“There’s no sweeter sound than the sound of children playing.”
And for the several hundred people that attended the Murihiku Marae Fun Day and launch of the ILT-funded Play Pods on Saturday, that’s exactly what they heard.
Organisers and attendees didn’t let the drizzle dampen their enthusiasm as they enjoyed the many activities on offer – even if they were moved inside.
Traditional Maori games such as Ki O Rahi, and Tū Kōhatu (stone stacking) shared space with the likes of facepainting, giant Jenga, and Connect Four, while equipment from the Play Pods, launched at the event, were also extremely popular.
The Play Pods are the result of collaboration between Sport Southland’s Healthy Families Invercargill team, Murihiku Marae, the Let’s Play Southland network, and the Invercargill Licensing Trust.
Sport Southland community sport advisor Steve Gear, who was one of the initiators of the Let’s Play Southland network, said the Play Pods were all about getting children and their families playing, and to have them now based at the marae, as well as at ILT Stadium Southland, was a fantastic opportunity for the wider community to get physically active.
“We hope that new relationships will happen with the marae and the community, and this will only be the start of many other things really to do with play and being physically active here at this marae.”
Invercargill Licensing Trust trustee Paddy O’Brien said the Trust loved receiving funding applications for activities and initiatives like the Play Pods.
“We love supporting this sort of venture. Instead of being the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, it’s lovely to actually see that we are trying to stop people needing those ambulances.”
Marae activities coordinator Hita Neho said he was thrilled, not only with the launch of the Play Pods, but also the fun day as a whole.
“It’s about getting our kids, our tamariki playing again. I want to hear, at the marae, kids playing with our stuff and just doing lots of fun stuff.”
Through events such as the fun day, whanau and the wider community could see there were more opportunities for whanau and the community to engage, and a lack of knowledge or understanding of the marae’s role as a community hub would become less of a barrier to people visiting, he said.
“The more and more of these things we have, the smaller and smaller those barriers are going to get.”
Article added: Monday 18 February 2019