Margaret Mahy Playground

Coordinates: 43°31′42″S 172°38′27″E / 43.52833°S 172.64083°E / -43.52833; 172.64083

The Margaret Mahy Playground is a playground in the Christchurch Central City on the banks of the Avon River.

Margaret Mahy Playground as seen from Manchester Street

Following the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, the government's Recovery Plan had a "city-wide family playground" as one of the elements of the East Frame.[1] The playground opened on 22 December 2015, and it is the largest playground in the Southern Hemisphere.[2] A week prior to the opening, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) issued a press release reporting that the playground had cost NZ$3m to build,[3] and the local newspaper, The Press, reported this with the headline "$3m playground ready to open".[4] But within days, it became clear that the amount publicised by CERA was only a part of the cost; The Press reported that the total project cost exceeded NZ$40m, with NZ$19.6m for land purchase, NZ$1.3m for demolition of buildings, and NZ$20m for land development, including NZ$3m for the playground itself.[2][5]

The concept for the playground is based on deliberate but managed risk, with the project manager stating: "We accept more risk now in our playgrounds than we had 20 years ago."[6] Having mostly received an enthusiastic response from the public, there was criticism that such an expensive playground did not cater better for children with physical disabilities.[7] The playground is named for Margaret Mahy, New Zealand's famous children's author.[8] After it was reported in January 2016 that the slide got so hot during sunny summer days that it blistered fingers, shade sails were installed.[9] In April 2016, it was reported that additional adventure equipment for the playground had been ordered: climbing towers and "curly whirly slides".[6] An 8 metres (26 ft) spiral slide from one of the towers opened on 26 June and The Press reported "screams of terror and excitement".[10] Two weeks later, the towers and the slide were closed again "over safety concerns".[11]

Elsie Locke Park in July 2013

The land incorporates the previous Elsie Locke Park, which was named after the famous activist in 1997 and was Christchurch's only park named after a resident during their lifetime.[12][13]


  1. ^ Christchurch Central Recovery Plan : Te Mahere 'Maraka Ōtautahi' (PDF). Christchurch: Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority. July 2012. p. 35. ISBN 978 0 478 39718 5. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  2. ^ a b Stylianou, Giorgina (22 December 2015). "Multimillion-dollar Margaret Mahy playground open for fun in Christchurch". The Press. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  3. ^ Ombler, John (16 December 2015). "Margaret Mahy Family Playground Opening 22 December 2015" (Press release). Christchurch: CERA. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  4. ^ "$3m playground ready to open". The Press. 17 December 2015. p. A3. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  5. ^ "How much did Christchurch's Margaret Mahy playground cost?". The Press. 27 December 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  6. ^ a b Napier, Abby (7 April 2016). "New equipment on the way for Margaret Mahy Playground". The Press. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  7. ^ Spink, Emily (13 January 2016). "Playground 'misses mark'". The Press. p. A2. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  8. ^ "$3m playground ready to open". The Press. 17 December 2015. p. A3. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  9. ^ Stylianou, Georgina (26 January 2016). "Child's fingers burn on playground's hot slide". The Press. p. A3. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  10. ^ Flynn, Leah (26 June 2016). "Tower of terror opens at Christchurch's Margaret Mahy Family Playground". The Press. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  11. ^ Flynn, Leah (10 July 2016). "Tower of terror at Christchurch's Margaret Mahy Family Playground closed". The Press. Retrieved 11 July 2016.
  12. ^ "Elsie Locke park future uncertain". The Press. 20 September 2013. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  13. ^ Horton, Murray (June 2001). "Obituary: Elsie Locke". Peace Researcher. Christchurch, New Zealand: New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone Committee. 23. ISSN 1173-2679. OCLC 173343104. Retrieved 5 August 2012.