Destination Play in Taranaki tops a $1m in grants from NZCT

NZCT continues its fantastic support of Taranaki with a further $500,000 grant awarded to Destination Play at Kāwaroa. This groundbreaking infrastructure which will help people stay active in the region. This brings the total amount of grants to Destination Play to $1,000,000 with an earlier grant of $100,000 in December 2022 and $400,000 in February 2022.

The Taranaki Foundation leads the development of Destination Play at Kāwaroa in partnership with mana whenua of Ngāmotu, Ngāti Te Whiti, New Plymouth District Council and NP Partners were extremely grateful for the announcement of this funding which brings Play a step closer for residents and visitors alike.

Destination Play is much more than a playground, it is a play space that anyone and everyone, of all ages and abilities can come to enjoy, in the way they choose, at no cost. The design of Destination Play has been made as inclusive and accessible as possible, to allow anyone to enjoy that ‘thrill-seeking’ moment.

Josh Hickford Chief Executive Taranaki Foundation said “We are excited to see NZCT continue as part of the Foundation Partner group for Destination Play. Their investment is significant and is a key driver in making this project happen. Ambitious, community changing projects like Destination Play simply do not happen without this level of support. We are grateful to have NZCT joining the Play and are excited to bring what will be a community asset for all to life”.

The NZCT funding is aligned to the inclusive/accessible design elements, the pump track, warrior course and exercise areas and is expected to be particularly popular across all ages and abilities.

NZCT Chief Executive Mike Knell says “Having Destination Play as part of the city’s play space with the opportunity to get out and stay active is going to make a huge difference to hundreds of people, families and visitors to the region.

“NZCT is delighted that our partnerships with hospitality venues across New Plymouth have enabled us to get behind the Taranaki Foundation and Destination Play in such a big way.”

“We are passionate about the power of active play to lift the wellbeing of the community and to bind us together. We encourage everyone in the region to take advantage of this fabulous site and its facilities”.

Destination Play, an initiative of the Taranaki Foundation, will be created in 2023 and is designed as a legacy for future generations. It will be a futuristic family-friendly experience that keeps the site's unique nature, culture, histories and stories playfully alive.


The Destination Play area will cover approximately 22,000 m² and include:

Water, challenge and natural play features

Shared social spaces, seating, shelter and an outdoor classroom area

Easier access to Kāwaroa reef encouraging natural exploration

A Maramataka feature that highlights the Māori lunar calendar

Agility and fitness equipment including a pump track, climbing platforms and swings

Learning hotspots aligned with local history, mana whenua and the NZ curricula

Better public facilities including changing rooms, toilets, parking and space for food trucks


The idea to create an intergenerational play space for all was born from Taranaki Foundation’s chair, Bryce Barnett. Bryce together with his wife Delwyn saw an opportunity.

‘Reflecting on this great city and region which we live, love and cherish for our families, raised the opportunity for us to support an intergenerational community asset which can be enjoyed now and in the future. A distinctive, inspiring, explorative experience for all. One that we feel pride in, contribute to, and enjoy!”- Bryce & Delwyn Barnett

Kāwaroa Park is a culturally significant and historic location on the New Plymouth foreshore. Meaning long reef, Kāwaroa has long been renowned for plentiful kaimoana. Early on, the area’s beauty was recognised with the establishment of public baths, a tennis club and reserve, creating a cherished meeting place. Water play, climbing platforms and a pump track are some of the new features planned for an innovative new play and learning space that will transform New Plymouth’s Kāwaroa Park for all ages to enjoy and explore.