20 December 2021

Kia Kori Waitaha Celebrates One Year of Delivery

What a year! As we approach Christmas and the New Year, it’s a great time to reflect on the successes, learnings, and magical moments we have experienced throughout 2021 and the first year of our Kia Kori Waitaha PLAY programme.

This year, we have had the opportunity to visit 20 different schools throughout North-West Christchurch. We’ve run 18 events, 6 weekly afterschool programmes and youth groups, and 7 PLAY Weekly Hub locations. All up, this adds to over 20,400 participations throughout the year.

We have had a great time working with all the tamariki in the NorthWest and learning what they want from their play experiences. We’ve run all sorts of play sessions from free play at lunchtime, to have-a-go sessions, to class-time games, to discovery time and learning through play.

It’s been great during term 4 to also be involved in several schools’ end of year fun days – which has been a bit of a silver lining for us after all the covid disruptions – as many schools opted to have us come in for their fun day, rather than going to an off-site activity. We’ve received some great feedback from schools throughout the year, including one who said “our behaviour data also showed reduced amount of incidents during this time”. This was great to hear as it showed us not only is what we are doing being enjoyed, it’s making a difference to young people’s behaviours.


We have had so many amazing moments this year, below are a couple of our highlights:


We found a young girl at Casebrook who was looking bored and lonely walking around the school during break time. As she walked past, our team called out to her and threw her a rugby ball. She passed it back and forth a couple of times before searching for something better to do, coming across the skipping ropes. She got really excited and told us all about how she used to skip for hours at primary school, but hadn’t since going to intermediate. She resolved to check the PE shed the next day to see if they had skipping ropes so she could continue this activity on the days we weren’t there.

We then moved on to throwing a netball around and she mentioned not having many friends. As lunch went on, a group of around 8 girls came and joined in the netball passing, talking and getting to know each other. It was great to see this young girl not only returning to a physical activity she enjoyed, but also make friends in the process.

Mairehau High School

Mairehau High School recently joined the play whanau, with some lunch time sessions in term 4. Their teachers expressed that many of their students were not very active and spent most of their lunch times sitting in groups or walking around the school. Our first session had great uptake, with the rangatahi really excited to be involved in games of swing ball, spike ball, touch rugby and backyard cricket. One of the teachers came out during the session and said “wow, I’ve never seen so many of our students doing physical activity”. It was incredibly rewarding to see our initiatives getting young people active.

Return from Lockdown

The first session back at a school after the September Lockdown was one to remember. We were at Belfast school for a lunch-time session and the kids were so excited to see the team. We walked past the classrooms with the gear heading out to the field to set up, and there were kids in all the classroom door-ways waving and calling out to us. We passed one kid who yelled out to his friend “They came! I told you they’d be here!”. We brought the touch balls, pole tennis, skipping ropes and vortex with us and the kids had a ball. There were about 5 different versions of touch rugby being played and a massive group playing with the vortex, hardly any issues with sharing at all – even on the pole tennis, which generally results in a few arguments.

These are just 3 of the many moments from throughout the year that have shown us the impact we are having on the lives of these young people.



Looking forward to 2022, we are hoping to make this programme even better. We have Papanui Primary School joining the PLAY Whanau and all our existing schools returning for term 1.

Discussions with several schools have led to the planned introduction of play leadership sessions in 2022, with a focus on creating sustainable play in schools through peer-lead play opportunities. We are also looking at how we can better receive feedback from our participants in order to ensure our sessions continue to meet the needs of the tamariki we are supporting. Currently we use surveys, post session enjoyment scales and informal conversations, so we are looking at ways to improve the effectiveness of these as we look to further strengthen our programme and enable ourselves to deliver the best possible play experiences.

We would like to thank everyone who has been involved in making this programme a success this year. From the North-West collective organisations and sporting organisations to the schools and individual participants, we appreciate all of your support and look forward to working with you all again in 2022.

The Kia Kori Waitaha PLAY Team – Rebecca, Mikayla and Jordan.