Projects > Pohe Island Playground

Pohe Island Playground

Whangarei District Council
WSP – Catherine Hamilton
Whangarei, New Zealand
Councils & Developers | Landscape Architects

“From concept to completion, a clear vision for a place where everyone feels welcome to play guided the development of this landmark play space for Whangarei.”

Dan Timmins, Playground Centre Director of Sales

Rave reviews for destination playground

Vast and visionary, the Pohe Island destination playground in William Fraser Memorial Park is a masterclass in inclusive playground design with endless options for active, imaginative and social play for people of all ages and abilities.

Designed by WSP’s Catherine Hamilton for the Whangarei District Council, it forms part of the Council’s plan to transform Pohe Island into a 54ha ‘Great Park of Whangarei’ and establish a ‘play trail’ along the Hatea Loop walkway.


It was a pleasure to work alongside Catherine, the wider WSP team and the Council and their internal design team to bring the Pohe Island destination playground to life. The clarity of their vision and direction with respect to the play space’s flow, look and feel made our role in manufacturing a completely bespoke play space a joy!

A true collaboration, the playground’s layout and individual elements were progressively refined and adapted across the life of the project to optimise play value and budget and realise the site’s full potential. While 3D visual renders of the playground were supplied at different stages to assist the Council to keep the public updated throughout the process. All with an unwavering commitment to create a truly special play space that reflects the unique qualities of Whangarei – its stories, its people and landscape.


Adventurous play on a large scale, Pohe Island playground features multiple play zones incorporating an abundance of multi-generational equipment hand-picked and tailored to provide a stimulating and memorable play experience.

True to the design intent, the play space is integrated into the landscape, with undulating slopes and landscaping providing the platform for both structured and free nature play. Considered equipment choices complement and enhance the site’s natural features including Embankment Slides, climbing nets, ropes and rocks, stepping logs and Tunnels Through Mounds, while eco-inspired materials and finishes ensure the entire playground blends with its environment.

Standing 7m tall, the bespoke Pohe Island Tower with dual towers linked by two rope bridges suspended at different heights, and two tube slides, is the focal point of the playground. Working from the original drawings, our skilled and experienced designers and craftsman constructed the tower – made exceptional through the amalgamation of an array of inclusive play elements including all abilities access under the towers.

The commitment to best practice inclusive playground design is evident throughout, with the inclusion of an Inclusive Carousel, Wheelchair Trampoline and interactive, sensory equipment such as the  Interactive Bridge with Sound, Drums and Wobbly Wood Sandro Sandplay Module (and much, much more).

And it’s all brought together with simply stunning visual design details which speak to the culture, environment and history of Pohe Island such as intricate cut outs of birds and leaves on the towers and other equipment, along with 3D Koru fronds ‘growing’ out of the ground.


Feeling inspired? Talk to one of our playground design and build specialists today.

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