The latest buzz in Otorohanga

CHRIS GARDNER
Last updated 05:00 10/12/2013

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Buzzy Bee is getting a rocket on to land in Otorohanga.

A Kiwiana-themed playground is being planned in the King Country township's Brett Reserve as part of Otorohanga's long-running Project Kiwiana, once the committee has secured sponsorship.

David Walmsley of Design Design, whose idea it was to market the town under the Kiwiana banner in 1999, came up with the Buzzy Bee rocket-ship concept for the playground.

Kiwiana playground subcommittee chairwoman Jo Russell said the plan was to create a fun, safe area for families and children of all ages alongside the skatepark and basketball court already on the site.

"It will roughly be the height of a power pole and kids sitting in the cockpit will be able to pedal and turn the Buzzy Bees wings," she said.

"We have wanted to update the Buzzy Bee symbol to make it more applicable for current generations of kids.

"Working drawings for this are being developed at present and, as this is our showcase piece, we will be developing this part of the playground first."

Ms Russell said developing the working drawings and the engineering were estimated to cost about $8000.

"Working drawings and specific costings on each item which will help us to make final decisions about the exact playground equipment to be selected. Finding sponsors for the items will also play a part in the playground equipment chosen."

A sculptured cow, paying tribute to the township's dairying heritage, will form a slide and either a paua, or similar-themed, swing set will stand alongside, or even a hokey pokey icecream maypole swing.

Mt Everest's first European conqueror Sir Edmund Hillary visited the township a decade ago, so a scale model of Mt Everest will be included for children to climb and ride scooters around.

A jandal-themed flying fox is also in the mix with either a Marmite or kiwifruit hamster wheel or a pavlova-themed merry-go-round.

Sheep or gumboot-themed rockers are also being considered as well as a sculptural bucket and spade and brightly coloured umbrella around the tables/seating area.

It will all be signposted by a cut-out All Black or an All Black scrum featuring the New Zealand flag and the title "Otorohanga - Kiwiana Town".

"We will be working closely with the Playground Centre from Whanganui and local engineers to develop and cost detailed drawings and plans that meet safety and structural engineering requirements," Ms Russell said.

"We will use these to approach iconic New Zealand businesses to sponsor key elements in the playground.

"Community feedback regarding the playground development has been very favourable so far and we haven't even broken the ground.

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"We aim to ensure families get a great playground, the town gets another iconic attraction, and the subcommittee - made up of keen mums, dads and nannas - will get the adventure of planning it."

Otorohanga Mayor Max Baxter said Project Kiwiana had done wonders for the town, putting it on the map.

"The playground is going to create great interest and I am looking forward to seeing the whole project take shape. They have just struck the right chord with the community. I hope the money does come easily.

"We have got so many people who are totally totally passionate about this town and the district and, without these people, a small community like Otorohanga would find it extremely hard to get anything done."

Thanks to the Project Kiwiana committee, Otorohanga is full of Kiwiana murals, corrugated iron sculptures and a gallery and arcade of Kiwiana displays in the Ed Hillary Walkway.

- Waikato Times

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