removal of the section of Oxford Terrace between Manchester and Madras
  • Construction of footings/structures and precast concrete units
  • Surfacing, including exposed aggregate paving and wet pour soft fall
  • Landscaping
  • Construction of an in-river punt stop
  • Feature lighting
  • Carpark and road upgrade to Armagh Street

Playground layout

The playground is located in the central city block bordered by Manchester Street, Armagh Street, Madras Street and the Avon River. It is the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere.

Featuring activities and attractions for all ages and abilities, the playground comprises zones of play, including the Youth Zone (with a flying fox), Wetlands (water play) Zone, Towers Zone, Spine Zone, Plains Zone and Toddler Zone.

Work onsite commenced in May 2015 and was completed on 22 December 2015.

Installation of the specialised play equipment was carried out by Citycare in a separate contract. This included a number of unique features such as a 10-metre-high climbing tower, double flying fox and a 4-metre-wide slide.

Health, safety, quality & environmental

With a busy, confined site and a large number of crews, management of health and safety was of utmost importance. Every morning started with a 7am toolbox talk for all personnel on the site.

With the proximity of the site to the Avon River, a variety of sediment control measures were in place including a site-wide silt fence.

All work for the project was completed in compliance with quality requirements laid out in the contract specification and drawings.

Award recognition

The Margaret Mahy Playground was awarded the Best Public Works Project over $5 million at the IPWEA NZ Excellence Awards in June 2017.