29 Jul 2021

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Hastings wins award for cultural wellbeing

The vital role of arts and culture in community wellbeing was celebrated at the Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) EXCELLENCE Awards earlier this month.

Hastings District Council has won the Creative New Zealand EXCELLENCE Award for Cultural Wellbeing in the 2021 awards, which celebrate the leadership role of local councils and their work to promote the wellbeing of our communities.

Hastings District Council won the Award for Cultural Well-being for their project Toitoi – Hawke’s Bay Arts & Events Centre. The Council also won the Social Well-being Award for its highly successful Place-Based Housing Plan and was highly commended in the Social Well-being category for its Mahi for Youth Programme.

The Creative New Zealand EXCELLENCE Award for cultural wellbeing recognises councils working to support arts and culture and strengthen communities. Each year, the Award is given to a council-led project that provides opportunities for its community to engage in arts and culture, or a project that reflects the cultural diversity of its community.

Hastings’ Toitoi programme has focused on the revitalisation and regeneration of Hawke’s Bay Opera House as a vibrant performing arts and events precinct. The venue has been well utilised by a wide range of groups including arts professionals, iwi, dance studios, education providers and the wider regional community.

The judges commented: “The council has already generated a significant level of participation and use of the centre with a diverse range of communities and activities, revitalising and regenerating the CBD… There will be an ongoing contribution to the community, including social and economic development, through the arts and events centre.”

Gisborne District Council’s Puhi Kai Iti Cook Landing Site Redevelopment and New Plymouth District Council’s Te Hono – New Plymouth Airport Terminal Project were also finalists for the cultural wellbeing award.

In addition to sponsoring the EXCELLENCE Award for Cultural Wellbeing, Creative New Zealand supported a session that everyone at the 2021 LGNZ Annual Conference attended titled ‘Creativity as a Driver for Wellbeing’.

The session focused on how councils can work with and support their local arts communities to deliver positive wellbeing outcomes and was opened by Chair of the Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa, Caren Rangi. Caren was joined by artist Rangi Kipa, who gave a powerful kōrero about the role of the arts in upholding the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi in our communities. Caren and Rangi were also joined by Executive Director of Tāwhiri Festivals and Experiences Meg Williams, and Jasmax Senior Associate Elisapeta Heta for a panel discussion.  

“Creativity is a driver for wellbeing – and not just cultural wellbeing but also social, economic and environmental wellbeing,” says Stephen Wainwright, Creative New Zealand’s Chief Executive. “We’re committed to working together with local government to enable arts and culture to thrive in our communities, which in turn, enables our communities to thrive.”