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Parks Week hit by vandals on day one

Monday, March 7 2022

At least nine storyboards in the Botanical Gardens have been vandalised over the weekend after being up for just one day.

The Hīkoi Kōrero Story Walk was put up to celebrate Parks Week 2022 which runs nationally from March 5-13.

Parks Week encourages people to visit their parks and open spaces for physical health as well as mental wellbeing.

The signs were dotted along one of the paths at the Botanical Gardens to make it accessible for everyone to enjoy.

They told the children’s story Taniwha, written and illustrated by Robyn Kahukiwa – New Zealand artist and award-winning children’s book author – with te reo on the storyboards translated by the late Keri Kaa.

Council cultural activities manager Pene Walsh says they hope to have the boards back up in the next couple of days.

“In the meantime, there is live storytelling for little ones at the Botanical Gardens which is still happening. This is on from tomorrow (Tuesday) until Friday from 10.30 to 11am. We’ll carry on with that, weather permitting, and we’ll work hard to put the storyboards back up to keep celebrating Parks Week in our community.”

Council liveable communities acting director De-Arne Sutherland says the Story Walk was to bring a bit of fun and joy for our community during Parks Week.

“Council’s library and parks team worked hard to pull this all together,” said Ms Sutherland. “It’s incredibly frustrating to see these senseless acts from a few ruining what was meant to be a fun family experience for our community.

“Our community wants nice things, but time and time again our assets are vandalised or destroyed. If anyone knows anything we would be very keen to hear from you.”

HB Williams Library introduced the storyboards to Gisborne last October, when the first Hīkoi Kōrero StoryWalk® went up along the banks of the Taruheru River as part of Te Tairāwhiti Arts Festival.

Ms Walsh said at the time the Hīkoi Kōrero took the joy of reading and literacy, and combined it with nature, bringing it to the people.

“We hope this is the first of many storyboards that will pop up in parks for whānau to read and enjoy the pictures as they stroll. This activity is part of what we are trying to develop here – a library without walls.

“We’re taking the activities out to the people, doing more things online and that means we are reducing barriers for people to access library resources.”

Storywalk ® is an idea that originated in America as a fun way for children – and adults – to enjoy reading and the outdoors at the same time.

Botanical Gardens