This initiative is the brainchild of the “Red Zone Action Team” a group of Banks Ave Primary School children who have been working away on the project for over a year with the support of facilitators from Avon Ōtākaro Network. It is located in the red zone off Medway Street and Woodchester Avenue.
The children have led the project from the very beginning, they spent a great deal of time coming up with the concept, refining it, engaging with local neighbours to get the location right for everyone and then planning it to the point of staging the work so that it can be developed over time.
They have presented their ideas, including a scale model that they built themsleves, to senior representatives of Regenerate Christchurch, LINZ (Land Information NZ who manage the red zone lands on behalf of the Crown), and Council culminating in a presentation to full Council in the Council Chambers in December 2019.
A 3-year lease was granted by LINZ early this year and work started on two of three bike tracks on 29 February, when 150 students from the Student Volunteer Army barrowed 10 truckloads of shingle to create the tracks with banked corners and bumps and jumps. Unfortunately, we will have to await the lifting of the lockdown before the remainder of the work on the tracks can be completed.
Like many schools in the east many of the children at Banks Ave experience post traumatic stress disorder (over 70% clinical diagnosis), however becoming engaged in projects like Adventure Ave provides opportunity to turn things around. Turning a place which was a place of trauma and angst into a place of healing and wellbeing.
The team have been visited by Harko Brown the authority on Maori play and play 'equipment' and Dr Jane Goodall.
“It has been pretty awesome being involved in the Adventure Ave project just because I get to have a say in what goes into the area, to put in something that kids would want.” Cullum, 10
“We can get together and join our ideas together. I’ve learnt that you can’t do things just by yourself, like if it is really big you have to have teamwork and it is better with teamwork.” Desiree, 9
“What I have learnt is that it takes work and courage and mental ability to think and create masterpieces. It makes me feel very special; that me and other kids with potential can make something so amazing. Adults don’t always think we can –we can! Adults often only listen to other adults; they should also listen to kids! It has been very beautiful, majestic and powerful.” Keegan, 10
The Children’s Support Team at Avon Ōtākaro Network (AvON) are also working with a similar group of children at Whitau School (formerly Linwood North Primary) on a project for their red zone.
“These projects are the most inspiring and rewarding of any that we have supported to date” says Evan Smith, AvON spokesperson.
“Very soon there will be plenty of opportunity for people in the community to become involved volunteering their services in the creation of these projects - with the kids being our project managers!”
A detailed history of the project in 2019 can be found here.