Inspiring Stories

Dream team.

Stories of people behind the Japanese Garden activation.

October 29, 2018 / Yana Papaya / 0 comments

Photography by Liesha Ward Knox, Brick Content

Before we are going to make a lot of noise about a new route and booking process, so you can join the Free Silent Disco Citywalk Henderson edition that is on the 10th November 2018, it’s high time to introduce you to the dream team who activated the Japanese Garden and transform the space into the interactive stress-free zone.

Fun Fact #99. Over a week our team made 150 hand-made origami cranes out of the used magazines as a part of the decoration of the Japanese Garden. On average it takes about 3-4 minutes to make a hand-hand origami crane. What an effort! Put your hands together to welcome an origami dream team!

Yana Papaya – Team Leader and Project Manager, describes herself as the Ocean, Adventure-Lover, Fifth Element


What did you like the most about the Placemaking week and our activation?

The Placemaking community is the highlight of the year for me. It was great to connect to more like-minded people who are not indifferent towards the life of the community and the city we live in. Auckland is like the ink spilled all over the paper. The role of placemakers is to turn the blot into the weaving pattern. Having an opportunity to introduce my friendly bunch to the placemaking world was especially pleasing.

I really like how organically our multi-sensory activation fit in the world of the Japanese Garden bringing so many diverse people to the Henderson area who had no idea about the place before.  It was also very special to witness how every element of the garden (even a Russian book about Hugge concept) found its beloved audience.

What do you remeber our team by?

The collaborative and creative spirit that each team member has. The amount of endorphins that got released during the meetings. I was definitely wearing the-get-sh*t-done attitude, but I loved how much high-quality fun we had just letting each other be. Working full-time and being able to deliver an ambitious community project with a smile on our faces is definitely a sign of a thriving team culture and community.


Piet Ubels – Practical Brain, Generous Soul, and Events Assistant, describes himself as active, virtuous, reformist.


What did you like the most about the Placemaking week and our activation? 

How the team came together to create something successful. It was good to see how cohesive it all worked out.

What would you remember our team by?

The amazing energy of the team. Yana really captured and facilitated the joyful spirit.


Tatsiana Paliakova – Dancer and Events Assistant, describes herself based on Three “U”: Unique, Unstoppable, Unassuming


What did you like the most about the Placemaking week and our activation?

People, people, people! Such a wonderful and creative bunch of human beings has got together (thanks Yana Papaya for that) to transform one of the areas of the Auckland City into something unique, enjoyable and peaceful for other people! How cool is that? Let’s make our City a better place together!

What would you remember our team by?

Our team is precious! The team of individuals, who are full of ideas, craziness, laughs, unexpected surprises, people who are happy to help anytime, who are responsible and ready for action! YAY!


Brendan McCarthy – Adventure-Lover & Events Assistant, describes himself as quirky, curious and easy-going.


What did you like the most about the Placemaking week and our activation?

I liked the idea of some quite simple ideas but put together with a lot of thoughtfulness and care really made the space come to life. The Origami itself is hours and hours of work now set free to fly about and brings a smile to anyone that walks into the area.

What would you remember our team by?

The Diversity of people brought together and the ability to laugh and have fun very easily.


Liesha Ward Knox – Actor and Photographer describes herself as hungry and curious.


What did you like the most about the Placemaking week and our activation?

The cupcakes are worth a mention. Generosity. The multitude of intriguing hearts and minds met along the way. Laughter. Reconnection. The endless possibilities. Imagining and then watching the space transform.

What would you remember our team by?

As a bunch of misfits who jigsawed together and created something, no one could do without the other.


Tanya Perova – Photographer, Space Designer, and Events Assistant, describes herself as curious, quiet and warrior.

What did you like the most about the Placemaking week and our activation?

I liked the opportunity to learn new things. I liked a process of creating something meaningful and beautiful from concept to setting it up, a company of great, talented, open-minded people. How all pieces magically getting together and make total sense 🙂

What would you remember our team by?

Paper cranes mastery 🙂

Brian Berneman –  Yogi, Healer, Sound and Movement Teacher, describes himself as a kind and magical spirit.


What did you like the most about the Placemaking week and our activation?

What I liked the most: Even though I wasn’t exactly sure what placemaking week was and what I was going to be doing, I jump into the chance of working together with Yana to create the stress-free zone in the Japanese garden in Henderson.

I love being part of a team and going through the process of creation with brainstorming sessions and later on refining to what is possible taking into account time and resources available.

It was a great experience being part of this team of different individuals with so many different creative talents. Being able to come together and make this happen to showcase the already existing space for the people that work around the area so that they can keep on using it as a space to pause, relax and re-connect.

What would you remember our team by?

I will remember the coming together to collaborate with the aim of making the world a better place. Also, some of the fun and craziness!!

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