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let’s play

Hockey Reserve, Nelson

The use of bright vibrant colour brings a sense of playfulness to the Hockey Reserve, Nelson creating a strong contrast that accentuates the natural colours of the surrounding landscape.

The design reflects the natural character of the site and adventure play maximising use of natural, recycled materials including rock and recycled timber, enhanced with the use of Resene colours to create strong, bright play features.

Hockey Reserve overview

Hockey Reserve is a local neighbourhood playground and reserve in the Brook Valley, situated against the backdrop of the Brook Sanctuary, a native wildlife haven. The brook stream runs along the edge of the reserve and native planting lines its banks. The playground is the main focus of the reserve and features various play equipment, coloured climbing tunnels, totem poles, interpretation, rock play and seating.

The previously flat site has been transformed with the use of playful mounding inspired by the eddy ripples and flows created in the nearby stream. The mounding (approx. 1m high) winds through the site providing enclosure and creating opportunity for play with colourful tunnels, which intersect the mounds and a slide that wraps over the top of a grassed mound. Safety play matting is bright blue reflecting symbolically the stream that runs alongside the park.

Hockey Reserve poles, pipes and climbing chain

The Resene colour palette has been used from the earliest phases of conceptual design alongside the design elements of the playground. There are a number of ‘off the shelf’ play items in the park that match the Resene colours, creating a uniform palette that is bright and fun without being overly complicated. Inspired by nature and colour, a bold palette of colours was selected from the Resene KidzColour collection – Resene Lumbersider low sheen waterborne paint tinted to Resene Yabbadabbadoo (bright blue green), Resene Jack In The Box (deep purple), Resene Dizzy Lizzy (dynamic green), and Resene Rock N Roll (pink based red). These colours are used in a playful manner on play equipment, totem poles, tables and seats, with random stripes, bold block colour, playful circles and stencil art interpretation, which brings the project to life.

Hockey Reserve seat

Seating and tables are robust while having a sense of fun with randomly painted timbers. Painted stencil art on precast panels graphically teaches children about the local native fauna while play equipment is colourfully painted and selected in the colours from the design colour palette.

The plant palette is a native mix of Rata, Kowhai, and Kanuka found locally with mounds planted out in grasses, flaxes and reeds to introduce native birds and teach children about native flora. The natural surroundings of the Hockey Reserve provide a lush green backdrop for a playful palette of colours to add life and a sense of fun. In years to come, the bright greens, rich browns and vibrant yellows within the planting palette will further enhance the use of colour within the design.


The clever touches of colour won this project the Resene Total Colour Landscape Award 2013. The judges thought “the colour scheme is sophisticated and purposefully added rather than relying on pre-coloured proprietary objects. The touch of colours across an array of structures brings them together and provides a sense of delight. Everywhere you look there is a touch of colour to be enjoyed. The totem poles are layered with colour, completely inviting, lively and they draw attention and interest to key elements. This is instantly appealing to children. A perfect proportional use of colour.”

Architectural Specifier: Heidi Stewart and Luke Porter, Canopy Landscape Architects
Building Contractor: Nelmac
Client: Nelson City Council
Winner: Resene Total Colour Landscape Award 2013
Project: Resene Total Colour Awards 2013
From the Resene News – issue 4/2013

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