When the consultation was undertaken for the redevelopment of the Eastside Youth Space, a common theme emerged about Eastsiders being involved in its development. We did not want the work simply completed for us…instead we wanted to be there to plant the plants, build the stage and create any artwork to be installed. Behind this request was the longing to have a say about how things are done and to have some ownership and pride in the Youth Space itself.
On Saturday 2nd July the call was made for help to spread the bark under the new playground equipment at Puketàwhero Park. The mound of bark was massive making the spreading of the bark by hand a significant challenge. But, as the saying goes, “many hands make light work”. At 2pm people of all ages started arriving. A “purpose built” intergenerational project could not have had a better outcome. We had littlies right through to kaumatua. It was great to see a group of younger ones helping to fill a wheelbarrow and then take turns to make the delivery of the bark. The men involved worked like machines and the youth participated from the beginning right through to the end at 5pm. It was heartening to hear feedback about these youth….how committed they were to getting the work done and how polite they were to those around them. The typical stereotypes about youth were definitely broken that day.
Once the bark was spread under the play equipment, those involved got to have a play. The smiles displayed as the equipment was put to good use made the hours of hard work worthwhile.
So…many thanks to all of those who turned up and contributed to making the area safe to play on. Thank you to Keep Rotorua Beautiful and the Scott Ave Maara Kai who provided extra shovels, rakes and wheelbarrows for us to use. Thank you to ER@P (Eastside Rangatahi at the Park) for the sausage sizzle. Thank you to Rotorua Lakes Council for providing us with the resourcing (the play equipment and the bark) as well as the opportunity to make a difference in our community.
There will be other opportunities to be involved as other parts of the Eastside Youth Space are developed. Keep an eye open in future copies of this newsletter, or on the Inside Eastside Rotorua Facebook page. We hope to see you there.