26 Jul 2022
Selwyn's District Council's Te Ara Ātea in Rolleston also highly commended in Economic Wellbeing category.
Selwyn District Council has excelled at the Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) EXCELLENCE Awards 2022. Selwyn’s Te Ara Ātea, a district-wide cultural facility in Rolleston’s new town centre, won the Creative New Zealand EXCELLENCE Award for Cultural Wellbeing. The awards were announced at the LGNZ Fulton Hogan Conference Dinner in Palmerston North on Friday, 22 July.
Te Ara Ātea emerged as a clear winner of the cultural award, the judging panel said, also praising the Selwyn council for the quality of their presentations.
“Its strength is built around good relationship management, the range of stakeholders involved, and the direct and indirect benefits for the area. There is a heavy focus on arts and culture outcomes as well.”
The judges said Selwyn was “a small council that worked really hard from the onset in getting as many stakeholders as possible involved in the project”.
LGNZ president Stuart Crosby said Selwyn District Council should be applauded for its work in improving the wellbeing of its communities.
“Councils have faced a number of challenges in the past couple of years, including making sure that core services are delivered throughout lockdowns and alert level changes,” he said. “It’s heartening to see what Selwyn council has been able to do in the middle of a pandemic.
“These are outstanding projects that are having an intergenerational impact on the wellbeing of their communities. They should be incredibly proud of their achievements.”
Opened in December 2021, Te Ara Ātea refers to the “unobstructed trail to the world and beyond”. It is a place of discovery, community gathering and knowledge sharing.
Its attractions include a fully integrated public gallery, library and museum cultural experience; 22 exhibition cases displaying over 50 local taoka which reflect diverse Selwyn communities and tell placemaking stories of the district; two permanent public artworks and additional integrated art exhibitions of contemporary New Zealand art; and 42,500 physical library collection items.
During the first three months of opening, and despite the ongoing impacts of Covid-19, Te Ara Ātea saw a 122.8 percent increase in visitors to 34,761, compared with the previous three months at the now-retired Rolleston Library.
Te Ara Ātea has been a catalyst for a cultural shift within the council and the community.The concepts of manaakitaka, kaitiakitaka, kōkiritaka and whanaukataka are now business-as-usual and inform how the Te Ara Ātea operational teams interact with each other and the community.
Selwyn District Council also enjoyed further success at the Awards. The council’s economic project – Selwyn Works: New Employment Approaches to Drive Economic Growth – was highly commended in the MartinJenkins EXCELLENCE Award for Economic Wellbeing. A third project, Faces of Selwyn, was a finalist in the Kāinga Ora Homes and Communities EXCELLENCE Award for Social Wellbeing.
Judges for the awards were: Caren Rangi, Chair, Arts Council of New Zealand Toi Aotearoa (Creative New Zealand); Michael Mills, Director, Martin Jenkins; Andrew McKenzie, Chief Executive, Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities; Reuben Levermore, Head of Government and Regional Affairs, Air New Zealand.