Post image for The Lighthouse Slide

I love surprises. The Frank Kitts Playground on the waterfront in Wellington gave me a brilliant one. I was walking along, minding my own business, when out of nowhere rose this wonderful play structure.

If you look carefully you can see the albatross weather vane adorning the top. The cartoonish spikes and spots upon which it sits seem to be there purely to cause speculation and wonder. What is less obvious is that every post going up the stairs and around the first floor platform have these beautiful silver shells which further reference Wellington’s maritime heritage…

Frank Kitts Playground 5

There are several exits and entry points to the first level. Aside from stairs, there’s a small slide and two poles. I always think it’s a good sign when children are climbing up slides. I also saw a parent do the same on the big slide!

Frank Kitts Playground 6

The second level is a caged affair. Whilst there’s no flashing lighthouse light, there is a fantastic view of the waterfront.

Frank Kitts Playground 2

Both slides are constructed from what feels like fibreglass but I could be mistaken.

Frank Kitts Playground 4

Regardless, you can see that it is a much loved and well-played on slide.

Frank Kitts Playground 3

It’s been hard to find information online about who designed this feature and when. I think it would be great to know and to formally thank the designer and funders for creating fabulous example of how history, culture, art, innovative design and sheer fun can come together in one quirky play feature. We need this sort of approach to become commonplace.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Emma C April 17, 2015 at 21:07

Hi Juliet
The article above has some more info about the designer of Frank Kitts park 🙂

Was very inspiring to meet you on Thursday, hope you had a lovely brief trip to Wellington!


Juliet Robertson April 19, 2015 at 10:56

Hello Emma

Thanks so much for the link – interesting that it was Mark Pennington who is so well known as an NZ designer. I did have a lovely albeit brief time in Wellington. I visited the Botanic Gardens after the course.

Best wishes


Karen McAuley April 18, 2015 at 09:13

I was at a workshop in Newcastle, Australia, a few weeks back. You were asked to speak to us only half a day before, and you were inspirational!
I am proud to say my children and I have played on the Lighthouse slide many a time. I moved from Wellington only a year ago and am loving working with children in Newcastle. Today (Saturday) my work colleagues and I spent a good portion of our day landscaping our 5 month old Centre’s Toddler area with river rocks, tyres, pallets, seeds and plants. With the support of parents we finally created a music centre from old pots etc. The ideas and fun shared today is priceless. For a few hours ‘hard yakka’ we are a tighter, lighter team.
Thankyou for sharing your enthusiasm and wisdom.
Winter is coming and the days are cooling down.
Let the outdoor fun begin!
Karen McAuley


Juliet Robertson April 19, 2015 at 03:33

Hello Karen

Thanks so much for your comment – it sounds like you have been doing some good improvements to your centre’s outdoors space and I hope the children enjoy their revamped area. Thanks for your comments about the lighthouse slide – a complete gem of a play feature on the wareroom. Long live outdoor play – everywhere!


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