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Stoke Youth Park Open For Action

Skaters, ballers, bongo players, coffee connoisseurs and hammock lovers unite – the Stoke Youth Park is open and ready for use.

The Youth Park, opened with a Karakia Whakawātea (Dawn Blessing) this Friday, which was led with the support of local iwi and kaumātua Barney Thomas, Melanie McGregor, Harvey Ruru and Te Ahu Rei.

The Youth Park has been under consideration since 2014 and is now situated in the car park of the Stoke Memorial Hall.

Principal Parks and Facilities Activity Planner Andrew Petheram said the input from Whanake Youth on the design was instrumental to the project being a success.

“Lee-ann O’Brien co-ordinated consultation with local youth, surveyed young people, and arranged workshops to gauge what features they wanted.”

Requests from young people included: Wi-Fi access, an area to sit, chill and relax, water fountains, a music area, space for a food/coffee cart, an outdoor movie area, recycle rubbish bins, hammocks, skate park features and a basketball court.

“A big focus was given to the ‘chilling space’, with a deck, container, tables, synthetic turf, bespoke hammock and eco-friendly bean bags.”

Kaumātua Barney Thomas

The Rātā Foundation provided an extra $150,000 funding on top of the money budgeted by Council, which was used to provide extra features such as the shade sail over the astroturf area, timer-controlled lighting to the basketball court and skate area, catenary lighting over the deck, and decking extensions.

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In a message read out by O’Brien, Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese thanked everyone involved in creating the park.

“This is a much-needed park that creates spaces for tamariki and rangatahi here in Whakatū. I acknowledge all the rangatahi who have driven this project and who have been so generous with their ideas and advice, especially Whanake Youth, who were heavily involved in the design and never gave up on the vision becoming reality."

Community and Recreation Chair Tim Skinner said the opening of the new park was an exciting moment for Stoke.

"The youth of Stoke will be stoked," he said. "I am very proud to see this dedicated space for young people open today. I have no doubt that hoops will be shot, skate ramps will be conquered and friendships forged here for many years to come."

Nelson MP Rachel Boyack is thrilled that the Stoke Youth Park is now open.

“I congratulate Nelson City Councillors, Council staff, contractors, along with the Nelson Youth Council and Whanake Youth for advocating for this fantastic project and for getting it over the line.

“I’m delighted to see a dedicated youth space in our Stoke community.

“It’s important to have spaces for members of our community of all ages, and I’m pleased that we can add this youth park to our growing list of impressive community spaces around Nelson.”

The Youth Park was designed and constructed for $30,000 under its $700,000 budget. The leftover money will be used to create a parkour section of the park at a later date.

Construction of the youth park was a real community effort, with the input of many local businesses. It was designed by Kumanu and built by Nelmac. Swain Construction designed and built the skatepark element.

Whanake Youth is working with the Prince's Trust to develop a container café to run at the space as a social enterprise business. Designed by a member of Whanake Youth, the container for the café was supplied by local firm Boxman.

“It has been a privilege to have been at this part of the project,” said O’Brien.

“Listening to the voices of young people, advocating for their voices to be heard and to see today’s Stoke Youth Park a reality, is fantastic. Many young people throughout our community have a real sense of ownership and belonging to this space, in part because they have been valued, respected, and honoured in a true co-design process. Today is a beginning of a new history for young people and the Stoke community.”

Whanake Youth

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