New ping pong tables to bring communities together
Ping pong is being served as the newest way to bring different communities together in Christchurch.
Gap Filler, as part of its new "Diverscity" community showcase project, installed three concrete table tennis tables at the weekend in collaboration with the Chinese Cultural Association (CCA) of Christchurch.
The aim of the initiative is to give migrant communities greater visibility in the city, as well as bringing those from different backgrounds together.
"This project is very meaningful to the multicultural community, especially during the earthquake rebuild period of Christchurch," CCA president Robbin Wang said.
"[It] makes the most popular sport in China publicly accessible. We hope it will lead to friendly exchanges and interactions between local residents and the Chinese community."
At Saturday's opening, Simon Fenwick battled New Zealand table tennis representative Ethan Lin, as well as high winds.
"It is a growing sport in New Zealand, a lot of retired and elderly people are getting into table tennis," said Lin.
"It's actually a sport that any age can plan...it's a sport that's low impact , you know you're not going to get injured playing it."
The initiative, installed at the Bridge of Remembrance and launched on Saturday, is the latest in a range of community-led projects by Gap Filler with a similar purpose.
Korean, Fijian-Indian, Chinese and Nigerian communities will all be involved this summer in projects aimed at sharing aspects of their culture for the wider public.
Those ranged from K-Pop competitions at the Dance-O-Mat in November to contemplative spaces and public board games still in development with Fijian-Indian and Nigerian communities, planned to take place over summer.
Gap Filler project developer Sally Airey said as well as visibility for migrant communities, the hope was the tables would connect a range of people and support the area's ongoing recovery.
A common theme had also been encouraging members of cultural communities to participate in something that took them beyond their usual social setting.
"This project has been an education for us," Airey said.
"We've learned more about the cultural communities we have in Christchurch as well as learned about the ways in which we communicate and relate to each other."
The tables are due to remain throughout summer and are free to use. People can bring their own paddles and balls, or borrow some from Coffee Therapy on Hereford St and Cosmic in Re:START mall.
Any other cultural community groups that wanted to be involved in putting together a public project to showcase their community were welcomed to get in touch with Gap Filler via firstname.lastname@example.org