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West Wave a winner

West Wave a winner

The West Wave Aquatic Centre and Waitakere City Council has won a Creative Places Award 2003, announced this morning at the Local Government Conference New Zealand in Queenstown.

The Creative Places Award, presented annually by Creative New Zealand, celebrates the vital role that local authorities play in the arts of their communities.

Waitakere City won the Built Environment: City Councils Category for the West Wave Aquatic Centre.

The aquatic centre was originally built for the 1990 Commonwealth Games, but underwent a major $14 million redevelopment last year. A new wing was added for leisure use and the complex was renamed the West Wave Aquatic Centre. In line with Waitakere City’s practice of giving artists equal status with other design professionals when creating public buildings and spaces, sculptor Virginia King was hired to work with the architects from Creative Spaces on the overall concept.

West Wave has already won a number of other awards for its sustainable building techniques which include solar heating and the use of renewable timbers.

Waitakere City, as well as the seven other winning councils outlined below) received as a prize a work by leading ceramic artist Merilyn Wiseman and a certificate.

“The Creative Places Award celebrates the wonderful and innovative arts projects happening in communities throughout New Zealand,” says Elizabeth Kerr, Chief Executive of Creative New Zealand. “It helps us profile this outstanding work beyond the communities in which it was created.

“All these projects are inspirational because they demonstrate the positive impact that creative places and spaces have on the wellbeing of New Zealand’s diverse communities.”

Creative New Zealand established the annual Creative Places Award in 1999 with the endorsement of Local Government New Zealand to acknowledge the key role that local authorities play in the arts.

“Creative New Zealand values its partnership with local government and this award acknowledges its huge investment and commitment to the arts of this country,” Miss Kerr said. “This is the fifth year of the Award and it is gratifying to see it attracting such strong entries.”

This year, the Creative Places Award was restructured to better profile the work of District as well as City Councils. Both were eligible for an award in each of the following five categories: Arts Provision, Built Environment Initiatives, Celebrating Cultural Diversity, Strategic Arts Initiatives and Youth Initiatives. The winner of the Premier Creative Places Award was then chosen from the District and City Council winners in these five categories.

This year’s judging panel was Frana Cardno, Mayor of Southland District, Kate Wells, a textile artist and arts consultant, and Bernard Makoare a Ngati Whatua artist and a former local government manager.

The eight category winners were as follows:

Built Environment: City Councils Category Winner 2003 Winning Project: West Wave Aquatic Centre Winning City Council: Waitakere City

With the growing recreational fitness and leisure needs of the public, Waitakere City decided to extend its existing swimming pool complex, which operated as a facility for both competitive and recreational use. A new wing was added for leisure use and the complex was opened in November 2002, renamed the West Wave Aquatic Centre. In line with Waitakere City’s practice of giving artists equal status with other design professionals when creating public buildings and spaces, sculptor Virginia King was hired to work with the architects from Creative Spaces on the overall building concept.

Virginia King’s contribution can be seen, for example, in the colour schemes, the organic shapes of the pools and a number of sculptural water features. Working with the Council’s Arts Advisor, she also commissioned Dean Buchanan, Graeme Gash, Bernard Makoare, Te Warena Taua and Zeke Wolf to provide designs and artworks in ceramics, glass, paint and steel.

The judges described this project as “a great collaboration between artists and cultural thinking, combining art with civic initiatives from a holistic point of view”.

Built Environment: District Councils Category Winner 2003 Winning Project: Hastings CBD revitalisation Winning District Council: Hastings District

The revitalisation of Hastings CBD is an ongoing project that has grown out of the Council’s Landmarks strategy for district-wide development. Based on a Council and community partnership, this strategy has pursued the revitalisation of Hastings through a focus on architecture, history, landscape and art in public places.

The judges said: “It’s a fantastic mixture of function art, quirky art and beautiful art. It must make Hastings people feel very proud. This money is very well spent.”

Arts Provision: District Councils Category Winner 2003 Winning Project: Rotorua Arts Village Experience, RAVE Winning District Council: Rotorua District

The Rotorua Arts Village Experience is a new local arts centre for music arts, crafts and cultural groups. It has been developed from three heritage buildings on the Wohlmann House site, which had been used by local arts groups and artists as a base for 13 years. A steering group, chaired by the Mayor and involving iwi, arts and other groups, developed the idea of the arts centre in consultation with existing and potential users. Commissioning a vibrant new artwork was seen to be fundamental to increasing community awareness and participation in the project and the people of Rotorua were invited to take part in making a mosaic floor, following a design by local artist Marc Spijkerbos.

Arts Provision: City Councils Category Winner 2003 Winning Project: Dance Your Socks Off! Winning City Council: Wellington City

Dance Your Socks Off! is an initiative of Wellington City Council and the city’s wider dance community, which aims to profile and celebrate the diversity of dance in Wellington and encourage dance activity throughout the year. Over the past three years, Dance Your Socks Off! has partnered and promoted 58 dance shows, 48 workshop series or classes, and provided 57 regular dance class listings.

The judges described this entry as “a fantastic community event and a wonderful way of getting people involved”.

Celebrating Cultural Diversity: City Councils Category Winner 2003 Winning Project: Asia 2000 Diwali Festival of Lights Winning City Council: Wellington City

The Asia 2000 Diwali Festival of Lights, which took place in October 2002, was the first time Diwali was celebrated on a large public scale in New Zealand and was a chance for Wellingtonians to experience a real Indian cultural celebration. As part of two weeks of Asia 2000 Diwali activities, the Wellington City-partnered event captured the essence of Diwali in a spectacular one-day festival. This free event showcased the diverse contributions of more than 500 participants to an audience of 30,000. It included international performance groups, 35 food and retail stalls, displays, fashion shows and cooking demonstrations, culminating in Diwali-themed fireworks. “Celebrating our diversity gives us more opportunities to realise ourselves by realising other people. A wonderful celebration of a culture,” the judges said.

Youth Initiatives: City Councils Category Winner 2003 Winning Project: RESPECT 2003 Winning City Council: Hutt City

RESPECT is a biennial youth-focussed, music, visual and performing arts festival in Lower Hutt. It is a clear indication of Hutt City Council’s commitment to youth, community and audience development as well as to the local social, cultural and economic wellbeing of Lower Hutt.

The judges said of RESPECT: “It is impressive to see a council step out and welcome arts and cultures that may be unfamiliar. This festival helps youth who are an important part of the community to express themselves in a positive way.”

Strategic Arts Initiatives: City Councils Category Winner 2003 Winning Project: Heritage Trails Winning City Council: North Shore City

A series of heritage walk guides were initiated as part of a larger, co-ordinated programme to raise awareness of heritage and enhance the local community’s understanding of some of the cultural factors that have shaped the development and life of the city.

The walks are self-guided and tell stories that are special to North Shore City. To date, three guides have been produced. Two of them focus on the natural and built environment. The third describes four different literary walks, recognising a number of important New Zealand writers: Frank Sargeson, Janet Frame, Robin Hyde, Sam Hunt and Maurice Duggan.

Strategic Arts Initiatives: District Councils Category Winner 2003 Winning Project: Puke Ariki Winning District Council: New Plymouth District

Puke Ariki (which means Hill of Chiefs) is the largest cultural project ever undertaken in the Taranaki region. Acclaimed as setting a new standard for cultural institutions in New Zealand and internationally, Puke Ariki is a storehouse of Taranaki’s past, present and future combining library, museum and information services. Puke Ariki opened in June 2003

One of the most exciting things about Puke Ariki is its use of technology to create an entity without walls. A vast database, Taranaki Information Network, is accessible at Puke Ariki through 18 “Info Pods” and through the Puke Ariki website (www.pukeariki.com). A number of Taranaki schools, libraries and information centres are linked to this database.

The judges said the Puke Ariki complex integrated extremely well with the existing building and its surroundings. They described it as “a stake in the ground, saying ‘We are Taranaki and we want people to come and see what we’re about’.”

Premier Creative Places Awards winner: Puke Ariki and was the judges’ unanimous choice to win the Premier Award, the prize for which is a substantial contribution from Creative New Zealand towards the commissioning of a new public artwork to be chosen by the winner.

This announcement was also made at the Local Government New Zealand conference where Elizabeth kerr presented the Award to the Mayor of New Plymouth, Peter Tennent.

Profiles of the winning projects are also available on the Creative New Zealand website (http:// http://www.creativenz.govt.nz)

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