For those unfamiliar with Down the Back of the Chair, The Great White Man-Eating Shark, and The Man Whose Mother Was a Pirate, Margaret Mahy was a prolific author of children’s books and young adult novels. She lived just over the hill from Christchurch, in Governor’s Bay from the late 1970s until her death in 2012.
Her books are quirky, adventuresome, and often wildly creative.
The recently opened Margaret Mahy Playground is also quirky, adventuresome, and creative.
We don’t frequent playgrounds anymore—our kids are mostly past the age where they insist on playground stops—but when we were in town the other day to visit the (finally) reopened art museum, we decided to check out the new playground.
Water, sand, a flying fox, climbing structures, the “fastest slide ever” (according to my daughter who flew off the end of it like a champagne cork), and a hill marked with contour lines…Horrakapotchkin! The playground was awesome. Even my too-cool-for-playgrounds teenage son went down the slide (twice), sent water through the sluice system, and delighted to find the sensors that turned on sprays of water.
Best of all, there is a path out the back of the playground down to a dock on the river.
The only downside to the playground is that all the surfaces are concrete or rubber mat. A necessary choice of materials, I’m sure—even on the chilly, rainy day we visited, the playground was crowded. Grass would be trampled to death in a day.
One of the best playgrounds I’ve ever seen, and a great tribute to Margaret Mahy.