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Liberty swing lifts off at Rocket Park

7 February 2005

Liberty swing lifts off at Rocket Park

Disabled children in Auckland city will soon be able to experience the thrill of riding a swing just as their able-bodied friends do.

On Thursday 10 February, Auckland Mayoress Diana Hubbard will be at Rocket Park playground in Mt Albert to officially launch New Zealand’s first Variety Liberty Swing for disabled children.

Auckland City, which has installed the swing, fencing and safety matting at a cost of $20,000, plans to monitor the swing’s use with the view to installing swings in other areas.

The $55,000 project has been a joint venture between the council and Variety – the Children’s Charity which has gifted the $25,000 swing to the city from Gold Heart Appeal funds. The appeal is being conducted throughout the country with the hope of offering a swing to 11 major local authorities over the next six months.

“Children respond incredibly well to the freedom of being in a swing. Sometimes it is a completely new experience for them. We hope the Variety Liberty Swings will soon be a familiar sight in playgrounds around New Zealand,” says Variety Chief Executive, Elisa Willman.

Other guests attending the launch include 18-year-old Paralympics boccia silver medallist Liam Sanders and children from Mt Richmond Special School and Carlson School for Cerebral Palsy.

The Australian-designed Devine Liberty Swing was developed over 13 years to accommodate people who use wheelchairs (including sports and electric wheelchairs) and those with other impairments (such as limited use of their arms).

Wheelchairs can be reversed into the swing on a custom-built ramp and locked into place. Those who do not use a wheelchair can sit on a seat while secured by a seatbelt device. The swing is constructed from heavy-duty plastic with an internal steel structure which can support up to 250kg.

Auckland City disability advisor, Minnie Baragwanath, believes the project is a positive step for the disabled community.

“It is sometimes taken for granted that simple things like playing sport or playing in a playground are just part of growing up. The liberty swing is part of our effort to create an inclusive environment for kids who don’t have these everyday opportunities.

“We are always looking for ways to make the city more accessible and enjoyable for all visitors and residents. It’s great that we’ve been able to team up with Variety for this initiative,” she says.

For more information about Auckland City’s disability policy, Variety – the Children’s Charity and the Devine Liberty Swing, please visit:
- www.aucklandcity.govt.nz/disability
- www.variety.org.nz
- www.devinelibertyswing.com

Media are invited to attend the launch. Photo opportunities will be available.
What: Official launch of New Zealand’s first Variety Liberty Swing for disabled children
When: Noon, Thursday 10 February 2005
Where: Rocket Park playground, corner Great North Road and Wairere Avenue, Mt Albert
- Auckland Mayoress Diana Hubbard
- Paralympics silver medallist Liam Sanders
- children from Mt Richmond Special School and Carlson School for Cerebral Palsy.


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