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Go-zone’s a no-go for now

Go-Zone Wairarapa was closed yesterday while its owners completed remedial work to try and bring its playground structure up to compliance with the building code.

It will remain closed until Carterton District Council [CDC] contracted engineers reassess the structure, which could be several weeks away.

The adventure playground in Waingawa has proved to be hugely popular with the public since it opened six weeks ago but has been operating without full consent.

The playground was initially scheduled for a March opening when the equipment was installed, but structural engineers contracted by CDC deemed the playground non-compliant with the Building Code in June, at which point the council issued Go-Zone with a notice to fix.

The engineer’s report found that the large playground and the trampoline area did not resist lateral loads [horizontal movement] to the New Zealand standard.

It suggested that 9mm plywood sheets be added on each row of the playground’s walls in longitudinal and transverse directions to bring it up to code.

CDC said it would not give the playground structure a certificate of acceptance until the remedial work was completed.

Just in time for the school holidays, the business opened on July 5 for a limited number of booked appointments, despite not being fully signed off.

CDC building services team leader John Tait sent a notice to fix to the Go-Zone owners on July 12.

“We note that council received assurance that the playground would not be open to the public until such time that the requirements of the notice to fix had been met.

“Council has no records to show any of the deficiencies referred to in the report have been resolved.

“To remedy the non-compliance, by August 14 [yesterday], you must complete the work necessary to ensure that the structure complies with the requirements of the Building Code,” Tait said.

“Alternatively, by August 14, cease operation of the playground structure until such time it can be established that the structure is not unsafe.”

The notice said that if the business did not comply with the notice to fix, it could be liable to a fine of up to $200,00 and a further fine of up to $20,000 for each day it failed to comply.

But Go-Zone’s owners thought that plywood walls would introduce further problems by introducing associated hard edges and hard surfaces into the playground environment.

Playground consultant Playsafe NZ said that the plywood solution would be such a deviation from the original playground plan that a consultant would need to return from Auckland for a reassessment.

Instead, after receiving advice from another adventure playground operator and a scaffolding engineer, Go-Zone opted for a solution using steel bracing covered by foam pool noodles, diagonally bracing the walls following the grid pattern CDC’s engineers suggested for the plywood.

Go-Zone carried out and completed that work yesterday.

Owner Amanda Mitchell said the business has received a huge amount of community support since opening six weeks ago.

“I get a little bit teary talking about it,” she said.

“The feedback has been amazing; the community support has been phenomenal and incredibly humbling. It’s pulled our family through in this stressful time.

“Everyone just seems so excited that there is something like this in the community.”

Mitchell said Go-Zone has been booked out every weekend and has hosted plenty of parties.

Although she does not have an exact timeframe for when the engineers would reassess the steel bracing to see if it is compliant with the building code, Mitchell expects it to happen in the next few weeks.

In the meantime, Go-Zone will remain closed until the engineers deem it compliant with the Building Code.


  1. A shame it wasn’t in the Masterton District. We have had major issues with the council here in Carterton and their compliance. Just OTT. How many tax payer $$$$ have they spent on security cameras in the town? To rip them out and put new ones in. Still not fit for purpose.

  2. I think Go-Zone has chosen a perfectly appropriate structural solution with diagonal steel bracing. Anyone who has seen the structure would understand that plywood bracing panels would be problematic in both the installation process and physical use of the playground. Anyone with common sense that is. I wish the owners of Go-Zone every success in their venture, it’s a great and much appreciated facility.

Comments are closed.

Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age who regularly writes about education. He is originally from Wellington and is interested in environmental issues and public transport.

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