May 15, 2023

Cross–team collaboration a playful win at Sport Waitākere

Working across teams is not new for Sport Waitākere, but getting two team members passionate about play on a project together would always be one for the memory book.

Collaborating on the Pātiki Neighbourhood Play Systems Project, Play Systems Advisor Pauline Butt from the Community Sport and Recreation team and Play Systems Innovator Bea Enriquez from the Healthy Families team worked together to deep dive into play in the Pātiki area in Avondale. The team explored what play looks like for whānau and tamariki in the area and what they’d like to see to enhance play in their neighbourhood. This included a cycling trip around Pātiki and playful insight-gathering exercises with tamariki, whānau and community organisations.

Before starting the project, the pair ensured they were clear on the project’s purpose; to centre tamariki voice in the design and planning of play spaces in Pātiki, using an equity lens. Pauline continues.

“From the outset, we were committed to the project’s purpose; we had a shared vision and wanted to ensure the findings from the report will make the biggest difference for the people of Pātiki. This neighbourhood is diverse, primarily comprised of Pasifika, Māori and Asian whānau. Making sure we spoke to the communities and cultures which make up this community was a primary focus.”

The pair worked to each other’s strengths, meeting regularly to update on findings and what was next. Constrained by time, they ensured the project was a priority and supported one another to keep it moving when other priorities arose.

Building relationships with people in the community took time, with intention and understanding playing a pivotal role in building community ties. Once established, these relationships were fundamental to the project insights and overall purpose. These relationships continue to be nurtured beyond the original project’s scope, ensuring community ties with the Sport Waitākere workforce are enduring.

Collaboration also played a crucial role, with Community Sport and Recreation team member Amber Craig supporting the duo with initial introductions with the local school Principals and helping gather insights through her community networks. Pauline continues.

“Having Amber’s support meant the findings from the Pātiki Neighbourhood Play Systems Report are incredibly robust. Being able to lean on prior work with community in the area meant we had a foot in the door before the work even began. She paved the way for many of those initial conversations and opened doors we mightn’t have known about without her expertise and knowledge.”

The report is currently being developed and will be available online soon. Sport Waitākere is currently exploring opportunities to uplift the voices shared in the report, including with The Whau Local Board and Auckland Transport, to influence design and planning in the Pātiki area.