Tag Archives: Children

Hamilton playgrounds: Power Rankings

Playgrounds are a little like bars. They all essentially perform the same function but their design and overall appeal can vary markedly.

Here in Hamilton we have just about as many playgrounds as we do bars (still no bar/playground combo, yet)  but are they all the same?

We sent out Hamilton mother-of-three Angela Cuming into the wilds to compile the definitive Tron Playground Power Rankings for the winter of 2017.   


# 1 Steele Park

Corner of Cooke and Grey streets, Hamilton East.


The Steel Park playground only opened in June but it’s already top of the Power Rankings because it’s just so darn wonderful.

It’s got a real community feel and a good mix of equipment, including those annoyed in-ground trampolines that kids love and parents desperately try and avoid falling into.

What makes this one so great, however, is that unlike a lot of other playgrounds it is actually near shops and cafes and stuff, and that means it is near COFFEE.

Yay: Being next door to Duck Island Ice Cream.

Boo: Being next door to Duck Island Ice Cream (try waiting until your kids are on one of those trampolines and sneak away).


# 2 Claudelands Park

Boundary Road, Claudelands.



This is not a very fashionable or trendy playground and that’s why I love it so much because you are always guaranteed a good mix of parents who don’t want to parent that day and are happy sitting on one of the benches and letting their kids go nuts running around.

It’s a good place for a bit of hands-off parenting because it’s basically in the middle of a big field and your kids can’t run off anywhere or get up to mischief.

It’s actually three-playgrounds-in-one, with separate areas and equipment for babies and toddlers, primary school aged kids and bigger kids (and grown ups). There’s a flying fox and undercover tables and benches if you fancy bringing a picnic lunch, and it’s handily located right next to Jubilee Park if you want to combine a walk through some stunning native bush while you are there.

Yay: There’s a flying fox and you can watch grown men and women relive their childhood in varying degrees of success.

Boo: The genius who designed it decided to landscape the garden beds with millions of tiny little gravelly rocks. Expect at least one of your children to eat some of it.



#3 Potter Children’s Garden, Parana Park

Memorial Drive, Hamilton East.


Small but perfectly formed, this park is like a Victorian fairy tale come to life, with bird aviaries, giant statues and sculptures for children to play with, gorgeous gardens and a front row seat of the Waikato River. There’s not a lot of traditional playground fare like swings and slides, but trust me you kids won’t mind.

Yay : The fountains and shallow ponds your kids can play in.

Boo: The fountains and shallow ponds the ducks like to play (and toilet) in.


#4 Hamilton Gardens

Hungerford Crescent, Hamilton.


If I could have designed a playground when I was seven years old this would have been it. It’s whimsical and wonderful with a giant stage, caterpillar statues, decorative bird houses and a wonderful giant worm to slide down.

There’s also an amazing tree house that only big kids can climb up into, giving parents a much-needed break from bored teens asking to be dropped off at McDonald’s while the little kids play.

Yay: You can bribe kids into leaving early by promising them an ice cream from the nearby Hamilton Gardens cafe (also sells coffee).

Boo: It is smack bang next to a car park so you have to be on red alert for wandering toddlers.


#5 Minogue Park

Tui Avenue, Forest Lake, Hamilton.


First up, do not rely on your GPS to find this park because you will quickly enter Dante’s little know seventh circle of Hell: a tired and bored toddler in the back seat repeatedly asking where mummy is driving to.

But once you do find it this playground is pretty special, with a  mix of old school stuff like roundabouts and swings and cool new stuff like those great/annoying mini trampolines. There is also lots and lots of sand, plus this great big wooden structure that funnels water along a series of channels. It’s got a bike track that runs around the perimeter of the playground so a good option for older kids.

Yay: Because it’s a bit out of the way it doesn’t get as crowded as other playgrounds.

Boo: The bike track means you are constantly freaking out that a kid on a BMX is going to knock your toddler over.


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Can You Believe It’s Autumn in Hamilton?!

Autumn in Hamilton is a beautiful time of year. Leaves in violent hues of reds and yellows are blown around on days like today. And while the people of Hamilton bundle up and prepare for the winter ahead, the city never stops.

Whether it’s great food shared with friends, international musical and sporting superstars arriving on our banks, or snap-happy Hamiltonians taking photos of their favourite icons -Hamilton is alive and kicking.

This is your latest #lovethetron roundup!

Autumnal stunner: we love days like this too, @ns510x!

Agree, @waikato!

British Deputy High Commissioner @reilly_ya snaps this eye-catching memorial to the 204 Waikato soldiers who fell in WW1

@ThievingBandito snaps the iconic HamiltON balloon flying high.

Have you tried the new menu at @G00d_Neighbour yet? We can’t wait!



The night markets on a blustery Saturday night. @ns510x is all about the comfort foods!


The perfect homemade #lovethetron breakfast always includes @VolareBread, right @richtalexander?


Hamilton’s masked foodie @HamFoodBlog dives into Japanese at Waraku on Victoria Street

We’re with @kyleebeee on this one: @WhittakersNZ + @ZealongTea is genius. Possibly our two favourite food groups, ever.

And on the topic of chocolate and tea: a girl after our own heart. This is how @chamfy does a night in with @hornykitten. Bless.

Guess who’s coming to Garden Place soon?!!!! We can’t wait either, @webtaniwha!

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: either @justlyrica and @hipecon have shrunk overnight, or kids under 20 just aren’t as small as they used to be anymore…heeh @fifau20


The chicest barber in town is now in the hippest building in town! Check out Fox Kennedy Barbers, now in the revamped Riverbank Mall. You may even run into man-about-town @webtaniwha, if you’re lucky!


@NZVic heads to RoughCut at everyone’s favourite Black Box theatre @MeteorNZ


@LeonTakesShots of New Zealand’s prettiest shopping mall at night.

We’ve been blogging for nearly three years, and we still love a good bridge shot. Classic Hamilton. Eat your heart out Harbour Bridge. Love this from @AdamCrouchley.

At 5.45am, @chamfy sits perched on the highest balcony in Hamilton watching the city come to life. Wow!


@megancampbellnz gets in early on the @fifau20 action at Waikato Stadium!

@timmacindoe cheers on Pasifika by Nature headliners, Fraser High School. Love it!


Check out this cool crew from @QuotientApp representing the Tron at #Xerocon: @Rocketspark @exsalerate

@ricky_martin popped by Hamilton and @BSMPhotography was on hand for a good bon bon shaking! 😉

Last day of school! @NZVic and the mini-Annisons head to everyone’s favourite Hamilton Happy Place.

*Melts* We love you baby red pandas from @Hamilton_Zoo!

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Can You Believe It’s the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival?

We’ve been following the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival over the past week. From stunning fireworks to amazing talent, to one of the most beautiful venues in New Zealand, the HGAF has outdone itself this year. We’ve turned up in person to soak up the atmosphere, and we’ve followed the action on Twitter. We’re so in love with it all that we’ve dedicated our latest #lovethetron roundup to the #HGAF.

Keep following the action on the hashtags, and the official Twitter: @HGAFestival.

Oh, and for those of you die-hard Ska fans, check out this gallery of the Melbourne Ska Orchestra live at the artsfest from @kiwicanary.


Hamilton Gardens Arts kicks off with a bang. In real life: @flibertygibbety’s other half outdoes every other guy on Valentine’s Day. Heeh.

The Festival kicks off with a symphony under (shooting) stars (fireworks). Beautiful, from @webtaniwha.

@waikatotimes gives us sneak previews in the lead-up to the the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival with these guys and their ah-mazing body art.

Hula and hoopla from Campground Chaos, from @flibertygibbety.

Campground Chaos continues with an airborne picnic table! Another amazing shot from @flibertygibbety.

@webtaniwha enjoys opera under the stars at the Medici Garden’s outdoor amphitheater.

@MediachickNZ has tea with the Hatter.

@MediachickNZ has tea with the Hatter.

@NZVic is left speechess after @MelbSkaOrchestr. And check out that full moon!

@BSMphotography snaps a rare moment of quietness at the Italian Renaissance Garden.

Meanwhile, @flibertygibbet checks out movies in Roger’s Rose Garden

Too cute. @webtaniwha spots these budding #HGAF performers at the Farmers Markets on Sunday morning.

From budding performers to the real deal at @HGAFestival: the amazing (and Aria-nominated) Bustamento.

Every day is an artsfest at the Tudor Garden, with Nick Bottom hanging about. Another amazing shot from @BSMphotography.

From one Shakespearean character to a troupe: these guys bring the Bard’s work to life on stage. From @flibertygibbety.

Hamilton’s all lit up for @pauline_sinel at the artsfest.

Jazz under trees: @HGAFestival shows us how summer is really done.

Kooky installation on Turtle Lake, from @HGAFestival.

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Can You Believe It’s Hamilton?!

It’s our latest #lovethetron roundup!

A Midsummer Night’s Snow at Parachute! Beautiful, from @NZVic.

Winefest: @flibertygibbety heads to Mystery Creek for the Vineyard Tour on a beautiful Friday night.

It’s a Hamilton safari for @chamfy, hanging out with white rhinos at Hamilton Zoo!

@ZooWildMan's red panda friends are making us die of cuteness!

@ZooWildMan’s red panda friends are making us die of cuteness!

Fiji Baby? Or the next best thing: @kyleeBeee heads to the new Tropical Garden at Hamilton Gardens.

The Hanging Gardens of Hamilton. @teradar and @staceyolivernz are certainly impressed!

The Hanging Gardens of Hamilton. @teradar and @staceyolivernz are certainly impressed with the new Tropical Garden!

Every evening, at sunset, Hamilton magically transforms into a tropical paradise. But shh, it's our little secret, right @tarasutherland? ;)

Every evening, at sunset, Hamilton magically transforms into a tropical paradise. But shh, it’s our little secret, right @tarasutherland? 😉

Mazes and Dragons: @DarkroomJesse hangs out at the newly-opened Tudor Gardens.

We love that there are so many new gardens opening at the Hamilton Gardens. @DarkroomJesse hangs out at the newly-opened Tudor Gardens.

It’s a beautiful Hamilton summer for cricket, right @WWright360? We’re betting @blackcaps would agree!

Clash of the Warriors: The amazing summer of sport in Hamilton continues as @WiganWarriorsRL take on @NZWarriors at Waikato Stadium. This from @its_carene.

@tarasutherland gets into the league spirit at Waikato Stadium!

@tarasutherland gets into the league spirit at Waikato Stadium!

@amj_nz snaps the Bridge St Bridge illuminated at night.

We love #chamfyfoodporn from @chamfy, especially when it’s from Banh Mi Cafe, and when it comes with festive Chinese New Year pouches!

Croquettes and crockery: more deliciousness from @chamfy at the new Chim-Choo-Ree.

Noms! @its_carene has our tastebuds envious with pizza and cider at @HouseonHood!

Noms! @its_carene has our tastebuds envious with pizza and cider at @HouseonHood!

Look who dropped into Artspost to help rebuild Christchurch! Head on over and check out this and more new works.

Here's an old friend we haven't seen in a while. It's Captain Hamiltron, courtesy of the incredibly talented @JMiddleton_imgs.

Here’s an old friend we haven’t seen in a while. It’s Captain Hamiltron, courtesy of the incredibly talented @JMiddleton_imgs.

Dragons herald in the lunar new year, and @HamiltonWaikato was there to soak up the atmosphere!

Chinese New Years Revelling: @timmacindoe welcomes the Year of the Horse at Garden Place

The best thing about wandering past @centre_place on summer evenings is the wafting scent of jasmines. Love!

@puketotara celebrates World Wetlands Day at beautiful Waiwhakareke.

It's a beautiful #smalltownfest for @JessVandy at Raglan

It’s a beautiful #smalltownfest for @JessVandy at Raglan

Spotted by @AnnaJaneWilkins : an all-natural swimming spot tucked away in the Tron. Too pretty!

@WriteOnNZ goes for a wander around Hamilton's Lake Rotoroa and spots some quirky #HamiltonHousePorn

@WriteOnNZ goes for a wander around Hamilton’s Lake Rotoroa and spots some quirky #HamiltonHousePorn

...and on the topic of quirky architectural features, @jessvandy spots wall art by Shida & Eno on Waitangi Day

…and on the topic of quirky architectural features, @jessvandy spots wall art by Shida & Eno on Waitangi Day

More #smalltownfest fun with @hello_im_megan at Te Pahu.

More #smalltownfest fun with @hello_im_megan at Te Pahu.

Best friends: @tarasutherland snaps an intimate moment between man and pitbull

Best friends: @tarasutherland snaps an intimate moment between man and pitbull

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Green Eggs and Hamilton

Unlike most kids growing up in the 80s and 90s (or even the 60s through to eternity, for that matter) I was not brought up on a steady diet of Dr Seuss books. So different was my diet -both in the culinary and literary senses -that a mention of Green Eggs and Ham would have conjured up not affable, whimsical creatures with fur in funny places, but rather a repository of unrelated associations including black, gelatinous ‘hundred-year old’ eggs, early Marxism and truly awful spam. So it is safe to say that I certain would not have liked the sound of green eggs and ham (certainly not, Sam-I-Am!).

However, fast forward several decades, and much to my surprise and amusement, I have found that the good doctor has well and truly lodged himself in both my stomach and my vernacular. These days, I find myself saying ‘green eggs and ham, please’ at cafes around town with such regularity that I wonder whether I might one day find myself at the fish stand at the Hamilton Farmers Markets trying to decide between three fish and blue fish.

Scott’s Epicurean

Green Eggs and Ham has been a fixture on the breakfast menu at Scott’s Epicurean for as far back as I can remember. Considering the ever-changing nature of their eclectic offerings, I have always thought that the ability for this one dish to hold fast on the menu to be a testament to the strength of its character. Perhaps like the little dish that could.

I ordered the Green Eggs and Ham the very first time I tried out Scott’s. I guess you always do go for the known over the unknown (even if you, like me, had only ever really heard a handful of references to the thing in question), and in an amongst the melange of exotic-sounding, tongue-twisty breakfast options, ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ was a shining beacon of familiarity.

Since that first time three years ago, I have been a firm fan. I have, of course, deviated at times to try almost everything else, like the aglio olio (stunning and also green!), the delicious Pad Thai, and the bubble and squeak (great for a hangover). I confess to loving the healthy breakfast with the salmon gravlax, and the simple poached eggs on toast is always a winner. Green Eggs and Ham, however is special. The ‘green’ eggs, creamy and scrambled, are flecked with specks of parsley (for the green, of course) and the bacon that comes on the side (the ‘ham’) is cooked to crisp perfection.

With its century-old premises (a prominent jeweler’s in another lifetime), replete with high, ornate ceilings and impeccable service, it is not hard to see how Scott’s would be high on Hamilton’s list of must-eats in the CBD. And the first thing I would recommend to all first-timers at Scott’s? The Green Eggs and Ham, of course.

Momento Espresso

A block or so down from Scott’s, on the corner of Hood and Victoria streets sits the flagship cafe of the Momento empire. Rumour has it that this was the original site of the legendary Paul’s Book Arcade before it moved to what is now Metropolis Caffe (a Hamiltonian icon in its own right). I have yet to verify whether this is fact or fiction (heh, pun not intended), but the matching checkered floors at both establishments may possibly offer a clue.

Despite my obviously slick sleuthing skills, I have to confess I am not entirely sure when Green Eggs first appeared on the menu at Momento, despite the fact that I have hung out there for countless coffees, the occasional wine, and many cheeky conversations with Dan the barista (before the Great Reshuffle of 2013 which saw him defect to Milk and Honey to replace Liam who moved on to the new Chim-Choo-Ree).

Ever since coming across Green Eggs on the menu quite by chance, this has fast become a favourite Hamilton breakfast offering, particularly for the (very small) health nut in me. While the meal does not come with ‘ham’, the incorrigible carnivores amongst us can definitely order a side of bacon to go with it. The eggs come poached and white, while the ‘green’ is achieved by a coterie of viridescent seasonal vegetables like spinach, asparagus and courgette which are -in an unexpected twist -stir-fried, Asian-style. The star of the dish is without a doubt the generous helpings of soft, wholegrain bread which deliciously and expertly soaks up the egg yolk and vegetable juices. Heaven!

To be fair, I should not be too surprised that Green Eggs and Hamilton is such a natural combination. While I am totally late to the party on this, it seems that 17 years ago, in 1997, local student radio station ContactFM (@contactfmnz) released a compilation titled Green Eggs and Hamilton to celebrate their 21st birthday, which featured a whole selection of independent local music, including the likes of Rumpus Room and MSU (which, surprisingly I had heard of!).

So, Hamilton, thank you for getting me into Green Eggs and Ham. I guess it really is never too late for me to add to my childhood memories.

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Jesse O’Brien: ‘Being the Best Dad I Can Be’

Chapter 10 Hamilton Christmas Vignettes: The Musician and Superstar Dad

We know you as Hamilton’s Father of the Year, a passionate maker of music and a Twitter aficionado. How would you best describe what you do?

Well, I’ll clarify firstly that I’m not the Father of the Year… But I am extremely passionate about being a Dad. I grew up without a dad and determined a long time ago that I would be the best dad I could be! it just so happens that being a dad is not limited to just my biological children but also the foster children we take in. Any man can father a child, but it takes a Dad to raise one.

Music – Yeah, I make it. And I’m super passionate about making it. Music is extremely important in my life and got me through some pretty rough patches as a young teen.

Here’s a link to my brand new release if anyone’s interested: thedarkroomproject.bandcamp.com/releases

Twitter afficionado? I wouldn’t say that… But I would say ‘Social media addict’! Haha. I LOVE the connecting that is made possible through Twitter & Facebook and the likes

So what do I do? I live life LOUD, like full volume, finger in your ears loud.
Family, music, people, connection… That’s me!

What is your Hamilton citizenship status?

I was born and raised in Dunedin, an incredible city with awesome people.
At age 26 my, then little, family – my wife, oldest son & I – shifted to ‘Te Tron’ for work. This happened after we had visited while I was doing music for a conference in Hamilton.

We have been here for 10 years now and truly call Hamilton home. We have grown to love the city, it’s people and it’s uniqueness more every day. We are Waikato proud! #ChiefsMania #LoveTheTron

Where do you currently call home?

Te Tron, Hamiltron – City of the Future, Kirikiriroa… HAMILTON!!!

Will you be in Hamilton for Christmas?

No, my family and I will be in Tairua for Christmas this year. Why? Because my kids LOVE to see their grandparents at Christmas… And they’ve got a beach!!
I will be here for New Years though! Parrrrrtae!

In 10 years’ time, you will look on 2013 as the year that you…

Discovered ‘Love the Tron’!
Got me my first teenager (my oldest son turned 13!)
Found the balance – Family, passion, work, community.

Have you been naughty or nice this year?

Haha… Now that would be telling!
It probably depends who you ask. I am never too far from controversy thanks to my strong opinions and lack of filters, but on a whole I’m a lover not a fighter.
There is always mischief just waiting under the surface though… probably not naughty, but definitely cheeky!

What are you hoping Santa will bring you this year?

Honestly? I just want people to be happy and feel they belong and are loved this Christmas.
I guess that starts with my inner circle, but that hope goes far beyond that.

As a part of my job this year we have given some deserving families from our school bags of presents because we have known how hard their year has been and the challenges they’ve faced. The surprise & pure gratefulness on the faces of those families… covers it all!

That has already made my Christmas!

Hamilton’s best-kept Christmas secret is…

Love the Tron… I even looked into Love the Tron’s eyes once, possibly twice and still didn’t know it! But I like the mystery. I think it shows a great and genuine desire for the focus to really be Hamilton! (eds -yes we totally made eye contact that one time!)

Also, Foundation Bar at Te Awa The Base. I have played music there every Friday this year and it still amazes me how many people don’t know about the place! Great food, great (and local) drinks, average entertainment (haha – that’s me I’m talking about!), awesome vibe!


We love Jesse for his passion for the Tron and love for the #HamiltonMafia. Follow Jesse on Twitter @DarkroomJesse or do like us and seek him out in person on Friday nights at Foundation Bar at Te Awa! For more of his music, head over to the Darkroom Project, and read all about his passion for being a dad on the Waikato Times.

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Brandy Smith: ‘I’d move to Hamilton in a heartbeat if I could’

Chapter 7 Hamilton Christmas Vignettes: The Social Media Queen

We know you as Queen Bee of the Hamilton Twitterverse and a nationally acclaimed Social Media expert (with awards to boot!). How would you best describe what you do?

Haha where’s my crown?!! I honestly don’t deserve that title by a long shot but I love you for copious amounts if flattery, oh and for my awesome tank top! What I do… I’m Downer’s Stakeholder Manager for the Hamilton Ring Road project. I keep people informed. I also like to make them laugh…

What is your Hamilton citizenship status?

I’m Hamilton’s #1 fan who can’t live here because of a shared care arrangement with my son. I’m down at least twice a week every week and would move here in a heartbeat if I could.

Where do you currently call home?

The beautiful South Auckland *cough cough*

Will you be in Hamilton for Christmas?

I’ll be off camping with my son and friends. He is born the day before Xmas so double celebrations =)

In 10 years’ time, you will look on 2013 as the year that you…

Kicked ass! I found my niche in other words

Have you been naughty or nice this year?

I plead the Fifth!

What are you hoping Santa will bring you this year?

A winning lotto ticket!

Hamilton’s best-kept Christmas secret is…

Same as what Josh said…The identity of you guys!! #lovethetron (eds -naww, you guys!)


Brandy is the brains behind he award-winning Hamilton Ring Road and Queen of the Hamilton Twitterverse. Follow @HamiltonRingRd for the latest updates on the Ring Road project and quirky musings on Hamilton city. And keep up with her life and #HamiltonMafia adventures at @MissB_NZ.

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