Re-imagining the children’s garden for a new generation
KiNZ Myers Park in central Auckland operates in the historic Myers Kindergarten building that was gifted to the families of Auckland by Sir Arthur Myers in November 1916.
The playground was first enclosed and separated from the main park in 1954 and has had many different designs and layouts over time, loosely based on educationalist Friedrich Froebel’s vision of kindergarten as a ‘child garden’.
The current outdoor children’s area had become tired and overgrown, with many of the play areas requiring replacement and replanning to make it easier for children and teachers to navigate the sloping site. As this is an important heritage site, specialist architectural, archaeology and arborist input was required for resource consent.
Boffa Miskell’s design for the new outdoor play area sought to link the kindergarten more closely with the wider park, adding a new grassy lawn and planting that reflected species visible from the playspace. The existing water feature was retained and incorporated into new sandpit areas alongside a wharenui nestled into native planting.
Flexible play and swing areas were relocated and a large central fale was added to provide an outdoor covered learning space that overlooks the whole playspace. Large tree ferns were successfully transplanted, softening the new structures and linking the play areas together.
The new ‘child garden’ reflects Froebel’s ideals of ‘connectedness, creativeness, and physical activity amid happy and harmonious surroundings’ and ensures the legacy of Myers Kindergarten will continue to serve a new generation of young Aucklanders.
Boffa Miskell undertook concept and detailed design, contract documentation and technical supervision through implementation.