Where are Matamata's fun, free family parks and facilities?

Jessie-Rose Mestrom is hoping the Matamata-Piako District Council will consider upgrades to the Matamata's playgrounds ...
Rexine Hawes

Jessie-Rose Mestrom is hoping the Matamata-Piako District Council will consider upgrades to the Matamata's playgrounds and parks.

A lack of free weekend activities for families has a newcomer to town asking why the Matamata-Piako District Council is letting Matamata fall behind.

Jessie-Rose Mestrom moved to Matamata from Oamaru with her partner and 10-month-old Conrad six months ago.

Oamaru is slightly larger than Matamata, but has great park and coin operated barbecue facilities for families.

She has visited all the parks in town and has noticed the lack of facilities for crawling aged children, especially fenced-in areas where families can park for the day.

"It would be nice to go somewhere with your little kids, big kids, sausages and breads and make an afternoon with friends that doesn't cost.

"There really isn't much for the littlies. A fenced area, maybe an add on to an existing playground.

"With little kids, it needs to be facilitated and you need to be able to eat there and they need to be able to crawl and have that freedom. Little children are so spontaneous.

"You see quite a lot of creative playgrounds around the place.

"Some have tunnels and tramps recessed into the ground, things that are easy for baby and toddlers to get on and in to.

"Something that looks like it has a bit of love in it."

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In the past six months she has joined playcentre and various parent groups, but it's the free weekend activities that she says Matamata is lacking.

She says finding a suitable park with barbecue facilities would mean travelling to Hamilton or Tauranga, which costs to get there.

She enjoys the pools, but it also costs and in her experience with Conrad, it's a short lived experience for the amount you pay.

She says having a themed park, like Hobbiton, that tourists could use for fun photographs and enjoy lunch would benefit Matamata and potentially bring in more families from neighbouring towns.

Matamata-Piako District Council's business support group manager Manaia Te Wiata said Kowhai Street Reserve and Tom Grant Drive had been identified for renewal this financial year.

"We may also do some minor upgrades at other parks if the budget allows."

The council playgrounds at Matamata Domain, Tom Grant Drive, Pohlen Park and Kowhai Street Reserve provide some equipment suitable for preschool children as well as equipment aimed at older children.

"When upgrading playgrounds we do where practicable provide equipment that caters for a wide range of age groups."

Te Wiata said the council was likely to provide for additional playgrounds in Matamata in the 2018-28 long term plan, which was to go out for consultation early next year.

People could have their say by making a submission to the long term plan.

"Our Open Spaces Strategy, which looks at the current and future provision and development of parks and open spaces in the three main towns, is due to be reviewed in the next 3-4 years."

Te Wiata said people could also visit the council's website to read more about the strategy: mpdc.govt.nz/council-documents/strategies

 - Stuff

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