Silverdale getting serious about Lego

Lego brought people in to chat about Silverdale’s needs.

Playing with Lego can be a serious business – the makers of the plastic brick system have a kit specially designed for use in team workshops.

A series of these Lego-based workshops has been held in Silverdale aimed at bringing the community together.

Auckland Council paid Serious Play Works $20,000 to facilitate the project, which began in February.

Eight sessions were held with groups including Silverdale Centre, Silverdale Hall and market, Silverdale School, the Men’s Shed and the community marae, Te Herenga Waka o Orewa.

One local who took part in the Silverdale Hall workshop, Lorraine Sampson, says it was constructive, well run and useful. “We talked about local issues, and pairs made Lego together, then each group talked about what they had made,” Lorraine says. “Connectivity was discussed.”

Serious Play Works owner Mike Phillips says he was brought in because it was easier for people to talk to someone independent of Council.

Mike spoke with residents, students and businesses all over Silverdale, and says he only used the Lego around 50 percent of the time – including several sessions at Silverdale School.

“Sometimes people preferred just to have a cup of tea and a chat,” he says.

Among his findings were that the area is quite segmented and that businesses, in particular, want a more cohesive identity.

“There is a lot of pride in the area but Silverdale has perhaps been a bit overlooked, while an area like Orewa has grown more cohesively because it is part of a Business Improvement District. People love living in Silverdale and want to see some positive changes,” Mike says.

He says Auckland Council will take the process forward from here, and that could include a community project.

Council’s community empowerment manager Christine Olsen says one aim was to build connections between the old and new Silverdale communities, and that the use of the Lego Serious Play focuses on enhancing innovation and business performance.

“We are now working towards creating an event that brings the community back together to share the outcomes of the Lego Serious Play sessions,” she says. “It is a fantastic opportunity for the community to shape their identity.”

Anyone interested in attending future meetings or joining the project can email

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