Bayfair shopping centre launching quiet room

Source: Supplied.

Bayfair shopping centre is introducing a quiet room on Tuesday, launching a place for shoppers who are easily overwhelmed in bright and busy environments to recharge.

The room, which was developed with guidance from Autism NZ, can also be used by those who experience anxiety, have panic attacks, or who are temporarily feeling unwell and want to sit somewhere quiet and calm. 

“It is difficult for families affected by sensory processing and autism spectrum disorders to go to busy public spaces – in fear that they won’t be able to find somewhere suitable for their family and their needs,” Bayfair centre manager Steve Ellingford said. 

“The quiet room provides a safe haven and allows for them to continue their shopping, especially as we head into the busy shopping period.”

To gain access to the room, a user can register at the centre’s customer service desk and will be given a fob key.

According to Ellingford, the centre has been planning a quiet room for some time to help the more than 76,000 people who struggle with autism spectrum disorder in New Zealand. 


For many with this disorder, background music and bright lighting can make for an unsettling experience and can be overwhelming. Dane Dougan, Autism New Zealand chief executive, said the initiative showed understanding to the community. 

“We want all members of the community to be comfortable in that environment,” Dougan said. 

“It is something that we see as very important and will make a big difference in the experience. As an organisation we advocate strongly for understanding, and this is a great example of that.”

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