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Twins into the swing of things

Age no barrier to board presentation

Published: 3 May 2018
Ila and Jaya Patel.

When someone messed with their monkey bars, then eight-year-old twins Ila and Jaya Patel swung into action.

The monkey bars at Grey Lynn Park that the twins loved to hang out on were removed as part of an upgrade.

The budding gymnasts, now nine, organised a petition and presented it to Mt Albert MP and now Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern at a Grey Lynn Primary school assembly attended by Waitematā Local Board Chair Pippa Coom and member Adriana Avendano Christie.

Their petition said ‘bring back monkey bars’, and 210 people signed. The girls also spoke at a board meeting.

Board parks portfolio lead and deputy chair Shale Chambers  says it’s unusual for such young people to approach the board, let alone organise a petition. “It’s great to see them going to bat for their community.”

The board was delighted to ask park planners to think again.

Now new monkey bars have landed. They fit the overall playground design for smaller children, but the girls have found them a good height for the tricks they enjoy.

Mum Zita Thomas says it was great her girls got to see democracy in action.

“I told them not to moan about it, that they had a voice, and if other children felt the same, there was a good chance they’d be listened to, so they presented the petition. They learnt so much during the process and feel quite proud of their achievement.”