Sunday, May 19, 2024

Kāpiti Coast builds on chatter that matters

Kāpiti Coast District Council has installed the district’s first Chatterbox seat in the western plaza of the new Paraparaumu Transport Hub.

The Council says ‘Chatterbox’ seats, installed in partnership with Coastlands Shopping Town, aim to normalise a culture of chat.

“They help connect communities and strengthen people’s mental health and wellbeing. People are encouraged to sit on the Chatterbox seat if they want to chat to someone, and anyone walking past is encouraged to join them for a chat,” Council said in a statement.

After hearing about the impact Chatterbox seats have been having in other districts, Coastlands Facilities Manager, Elicia Gold, reached out to Councillor Sophie Handford about bringing them to Kāpiti.

Councillor Handford says she was excited to support the initiative.

“The Chatterbox seat stands as more than just a piece of furniture. In a world often characterised by haste and isolation, it serves as a poignant reminder of our inherent need for connection.”

“It’s a testament to our collective desire to reach out, to be heard, and to be understood,” said Councillor Handford.

“It’s amazing how a seemingly casual chat can improve someone’s day or even their mindset. It can be very powerful if that person is feeling low or lonely. And it all starts with a simple “hello”.

“Casual chats spark connections which builds communties. I’ll definitely sit on the seat from time-to-time and relish having a chats with few people.”

Ms Gold says Coastlands are pleased to partner with Council to bring the Chatterbox seat to the town centre.

“Having a dedicated place where people can go for a chat, to be heard and to listen is a great concept. Helping people get an issue that’s been bothering them off their chest makes the Chatterbox chair a good addition to our town centre precinct,” she said.

The seat’s design includes a spacious bench area which was inspired by the idea of relaxing on a picnic blanket. Signage provides people with a number to call to talk to a trained counsellor if they need extra support. 

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