With civil construction newly completed in the neighbourhood – the first to achieve such a milestone in a Kāinga Ora large-scale project – more than 400 people got together in Freeland Reserve on 1 December for music, games, kai and connection.
“It was so great to see so many local families enjoying the event,” says Antonia Vai, Kāinga Ora Programme Manager Placemaking.
The event was a symbol of a community coming together, with Graham Hight from Roskill Baptist Church opening the event and blessing the kai, Bunnings Warehouse donating solar lights, Future Squad volunteers helping to run event activities and Earth Action Trust managing event waste while educating attendees on the ins and outs of general rubbish, recycling and compost.
Singer-guitarist Jimmy Earle from Youth Arts NZ provided tunes for the evening, along with a drumline and workshop from Siva Afi, while Josh from Te Ahi Ora impressed with a fire session and performance.
Community members got stuck into face-painting, lantern making, street chalk art, giant Jenga and Connect Four, ring toss, corn hole and noughts and crosses.
“Throughout the night, I had many, including children, giving praise and thanks, and asking for more community events,” Antonia says.
“Parents and caregivers were thankful to see less roadworks in the area and grateful for the barbeque area some weren’t aware of but their children had been telling them about.”
The community enjoyed hot drinks from Waka Bean and some kai – authentically cooked and provided by Hangi Masters.
“A few of them had followed his series on TV, so they were surprised to see him and smell his hangi from the other end of the reserve!
“There was plenty to go around, so many were able to take some home too.”