$2.8m granted for new Hawera Culture and Arts Centre

Te Ramanui o Ruapūtahanga, South Taranaki’s new Library, Culture and Arts Centre, has received a $2.8 million grant from the TSB Community Trust.

South Taranaki Mayor, Ross Dunlop, was absolutely thrilled with the TSB Community Trust’s decision. “The Trust’s grant is a huge boost and means that we can move forward on this project with great confidence. The Trust has once again demonstrated its commitment to and investment in the district by supporting projects that will make a real difference in South Taranaki,” says Mayor Dunlop.

“The Te Ramanui o Ruapūtahanga project is to create a new vibrancy in Hāwera providing enhanced community services, creating economic stimulus and improving connectivity for both the South Taranaki community and for visitors to the district,” says Maria Ramsay, Chief Executive TSB Community Trust. “It also aligns well to our strategy by increasing access to opportunities, enhanced tamariki and whanau wellbeing and increased capability.”

South Taranaki District Council’s (STDC) Chief Executive Waid Crockett, says the $8 million facility, to be located on the corner of High and Regent Streets, is the key anchor project in the Hawera town centre redevelopment .

“At 1605m2 the building combines a number of facilities onto one site, including a bigger library, meeting rooms, public toilets, an art gallery and heritage exhibition space, i-SITE visitor centre and café,” says Mr Crockett.

“Te Ramanui will provide people with a wide-range of services, information, cultural and educational resources right in the heart of Hāwera, bringing more foot traffic, visitors and vibrancy to the town centre.”

The building, designed by architects Warren and Mahoney, takes environmental sustainability into account wherever possible, which helps keep ongoing operational costs to a minimum.

“Te Ramanui o Ruapūtahanga means the beacon or signal fire of Ruapūtahanga, a famous Taranaki Māori ancestress. Ruapūtahanga would light the beacon as a signal for Iwi to meet so they could talk, share ideas and knowledge. We think the name, which was gifted by Ngati Ruanui, perfectly symbolises the new centre’s purpose as a place for the community to meet in order to share information and gain knowledge,” he says.

“Te Ramanui will not only be a community and visitor hub, it will be a catalyst for driving change and increasing investment. We believe it will completely transform the town centre.”

Mr Crockett says the Council is contributing $4.8 million towards the facility, with the remaining $3.2 million being sought from external funding.

“The Council’s contribution is being loan-funded. Earnings from the Council’s Long Term Investment Fund (LTIF) will be used to repay the loan over a number of years so there is no impact on rates to fund this development. Thanks to the TSB Community Trust’s support we are now well on our way to meeting our external funding target,” he says.

To date the site for the new centre has been purchased and detailed designs are being developed. Construction is planned to begin in late 2019 – early 2020 to be complete by July 2021.

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