Kia Kaha, Kia Ora | Be Active, Be Well

Play Streets

What are Play Streets?

Play Streets are all about providing a safe environment for children and parents to be active in their neighbourhood through play and engaging socially with their neighbours. They are small, resident-led, local events, held on quiet neighbourhood streets during daylight hours. Temporary vehicle restrictions make it easier for residents to organise their own play street events compared with larger scale events.

Play Streets have become really popular in Australia, the United States and United Kingdom. Sport NZ and Waka Kotahi have been working closely together, alongside councils, Regional Sports Trusts and other partner organisations, to make it easier for Play Streets to happen in Aotearoa.

Five reasons to support street Play Streets in Aotearoa 

We know that play is important for development in children and Play Streets are just one of many ways to promote play across Aotearoa.  

Play Streets provide a range of benefits to those taking part, whether you’re a parent or caregiver, neighbour or child. The positives go much further than fitness and fresh air.  

1. Play Streets evoke our creative side – getting us to reimagine how we use our streets during these events and how we can realise more play opportunities in our natural environment and everyday lives. 

2. The right to play – It’s every child’s right to play and enjoy the outdoors, which helps with their development. Street play gives children a space to be independent and explore their own ideas without direction from adults.   

3. An opportunity to connect with our community – Street play provides a perfect opportunity to get to know our neighbours, build trust and have a sense of connection through whakawhanaungatanga. 

4. An active New Zealand – Play Streets create a safe environment for children to play, make friends, learn new skills and explore. It’s not often we can turn a suburban street into a free-play area for a day that provides a great opportunity for kids to connect with their local areas. 

5. Supporting wellbeing – Play Streets are all about connection, getting moving, enjoying the environment and having fun – all elements that have a huge impact on our physical, social and mental wellbeing for both children and adults.    

Your street could be the next Play Street! For more information, contact you local council or Play Lead 

What are Play Streets ?

Play Street Guidelines

Waka Kotahi has produced Play Street Guidelines to help councils plan Play Street events with local residents by providing guidance around traffic management and safety.

Case Studies


Sport Hawke’s Bay and the Central Hawke’s Bay District Council have been working together to create healthier and stronger communities by creating safe and accessible residential play areas for kids to be active, to learn, and for neighbours to come together. Following a social media campaign to find local ‘street champions’, Sally from Francis Drake Street was found, and it was agreed this particular street would be ideal for the first PlaySteets Central Hawke’s Bay pilot.

Play Streets are short, resident-led road closures for neighbours to play safely and freely outside their own front door. The focus is on encouraging play and physical activity by temporarily opening the street for play and closing it to cars. They are small, local events on quiet, low risk streets and the process to close the street for this type of event should ideally be simpler than the process for closing a high-volume, high-risk street for a large-scale event.

In a team effort, Sally engaged with Sport Hawke’s Bay and Central Hawke’s Bay District Council to go through the revised street closure process, complete the application form and submit it to the traffic management team at Council for their approval and sign-off and on Sunday 23rd May, the street was turned into a safe area to play for 21 children and their whānau.


On Sunday 12th March 2023 around 25 children  and their whānau from Lumsden Place, enjoyed a playful and fun afternoon and leading the way in their personal Cyclone Gabrielle recovery journey as the first hosts of a Play Street session in Hastings. Play Streets are short, resident-let road closures for neighbours to play safely and freely outside their own front door. The focus is on encouraging play and physical activity by temporarily opening up the street for play and restricting access to cars. 

The session was a deemed a huge success by all as residents moved and played freely in the cul-de-sac.  The Hastings District Council Te Waka Tākaro was parked in a shady spot with it’s large blue foam building blocks a highlight for many of the children and parents alike.  Other activity highlights included chalk drawing, throwing games, scootering, skating and biking with children happily sharing and taking turns. One family even wheeled out their portable basketball hoop into the middle of the street for everyone to ‘shoot hoops’. 

The Lumsden Place Play Street is part of a region-wide approach by all four Councils to enable more opportunities for whānau to connect and strengthen relationships, and be active in their communities comfortably, confidently and safely. With the ultimate goal of developing a consistent regional framework to ensure resident-led Play Streets are easy and accessible for all. 

Grant Place Gets Out to Play

Local residents of a Napier community got in behind a new initiative that saw a local cul-de-sac closed and allowed for the neighbourhood to get out and play safely and freely outside their own front door.

With thanks to support from Waka Kotahi and Napier City Council, this close knit community were able to deliver the first ever 'PlayStreets' in Hawke's Bay


For any questions regarding PLAY please contact:

Tina Haslett I Spaces and Places Lead:

Pia Bradshaw | Play Lead |


Central Hawkes Bay District Council

Play Street information for Central Hawkes Bay District Council

Hastings District Council

Play Street information and application form for Hastings District Council