350 residents from McLaren Park and Henderson South turned up on Saturday 13 November to run, walk, scoot, skate, push chair, or ride on bikes around different routes of undiscovered treasures within their neighbourhood. The team that visited the most stations won a full day bus trip to see some of the amazing sights and places of in the Waitakere Ranges, including a ride on the Waitakere Dam Train!
The 'Our Amazing Place Community Treasure Hunt', based on a 2009 idea from Point Chevalier, was a collaborative effort between McLaren Park Henderson and South Community Initiative, Violence Free Waitakere and Community Waitakere, to create a fantastic event for the whole family to have free fun with the community, in the community.
The organisers' aim was to invite residents to find the treasures in their community, be they people or places or services and to cultivate a greater sense of community identity and belonging within their neighbourhoods. Participants could choose from 26 routes around the community, including places such as the Japanese Garden and the Millbrook Garden.
“It is very exciting to feel the new connections with businesses and service agencies come alongside the network of Street Champs we have been developing over the past year” says Rebecca Koteka-George of McLaren Park and Henderson South Community Initiative (MPHS).
The treasure hunt kicked off at 10am in the front yard of Bruce McLaren Intermediate School and concluded with a picnic at 1:00, where participants could celebrate together, play games, listen to music, and either eat their own picnics or purchase food from local fundraisers.
A 'wishing tree' was provided, and residents could tie their wishes for themselves and their neighbourhood to the tree. Wishes ranged from 'world peace' to the touching 'I wish I had a mum', but there was a definite theme of residents wishing for a clean, safe environment where their kids can play and where they can get to meet the neighbours!
The organizers were hoping that the Treasure Hunt would be another step towards building a strong, connected community where all members feel safe and where everyone looks forward to the future. It looks like they got their wish.