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Rotorua student’s street seating design becomes reality

News Release

Thursday 17 July 2014

Rotorua student’s street seating design becomes reality

A Rotorua student’s innovative creation for inner city public seating becomes a reality this evening [Thursday 17 July] when the prototype seat he designed is unveiled on the corner of Tutanekai and Eruera streets.

Now an engineering apprentice with a Rotorua company, Jake Krebs’ winning design was selected last year following a competition which 22 local secondary school students entered.

The design competition involved using Rotorua’s ‘WoodFirst’ principle for developing a new public seating concept for the inner city revitalisation programme. The new seating needed to be easier for elderly people to use while addressing public safety concerns around groups of people gathering in the large seating bays in place at the time.

A Rotorua Lakes High School student when he won the competition, Jake Krebs’ prize was an iPad from Waiariki Institute of Technology and the opportunity to develop the concept with local business suppliers Lockwood, Woodmasters, Hepburn Electrical, Rotoma Timber and Chris Smith Glass.

This evening [17 July] at 5.30pm Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick and Jake Krebs will together unveil the first of the new seats installed in the inner city.

His unique seat design features a New Zealand silver fern representation and showcases local wood product. Integration of internal accent lighting helps transform the seat into a piece of functional street art.

Since winning the competition Jake has been gaining valuable work experience alongside Rotorua District Council staff and local business partners who support the inner city revitalisation programme.

He has been able to personally guide his design through its various development and testing stages and oversee manufacturing of the prototype, leading up to today’s installation of the first finished product.

The seating project has been a uniquely Rotorua one involving local design, local materials and local manufacturing. In the future more of the new seats will be installed at intersections along Tutanekai Street.

Four more seats are currently being manufactured, two of which have been sponsored by local entrepreneurs and developers, the Bradley family. Rotorua District Council is hoping other businesses will follow the Bradleys’ community lead and also offer to sponsor seats.

Tony Bradley said his family was very proud to support such a programme.

“A project where locals support locals within the inner city is a really good cause,” he said.

Karen Hunt, Rotorua District councillor and Inner City Revitalisation portfolio lead, said local businesses had come together “with outstanding success, to make Jake’s design a reality.”

“It’s this sort of local involvement in our own community that’s key to building a strong and vibrant inner city future - one of the key goals of our Rotorua 2030 vision,” said Councillor Hunt.


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