What is Play?

If we think back to our childhood, play is spontaneous, tamariki-led, fun, accessible, social, and freely chosen with no predetermined outcome. It is usually highly active with elements of challenge and risk that test boundaries in an imaginative way. Play allows tamariki the space to practice, learn, and develop the skills they need to be active for life. These include fundamental movement skills, self-directed creativity/innovation, social and emotional connections, resilience, independence, leadership, and informed risktaking.

Why is Play Important?​​​​​​

Play allows children to experience fun, joy and laughter in a way that is important to them. It’s also where they develop and practice life skills. 

The positive benefits of play include: 

  • being physically active in a fun way that develops fundamental movement skills 
  • encouraging self-directed creativity and innovation 
  • improving social and emotional connection 
  • improving a young person’s understanding of their relationship with the physical environment 
  • improving resilience, independence and leadership by determining their own outcomes 
  • aiding better decision-making based around elements of challenge and risk. ​​​​​​​

Read more about the importance of PLAY here.

Our Play Champions

Pauline Butt 

Play Systems Advisor

Pauline has a passion for making a difference in this community and ensuring that tamariki have quality play, active recreation, and sport experiences. She has a strong background in all things 'play' and is excited to take on this new role looking at systems that can be interrupted and changed to allow for more play opportunities in our schools and communities. The value of play cannot be underestimated when looking at wellbeing and our sense of belonging. Email

Greg Gurau

Magic Play Box Coordinator

​​​​​​​Greg coordinates the operations of the Magic Play Box Social Enterprise. ​​​​​​​His previous role involved promoting and supporting the development of rich play environments in primary schools. He has a bachelor's degree in Coaching and Exercise Science, with an interest in long term athlete development. This was the start of his passion for play and the role play has in the development of children through to their adulthood. Email