Bid to transform woodland into natural playground

VISION: The Guardians of Rawhiti Domain are planning to transform an abandoned woodland area into a "natural play space".

An ambitious plan has been developed to enhance a woodland area in a domain.

The Guardians of Rawhiti Domain are planning to transform the woodland, located off Keyes Rd, into a “natural play space”.

The vision including tree-houses, a rope-bridge, zip-line and plantings of woodland flowers shrubs and pohutukawa was presented to the Coastal­Burwood Community Board.

It aims to support birds, butterflies and bees in the domain and for community enjoyment.

The project will take about a year to complete.

Guardian committee member Ruthie Emeny described it as a “shooting for the moon” plan.

She said the guardians would like to see the domain protected and enhanced.

“The woodland area is a lovely natural space. Enhancing it for play will create an asset for our community,” she said.

The idea was formed after founding member Cathy Baker noticed a decline in bird, bees and monarch butterflies.

Mrs Emeny said it was likely losing 6000 gardens in the red zone as a result of the Canterbury earthquakes, meant food for insects was depleted.

Earlier this year, the city council assessed a stand of trees on the Keyes Rd side of the domain.

Seven of the trees were deemed unsafe and were felled.

The guardians decided to take advantage of the felled trees by inviting three playcentre groups to test out playing on the leftover tree stumps in the area.

The community board has since requested city council staff to consider conducting an in­-depth tree risk assessment/maintenance programme for the woodland area.

This is to allow the possibility of the natural play space to be developed.

The guardians will be on the Keyes Rd side of the domain from 2-4pm on July 22 to get further ideas from the public on what could be added to the “natural space.” On August 22 the guardians will be running a planting day at the domain and is planning to get the Shirley, North Beach and South Brighton playcentres involved.

•Anyone interested in getting involved or wanting to learn more about the Guardians can email