Margaret Mahy Playground

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Coordinates: 43°31′42″S 172°38′27″E / 43.52833°S 172.64083°E / -43.52833; 172.64083

Margaret Mahy Playground as seen from Manchester Street

The Margaret Mahy Playground is a playground in the Christchurch Central City on the banks of the Avon River.

Following the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, the government's Recovery Plan had a "city-wide family playground" as one of the elements of the East Frame.[1] The playground opened on 22 December 2015, and it is the largest playground in the Southern Hemisphere.[2] A week prior to the opening, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) issued a press release reporting that the playground had cost NZ$3m to build,[3] and the local newspaper, The Press, reported this with the headline "$3m playground ready to open".[4] But within days, it became clear that the amount publicised by CERA was only a part of the cost; The Press reported that the total project cost exceeded NZ$40m, with NZ$19.6m for land purchase, NZ$1.3m for demolition of buildings, and NZ$20m for land development, including NZ$3m for the playground itself.[2][5]

The concept for the playground is based on deliberate but managed risk, with the project manager stating: "We accept more risk now in our playgrounds than we had 20 years ago."[6] Having mostly received an enthusiastic response from the public, there was criticism that such an expensive playground did not cater better for children with physical disabilities.[7] The playground is named for Margaret Mahy, New Zealand's famous children's author.[8] After it was reported in January 2016 that the slide got so hot during sunny summer days that it blistered fingers, shade sails were installed.[9] In April 2016, it was reported that additional adventure equipment for the playground had been ordered: climbing towers and "curly whirly slides".[6] An 8 metres (26 ft) spiral slide from one of the towers opened on 26 June and The Press reported "screams of terror and excitement".[10] Two weeks later, the towers and the slide were closed again "over safety concerns".[11]

Elsie Locke Park in July 2013

The land incorporates the previous Elsie Locke Park, which was named after the famous activist in 1997 and was Christchurch's only park named after a resident during their lifetime.[12][13]


  1. ^ Christchurch Central Recovery Plan : Te Mahere 'Maraka Ōtautahi' (PDF). Christchurch: Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority. July 2012. p. 35. ISBN 978 0 478 39718 5. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  2. ^ a b Stylianou, Giorgina (22 December 2015). "Multimillion-dollar Margaret Mahy playground open for fun in Christchurch". The Press. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  3. ^ Ombler, John (16 December 2015). "Margaret Mahy Family Playground Opening 22 December 2015" (Press release). Christchurch: CERA. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  4. ^ "$3m playground ready to open". The Press. 17 December 2015. p. A3. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  5. ^ "How much did Christchurch's Margaret Mahy playground cost?". The Press. 27 December 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  6. ^ a b Napier, Abby (7 April 2016). "New equipment on the way for Margaret Mahy Playground". The Press. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  7. ^ Spink, Emily (13 January 2016). "Playground 'misses mark'". The Press. p. A2. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  8. ^ "$3m playground ready to open". The Press. 17 December 2015. p. A3. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  9. ^ Stylianou, Georgina (26 January 2016). "Child's fingers burn on playground's hot slide". The Press. p. A3. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  10. ^ Flynn, Leah (26 June 2016). "Tower of terror opens at Christchurch's Margaret Mahy Family Playground". The Press. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  11. ^ Flynn, Leah (10 July 2016). "Tower of terror at Christchurch's Margaret Mahy Family Playground closed". The Press. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  12. ^ "Elsie Locke park future uncertain". The Press. 20 September 2013. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  13. ^ Horton, Murray (June 2001). "Obituary: Elsie Locke". Peace Researcher. Christchurch, New Zealand: New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone Committee. 23. ISSN 1173-2679. OCLC 173343104. Retrieved 5 August 2012.