Walking and talking in Rangiora

Waimakariri mayor Dan Gordon, Puke the Pukeko and Waimakariri District Libraries community connections co-ordinator Anna Paterson celebrate the opening of a new story walk at Northbrook Reserve in Rangiora on Friday.  *one-time use only*

David Hill/LDR

Waimakariri mayor Dan Gordon, Puke the Pukeko and Waimakariri District Libraries community connections co-ordinator Anna Paterson celebrate the opening of a new story walk at Northbrook Reserve in Rangiora on Friday. *one-time use only*

Waimakariri residents are being encouraged to read stories while on the move.

A new ‘storywalk’ was launched at Northbrook Reserve in Rangiora on Friday and Waimakariri district libraries staff hope it will be the first of many.

Library staff joined forces with greenspace staff to create temporary storyboards, which have been strategically placed around the reserve walkway.

The idea came out of the Covid-19 lockdown as library staff explored new ways of connecting with people, Waimakariri District Libraries community connections co-ordinator Anna Paterson said.

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Storywalks have been created in other parts of New Zealand, including the Gore, Hastings, and Napier districts.

“We thought with Covid and people getting out and going for walks and enjoying their local parks, this was a good way of connecting with people.

“We want people to have a love for books and reading and this is a way of doing that when the library is closed. And not everybody wants to do it online.”

Each storyboard was like a different page, telling a story and linking to the local environment, Paterson said.

The story The Little Kiwi’s Matariki by Nikki Slade Robinson was chosen for the first storywalk to tie in with Matariki, with permission obtained from the author.

People can also learn about the birdlife and plants that are found in the Northbrook Reserve and about the history of site on the storyboards.

The temporary storywalk has been set up for a two-month trial and if it is successful library staff hope to be able to roll out permanent story walks at different parks around the district.

“It would be lovely to see this in every park in the Waimakariri,” Paterson said.

“If the boards are still in an OK condition at the end of the trial we may be able to take them to Kaiapoi and share them a little bit more.

“Temporary boards is a very affordable option at this point, but more permanent boards would require some funding from the council.”

Waimakariri mayor Dan Gordon said he would support expanding the initiative and looked forward to a funding proposal coming from council staff.

“It’s a great initiative from our greenspace and our libraries teams and with the timing of Matariki, it’s a lovely integration.

“It’s great for the kids to learn as they walk around the reserve and I’m learning too.”

Rangiora-Ashley Community Board chairperson Jim Gerard joined Gordon on a walk around the new story walk on Friday and said the board was “all behind the beautification of open spaces” in Rangiora.

The cost of creating, installing and later removal of the storyboards is around $1500 and is covered by existing greenspace and library budgets.

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