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'Critters' Coming To Aotea Square?*

Media Release City Vision-Labour Councillors - Auckland City Council For Immediate Release Friday 29 August 2008

*'Critters' Coming To Aotea Square?*

In a lively debate last night a majority of Auckland City Councillors agreed to support City Vision-Labour's pleas to include some design features that will appeal to children and families in the revamped Aotea Square.

Councillors Cathy Casey and Glenda Fryer put the case for child friendly design features such as 'critters' to be included in the Aotea Square upgrade to provide an attraction for children. Critters are animal street sculptures, often made from brass or bronze, hidden in the streetscape and are common in other international cities.

Councillor Casey said, "Critters are a big hit with children because they are usually hidden in the street or in the shrubbery so kids can hunt them down. Critters are delightful! They intrigue children who just have to get closer to them. They can be in trees, drinking from a water feature or hanging from a rubbish bin. Critters could enliven what seems to me to be a pretty dull design for our premier square."

Councillor Fryer said she thought that the Aotea Square design definitely needed some "wow" factor for kids to be attracted in and agreed that critters just might do it.

"Some design features attractive to children and families are essential for Aotea Square. The public has asked us for them and now Council has decided to give them some priority which is wonderful. At the moment the artworks in the square are not that child-friendly. I am looking forward to some innovative designs emerging that will wow the kids of this city."

Councillor Richard Northey said, "Do we want an austere, boring, overly formal event precinct or an open, attractive, inclusive space that children and families can't wait to visit? I definitely want the latter and submissions show Aucklanders want this too. Last night, even John Banks supported our critter arguments as he noted the intrigue value of a brass pig in the street during a recent trip to Melbourne where he spent an hour watching as it attracted and entertained passing children."


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