A toddler in sunglasses watering a brightly coloured flower bed

An experience for all the senses, created with the community and for everyone is taking shape at the entrance to the Rolleston Town Centre.

The sensory experience, designed to cater for people’s different neurological and physical needs, will be built by Armitage Williams and is intended to be open by the end of the year, around the same time as Te Ara Ātea.

Surrounded by raised gardens and trees, the experience will be a highly accessible space with a treat for all the senses, from a quiet space, to areas with bursts of colour, musical instruments, different tactile experiences, smells and even tastes from edible plants, Council Landscape Architect Dylan Robinson says.

“Everything has been thought about to stimulate a range of senses—scented flowers, colours in planting and pathways, the tactile experience of the ground and walls, to where you might situate different plants, like planting scented and textured plants next to where you can sit and rub your hands through them”

Waitaha School students and staff have been heavily involved, providing ideas and inspiration for the design and the students will decorate tiles for an artwork in the quiet space.

Ten Selwyn schools will decorate art poles and Springston mosaic artists Macs Mosaics will be mosaicking a large ball that will double as a water feature which people will be able to operate through a ground-level button.

The decorated ball will sit at the entrance to a tactile area with a circular pathway featuring a boardwalk with musical bells, a section patterned with river stones and one of recycled pavers creating a fun cobbled effect.

There will also be a communal area with a large table near the entrance from the northern carpark. A central pathway crossing the experience and linking it with the accessible car parking and Te Ara Ātea will include an A-frame arbour at one end that can hold patterned and coloured panels or hanging artwork.

A tactile wall is planned for the future, and the space is designed to be able to incorporate future ideas.

Last modified: 23 Mar 2021 11:12am