Shaping the future of play recently kicked off with a series of Play Huddles across the Wellington region to help better understand different communities’ perceptions and experiences of play, and what helps or hinders children’s play.

Play is important because it allows tamariki to experience fun, joy and laughter in a way that is important to them. It is also how they keep active and develop physically, socially, emotionally and cognitively.

As a society we’ve engineered physical activity out of our daily lives and something has to change. Our children need the time, space and permission to have quality play experiences. Play not only contributes to children’s lives but also the wellbeing of whanau and the wider community.

Hutt City Council’s Active in the Hutt team participated in the Te Awa Kairangi Play Huddle alongside Upper Hutt City Council, local sporting codes, schools, local play champions and other organisations engaged in play.

The Play Huddle brought everyone together to work collaboratively on gathering local perceptions and experiences of play with an opportunity for local government to learn about the value as well as opportunities for future play across Te Awa Kairangi.

Hutt City Council’s Active in the Hutt Senior Recreation Programmer, Sam Dickie says “The Play Huddle enabled us to form and foster a deeper connection with Council and others engaged in play on how we can support and enable greater play opportunities into the future. We believe that everyone has a role in growing the amount of play that our communities enjoy.”

The outcome of the Play Huddle will see local insights and stories analysed through a reporting process undertaken by Sport NZ and the Innovation Unit. The findings will then be shared with key enablers of play across the region to provide recommendations on a strategic approach to shaping the future of play.