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CPLay Slideshow HowWeBuiltThePlayground 1


A few schools have asked for information to share with their students about the project, so here is an overview for you. 

Here's a 10-minute talk for the school kids based on the information provided in the CPlay case study. 

How the community built the Caroline Bay Playground.
Fun. Inclusive. Challenging. Meaningful.

  • A brief was written to instruct the playground designers.
    Cplay volunteers talked and listened to lots of people to find out what they wanted and needed.
    People included; Mana whenua, community groups, businesses, experts and advocates; health, disability, education, families, sports, aged care, early childhood, service clubs, art and history and heaps of kids!
  • The playground designers shared their ideas as design concepts.
    Cplay helped develop the ideas to make sure the playground would be fun, inclusive, challenging and meaningful.
  • We chose play equipment that would help people move their bodies in lots of different ways, help people have fun, play together and offer some challenge. We choose some items from catalogues, and created new things too.
  • Cplay made a list of what they wanted to buy and worked out how much money was needed.
    Here’s some of the equipment Cplay chose to help people move in lots of different ways.
    They designed special items to share local stories and history of our place and people.
    Cplay chose a shipwreck, lighthouse slide tower, mahika kai whare, and themed the flying fox, obstical course, swings and tuna eel areas.
  • They fundraised for equipment, earth works, and surfacing.
    Lots of people in our community and nationally gave money and time to us so we could pay for everything
  • Security fences were put up, and the old equipment was removed.
    The equipment went back to the council and some was kept to bring back.
  • Earth movers prepared the site.
    They scraped off the top soil, trucked away the sand to recycle. Brought in rocks and earth, compacted it flat, and built mounds and paths.
  • The equipment was ordered and made in Germany and New Zealand.
    Lots of people helped make the equipment. We used quality materials so it would last longer and need less maintenance.
  • The equipment arrived and was installed.
    Sometimes they built a little bit of the mound first, installed the foundations and equipment and then finished building the mound.
    Big equipment was lifted into position.
    Large and small trucks and cranes helped deliver and lift in the big things, like the ship, lighthouse mouse wheel, and whare.
  • The safety surface was laid so we could have challenging equipment.
    They used recycled rubber from tires, even the old playground rubber was chopped up and re-used.
    The black rubber was laid in different thicknesses around higher and lower equipment to cushion falls. The colour brought themes and fun, it was also smooth for people using wheel chairs and push chairs.
  • Special details were added to enhance the story and themes.
    Artists, architects, students builders, all worked together to make special things.
  • A special powhiri ceremony to bless the playground was held.
    Representatives from Arowhenua, Council, Cplay, the contractors, donors and the community came.
    There was a big party with everyone to celebrate the opening of the new playground, and to thank everyone who helped.
    Now the playground is open and lots of people are all playing and having fun together. People are challenging themselves to try harder things and schools are visiting to learn about Caroline Bay.

And that is how the playground was built!


Playfully Perfect


Our vision was to create a playground that sparks imaginative play and encourages active play. We wanted to design a space where children and their friends and families can play together a blast!

We couldn't have done it without the support of our amazing community! Local experts, volunteers, kids, community groups, businesses, and families came together to help us create the playground.

The grand opening was awesome. And we love seeing everyone enjoying the new playground at Caroline Bay.

Come and play at the bay for yourself, make memories, challenge yourself and learn about Timaru's people and place!


The Design Process 

The design process for the playground started with a blank canvas. We had to get an idea of who could help us create a playground, what the journey could be, what was possible and gather ideas from the community about what they wanted and needed in the new playground. We held meetings, went to public events with surveys, and held workshops to get input from kids like you, your parents, educators, health advocates, tourism and business owners who could benefit from the playground, and many more community members.

Once we had a good understanding of what people wanted, we put together a team of designers and playground experts. We worked closely with them to turn all those ideas into a concept design. We wanted the playground to be inclusive, so we made sure to incorporate features that would make it accessible and enjoyable for children of all abilities. Not just people who used wheel chairs, but thought about people who saw, thought, heard and moved differently.

The design went through multiple developments as we received feedback and made adjustments. We also researched our history and stories to incorporate elements that celebrated who the people of Timaru are, their special history, heritage and stories of our district.

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Rose Festival 2029

The public visiting the CPlay marquee at the Timaru Festival of Roses to see the concepts for the playground and help us choose the winning tender


Teamwork and Opinions

Building this playground was a massive undertaking, especially as volunteers, and it required a lot of teamwork and collaboration. We had a dedicated committee of volunteers who worked really hard to bring this project to life.

We had many discussions and sometimes differing opinions on the layout, equipment choices, and other aspects of the design. But we always kept in mind the ultimate goal of creating a world-class, inclusive playground that would bring joy to children and families for generations to come. There was value in listening to lots of ideas and being open to changing ours.

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CPlay Meetings

CPlay meetings to work through all the tasks, fundraising, designing, planning, marketing.

CPlay Design Team and Playground Centre

CPlay Design team collaborating with the Playground Centre. 

Chris Fauth meets with Parks and Rec team Bill Steans and Jane Morrison

Chris Fauth meets with Parks and Rec team Bill Steans and Jane Morrison - Photo Roselyn Fauth


Site meeting with Timaru District Council staff. - Photo Roselyn Fauth

VentureTimaru Meeting

Meeting with Venture Timaru - Districts tourism and promotions team - Photo Roselyn Fauth

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Francine Spencer CPlay, Hamish Pettengell Aigantighe Art Gallery, Cara Fitzgerald Aigantighe Art Gallery, Keely Kroening SC Museum, Chris Fauth CPlay and Roselyn Fauth CPlay meet to discuss the story that can be told in the playground. 


CPlay committee meeting

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Weekly Design team meetings 


Catering for Disabilities

One of our top priorities was to ensure that the playground was accessible and enjoyable for children with disabilities. To be honest, it wasn't until we started to talking to a range of people with challenges that we really started to understand how many people were missing out on play. Not only the person with the problem, but their friends and families could be impacted too. Sometimes that meant it was easier to leave someone behind. We also learnt that lots of grandparent were looking after children full and part-time, so the play space needed to be comfortable and accessable for a range of ages as well as abilities. We worked closely with people with experts, advocated and consulted with families who had lived experience to understand their needs and incorporate features that would make the playground truly inclusive.

Some of the features we included are long paralell parks, lips on footpaths, wide ramps, smooth transitions from surfaces, and hard surface paths, sensory-friendly elements, and a range of equipment to help people move their bodies in different ways that could also be enjoyed by a range of children with various physical and cognitive abilities. We wanted to create a space where every child could play, hadve fun, explore, without the stigma and limitations.


Benefits Of Play

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We also created lots of special details to help share the stories and history


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Materials and Ideas 

The playground was constructed using a combination of high-quality materials like timber, recycle tires and playground surfacing in the rubber surface, rope and steel. These materials were carefully chosen to ensure the playground would be safe, long-lasting, and able to withstand the elements by the sea and heavy use.

As for the ideas behind the design, we drew inspiration from many sources. We incorporated feedback and suggestions from kids like you, as well as input from parents, educators, and community members. We also looked at other successful playground projects around the country and learned from their experiences.

Additionally, we wanted to create a playground that celebrated the unique heritage and history of our district. So we included elements and themes that paid homage to our local stories, landmarks, and cultural significance.


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We had heaps of help and generousity from the community to fundraise

CPlay Supporters



Key phases of the construction

  • Put up security fences to keep people out of the construction site.
  • Have site meetings with contractors to ensure plans are understood and any issues were raised and remedied.
  • Remove the old equipment and prepare the site for the earthmovers.
  • Scrape off the top of the ground, bring in river run (stones) and compact to prepare the ground for strong foundations and better drainage.
  • Mark out the locations of paths and equipment, making sure that everything was precisely positioned as per the plans to make sure everything could fit, and compliant.
  • Construct mounds.
  • Install play equipment.
  • Prepare surfacing, pour concrete paths and install rubber matting.
  • Install remainder of equipment, seats, and signs.
  • Sign off from safety auditor to allow play.
  • Remove security fences.


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CPlay volunteers mark the start of the project by helping to remove the rubber that was laid by Numat 29 years earlier. It was ground up and re-used in the new playground.


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Hilton Haulage move the last of the equipment and furniture off site, ready for the earth movers in March 2023. - Photo Roselyn Fauth

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Contractor meeting on site - Photography By Roselyn Fauth

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 First phase of earthworks for the floor is lava and sea rescue play areas - Photo Roselyn Fauth 

Patient Children

Lots of patient children through out the build have enjoyed coming up to the security fence and seeing their playground be built.

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Rooney Earthmover Dylan, with CPlay volunteers Graham Ward CPlay project manager and Chris Fauth from the design team stand in the space soon be transformed. - Photo Roselyn Fauth 

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Shipwreck install July 2023 - Photography By Roselyn Fauth

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Team work from the Rooney Earthmoving team - Photo Roselyn Fauth

ConstructingTheLighthouse Montage

Staff at The Playground Centre in Whanganui inspect the design, manufacture and construction of the four-story lighthouse slide tower for the new Caroline Bay Playground. The frame was pre› assembled in order to check the fit and run through safety and quality checks. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

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The lighthouse slide tower arriving in Timaru with Caroline Bay Playground, Caroline Bay, and the Southern Alps in the distance - Photo Playground Centre

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Curle Construction team bring the Playground Centre's lighthouse onto site - Photo Playground Centre


CPlay lighthouse lifted into position with the help of 360 Cranes & Haulage - Photo South Canterbury Drone Photography

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Hilton Haulage Lowering the Lighthouse Crown - Roselyn Fauth

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Curle Construction team bring the Playground Centre's lighthouse onto site. Left Reese Drozdowski - Play ground installer, Right Jack Curle - Play Ground installation foreman - Photo Geoff Cloake

Race to the rescue arriving on site Design by Roselyn Fauth Photo Geoff Cloake
Race to the rescue - Research and design by Roselyn Fauth - Photo Geoff Cloake


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Creo team work - nearing the end of the pile of pallettes and packets of rubber! - Photo Roselyn Fauth

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Pacific pops of colours in the new playground - Photography By Playground Centre

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First phase almost complete for the floor is lava and sea rescue play areas - South Canterbury Drone Photography

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 Shipwreck and lighthouse slide towers - South Canterbury Drone Photography


We had independant playground safety auditor with us for the journey to make sure if there were problems, we could address them early.


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Haami Rahui who was the Kaikorero (cultural connector) with whakapapa (ancestry) to both Te Runanga o Arowhenua and Te Aitarakihi, blesses the mauri stone - Photo Geoff Cloake

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Representatives celebrate - Photo Geoff Cloake

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From Left athe back: Leanne Prendeville, Louise Haley, Roselyn Fauth, Chris Fauth, Brent Birchfield, Alice Brice Grant, and Vicki Gould. Front Row: Lynette Wilson, Owen Jackson (OJ), Francine Spencer, and Sarah Dumicich-Mills. Absent: Graham Ward and John Rushton.

CPlay volunteers children try out the horse from 1961 Geoff Cloake

Some of the CPlay volunteers children test out the horse that was re-sited from the old playground. It was installed in 1961. -  Photo Geoff Cloake

CPlay TDCSocialMedia Event

Social Media post shared by Timaru District Council to invite people to a public free event to celebrate the new playground 

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Ready for play, the crowd arrive to experience the playground for the first time.

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Celebratory cake!

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This playground was truly a labor of love, and it wouldn't have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the entire community. From the volunteers who donated their time and energy, to the businesses and organizations that provided financial support, to the designers and builders who brought our vision to life – it was a collaborative effort.

I hope you all have the opportunity to visit and enjoy this amazing new playground. It's a testament to what can be achieved when a community comes together with passion, determination, and a shared vision.




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Community having a heap of fun together


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First family to play when the security fences were removed. Photo: Roselyn Fauth

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Quality father and daughter time with Chris and Medinella (9) Fauth - Photo Geoff Cloake

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One of the first families to come and play at the new playground and test it out before the security fences came down. Photo: Venture Timaru

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School visit to the playground with educator from the South Canterbury Museum. Photo: Roselyn Fauth

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Siblings Ruben Cloake and Annelies Bray have a race on the 50m tandem flying fox. Photo: Geoff Cloake

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Marthy Cloake and grandaughter swing together on the expression swing by Playground Centre. Photo: Geoff Cloake

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Team from fire and emergency in Timaru test out the floor is lava obstical course. Photo Roselyn Fauth

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Police pop in for a slide while a school class watches on. Photo: Roselyn Fauth

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We added playpanels to the inside of the ship so people had a quite shadey space to playtogether, these are also an ideal height for people who use wheel chairs or have limited mobility. - Photo Roselyn Fauth

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Mother and Daughter using accessible trampoline

Mother and daughter enjoy using the accessable trampoline

Paracyclist Jono Nelson posted a video of him trying out the playground for the first time, said he felt like a kid again.

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Looking ship shape and ready for play. Photo: Todd Mudie Group.

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Ship deck can be accessed by a ramp on a mound, so everyone can have fun steering the ship, ringing the bell and using the talker to give orders to the ship crew. Photo: Roselyn Fauth

Tongan Society South Canterbury held their fanau picnic as their last gathering for the year at CBay Playground 2

Tongan Society met at the playground to use the free electric BBQs and play. Photo: South Canterbury Tongan Society. 

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Police get some tips from 14 year old Judah Kenner for the floor is lava obstical course themed to our local geology

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Local fire and emergency team working together to get over the nets on the floor is lava obstical course


Balancing on the mokihi seesaw by Playground Centre - Photo Playground Centre.

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Teenagers rock the swing - Photo: Geoff Cloakie

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Photo: Geoff Cloake

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Photo Geoff Cloake

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Cyclops swing entertaining the ladies. Photo supplied

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Young family enjoy the slides. Photo: Venture Timaru

Noticed damage, graffiti, rubbish etc?  Please contact Timaru District Coucil via their "Snap, Send, Solve" app or form: timaru.govt.nz/fix-it

For urgent attention phone Customer Services 03 687 7200.

You can still reach our volunteers via email, just keep in mind we are not actively monitoring our messages, so thank you for your patience if we take some time to respond. info@cplay.co.nz

1 Virtue Ave, Caroline Bay, Timaru
(Off SH 1, Evans St).

OPEN 7 days / 24 hrs 

©2020-2024 CPlay and  Website Sponsored by Cloake Creative   Images are subject to copyright by various contributors - for the sole use of CPlay.