Type of project: Design-driven project
Collaborator: Department of Conservation
Sponsors/Funders: Christchurch City Council, Briford Trailers, Hire King, Life in Vacant Spaces, Placemakers, Treetec, Fulton Hogan, Waterforce, Ardex NZ, Citycare, Hynds, Central Fencing, Trees for Canterbury, Abell, Wai-ora Landscapes, Adgraphix, Taggarts, Wharenui School

Location: 203 Hereford Street, by Latimer Square
Completed: August 2013.
Status: Decommissioned May 2016

Nature Play was a place for families to discover – through free play – what is special about Canterbury plants and wildlife. Opened in 2013 in partnership with the Department of Conservation the educational play space was designed by landscape architect Hilary Wetton. 

Nature Play included a mini braided river with rocks as steppers or for looking under, a foot bridge, log hops and seats, tunnels, and a grassed plain for picnicking.  The plantings were carefully designed to show a range of Canterbury’s ecosystems including alpine and beech forest, giving visitors a feel for what a‘native’ park could be. An authentic looking NZ backcountry hut housed interpretation panels providing information on native habitat, plants and animals and their threats as well as the whereabouts of locally accessible wilderness locations.  

Nature Play provided an example for rebuilding the city with conservation values at heart.  The compact landscape provided interactive experiences and exploration to reveal the wonder, importance and place of conservation in our everyday (inner city) lives.  It was active for 3 years and was one of the most visited projects of The Green Lab, then known as Greening the Rubble.

Links to Media: 

DOC – Greening The Rubble Article

Stuff Editorial – Green space to define new city

RNZ – Nature Play Article

Foreground Article – Pop-ups tactical urbanism

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