Tiny hut back in domain garden

ENLIVEN: SmileDial founder Kelly Dugan and Citycare Property Supervisor Doug Peek with the revamped tiny hut.

One of New Brighton’s tiny huts is getting a new lease of life at the children’s sensory garden in Rawhiti Domain.

The garden is the brainchild of charity SmileDial NZ and is designed to give children, including those with special needs, the chance to explore their senses through interaction with nature.

The #MyBrightonHut, designed by Marike Uys as part of a design competition run by city council’s enliven places programme in 2016, has recently been given a makeover and installed in the garden.

“When SmileDial – and the many people and companies who helped – created the sensory garden it was always meant to be a gift to the community and for the community to feel they are part of the garden,’’ said founder Kelly Dugan.

“Additions such as the tiny hut provide the community with a sense of ownership. It is theirs and they can help it grow and expand. Donations such as the tiny hut ensure the garden is ever changing and each time families come there will be something new and exciting,’’ Mr Dugan said.

The #MyBrightonHut was one of five tiny huts – each measuring 2m x 2m – that were installed in New Brighton over the 2016/17 summer to liven up the suburb’s public spaces.

They were so popular that the community voted for them to stay.

The Art-o-Mat and Shell Chapel are still in New Brighton and the city council gifted Te Wharau, the hut designed by Shirley Boys’ High student
Manaia Wilson-Moses, to his school last year.

#MyBrightonHut has been located in New Brighton mall since December 2016 as a temporary installation and it has been enjoyed by many people.

When it became time to undertake some maintenance and decide if the hut should stay for longer, Citycare property supervisor Doug Peek suggested the hut, once spruced up and given a fresh coat of paint, could become a fun addition to SmileDial’s sensory garden.

“I thought the hut, because it spins around a bit like a Rubik’s cube, could be fun for the kids,’’ Mr Peek said.

City council head of urban design, regeneration and heritage Carolyn Ingles is delighted the tiny huts are being put to good use in the community.

“They were initially designed as temporary attractions but the community have really taken them to heart,’’ Ms Ingles said.