Geronimo - it's all downhill from here

02:29, Feb 26 2014
Slip n Slide
SLIP N SLIDE: Twelve locations in and around Palmerston North have been chosen for Sunday's Slip n Slide Day.

It started with a crazy idea to unify the communities of Palmerston North in good old-fashioned fun, and Aaron Phillips has been on a slippery slope ever since.

Between 1pm and 3pm on Sunday, the city will become the slip and slide capital of New Zealand, with 12 green spaces in and around Palmerston North, most of them including slopes of various degrees, covered with metres upon metres of slippery plastic sheets.

The MetService weather forecast is for beaming sun, the Palmerston North City Council has confirmed it will not impose water restrictions this week and the most gnarly locations have been finalised.

SLIDING AWAY: Aaron Phillips has organised Palmerston North's first ever slip and slide day.

The Slip and Slide Day is the brainchild of council parks and property manager Aaron Phillips, who has organised it off his own bat and out of his own pocket.

City woman Paula Harris had mentioned to him that the Linklater Reserve would be the perfect place for a water slide.

Months on, Mr Phillips has purchased plastic sheets for 12 different locations in the city that he thinks will work, but he has saved the 50-metre long strip for the Linklater slope.


Slip n slide
SLIDING AWAY: Aaron Phillips has organised Palmerston North's first ever slip and slide day.

"The Linklater will be the iconic one. It's probably the best in the city for it but I didn't want this event where one community gets it and another misses out.

"I wanted something where anyone old enough to ride a bike on their own could just wander down and join in and I think we've got that."

He has managed that by getting communities to rally for a site of their own.

Redsox Manawatu is taking control of the Vautier Park site and the communities of Longburn and Bunnythorpe had made it happen despite not originally being included in plans for the day.

"We've got between 30 and 40 volunteers who are taking time out of their day to make sure it goes well and that's amazing to see."

Several companies had helped bring the day together, too, from Massey University volunteers offering to supervise sites, to Beca Consulting and Awesome Art running and paying for one site each, Farmlands providing silage plastic for the slides at bulk cost price, to Fonterra offering up its water supply at Longburn.

"I just hope heaps of kids have heaps of fun. This is the sort of thing that when you grow up in the country you just do it but for kids in the city these days often there's not that many opportunities.

Each slide would be a little different. Memorial Park's would be shorter than the rest, and some would be flat because of the unavailability of water or toilets on slopes. "But even when these things are flat, they're a lot of fun."

All and sundry would be allowed on the slides, from 4-year-olds on their mum's lap right up to "adventurous" adults, Mr Phillips said.

"In many ways it's an experiment, and I'm starting to get a bit nervous about it. I can't wait to see how it goes.

"We've bought all the plastic sheets now so with a bit of luck it puts us in a good position to have a stock of them there for the future."

The waterslides in Palmerston North are at: Linklater Reserve, Vautier Park, Memorial Park, Hokowhitu Domain, Peren Park, Rangitane Park, Awapuni Park, Bill Brown Park and Colquhoun Park. There are also slides at Works Pit Park in Ashhurst, Bunnythorpe School and Longburn School.

Manawatu Standard