Play Festival back with an extensive line up

Publish Date : 02 Apr 2024
Pop Up Play OA

It’s back and it’s bigger and better than before! Play Festival returns to Tuna Mau / Western Park on the first Saturday of April. 

Supported by Waitematā Local Board, the event is part of World of Cultures, and encourages people of all ages to experience a variety of cultures through play.

Fun experiences from 29 different play providers and performers will be set up for children and adults to enjoy throughout the park.

“Following last year’s successful first event, the organisers have outdone themselves with an incredible lineup of activities that will make even greater use of the park’s open space,” says Waitematā Local Board chair, Genevieve Sage.

“We’re pleased to see some friendly faces from last year as well as welcome new ones into the network of providers sharing invaluable cultural stories and traditions with the community through the art of play.”

Pop Up Play were a favourite last year and are back again with some new Pasifika games.

“We use play as a vehicle to not only teach families and participants how to play these cultural games, but also to pass down knowledge by sharing stories of ancestors from the islands in the context of the games,” says Romero Tagi, director of Pop Up Play.

The Pop Up Play team have staff with heritage from all over the pacific, including Samoa, Tokelau, Tuvalu, the Cook Islands and New Zealand Māori.

Local social circus group, Circability Trust, is a new addition to this year’s festival.

Creative director of Circability Thomas Hinz describes the organisation’s philosophy as “all ages, all abilities, all cultures – better together”.

Group of kids having fun in the outdoors.

Circability Trust will be at this year's Play Festival

The group provides services for all ages from kindergartens to rest homes, and is inclusive of all abilities, often working with high needs children. They are also inclusive of all cultures; being aware of how culturally diverse Auckland is and acknowledging Māori and Pasifika heritage in their work.

Play Festival will give some of the communities that Circability work with a chance to come together and demonstrate their skills.

“A lot of these people have social needs. But with their training they are able to show something off to the wider public,” says Thomas.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for them.”

As well as running a workshop at the main tent, you’ll be able to find Circability throughout the day getting creative with combining nature play and circus in some of the steeper sections of Tuna Mau / Western Park.

Play Festival will take place from 11am-4pm on Saturday 6 April 2024 at Tuna Mau / Western Park, Freemans Bay.

Everyone is welcome, but parking in the area is limited so walking, cycling or using public transport is advised. Bike parking is available.

Visit for a full list of play providers attending and other festival information.

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