FOR the past few months, part of Invercargill’s Esk St has been a demolition site.
Last weekend, hundreds of community members brought it back to life.
From face painting to bouncy castles, heritage displays and a street-sized mini golf course, Southlanders made their way to the CBD for the two-day event, Kids in the City.
Invercargill City Council (ICC) city centre co-ordinator Shru Shrivastava said the decision was made to host the inaugural event after the annual ILT Kidzone festival was cancelled due to Covid-19.
“It’s a great way to keep the city vibrant [during the redevelopment], support local businesses and bring people into the city,” she said.
The initiative was a joint venture between ICC, Great South, Healthy Families, Invercargill Central Ltd and ILT.
New Zealand Heritage Properties Ltd archaeologist Naomi Woods, of Dunedin, was on site with a display of artefacts, which had been discovered during the demolition of the Esk St block.
Artefacts included a Rockingham saucer, clay soda bottles and luxury items from what was believed to be an 1860s rubbish pit, she said.
“It gives people a chance to interact with what’s been found.
“Being able to see it fresh out of the ground is quite unique… it’s not worth just being stored away just yet.”
Nicola Boutcher, of Invercargill, took her children, Quade and Tia, to Saturday’s festivities for “a bit of fun”.
“The council does a pretty good job of organising these events but we’re always keen for more.”
It was great to be able to “come and see the progress” of the CBD redevelopment, Mrs Boutcher said.
“I think it’s really exciting for Invercargill,” she said.
Gore father Sam Duthie also brought his daughter Emma (5) along after attending ILT Kidzone last year.
“We’re having a bit of a holiday here and we’re just lucky it happened to be on the same day.
“It’s a great day for the family and it’s a good idea to have a replacement [after Kidzone was cancelled].”