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New Plymouth wins Premier Creative Places Award

26th July 2005

New Plymouth District Council wins Premier Creative Places Award 2005

Other winners: Hamilton City Council, Mackenzie District Council, Auckland Regional Council, Waitakere City Council

For full winner profiles visit

New Plymouth District Council today won the Premier Creative Places Award 2005, presented by Creative New Zealand at the Local Government New Zealand Conference in Christchurch. It also won two category awards.

The District Council won the Arts Provision category and received the Premier Award for the realisation of its strategy for the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, which is benefiting people of the Taranaki region and has enhanced the Gallery’s position as a leading contemporary art museum in the South Pacific.

The strategy for the Govett-Brewster drove a significant increase in audience numbers (up from 20,000 per annum in 1997 to just under 70,000 in 2004) with a 95% satisfaction rating from visitors. It also led to the establishment of the Govett-Brewster Foundation and the decision to develop New Plymouth as the international centre of Len Lye.

The New Plymouth District Council won the Cultural Festivals and Arts Events category for the TSB Bank Festival of Lights, a seven-week festival focussed around spectacular lighting displays and a daytime/night-time programme of events.

The Creative Places Awards are presented annually by Creative New Zealand to recognise local authorities and council organisations that have enhanced the social, economic and cultural wellbeing of their communities through the arts.

The Creative Places Awards has four categories: Arts Provision Commissions and Public Artworks Built Environment Cultural Festival and Arts Events.

In each of these categories a prize is awarded to the outstanding entry from a city or regional council and a district council. An overall Premier Creative Places Award is then selected from winners in these four categories.

The prize for the Premier Award is a $10,000 contribution from Creative New Zealand towards the commissioning of a new public artwork, to be chosen by the winner.

The judges described the New Plymouth District Council strategy and its realisation as “a best-practice model and an amazing example of what can be achieved with a long-term vision, strategic planning, courage and imagination. The growth in visitor numbers is impressive and it’s good to hear about their work with schools.”

Paddy Austin, an Arts Council member of Creative New Zealand, announced the winner of the Premier Award and the category award winners at the Local Government New Zealand Conference.

“Creative New Zealand values its partnership with local government and these awards acknowledge local government’s huge investment in and commitment to the arts of this country,” Ms Austin said.

“The Awards are also a way in which we can celebrate the wonderful, innovative arts projects happening in communities throughout New Zealand with local government support. All of these projects are inspirational because they show the ways in which people have worked together to provide creative places, spaces and activities for their communities.”

The Creative Places Awards also recognise an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the arts within the local government environment.

This year, the Outstanding Individual Contribution Award was presented to Jim Geddes, District Art and Heritage Curator for the Gore District Council and Director of the Eastern Southland Gallery.

Jim Geddes, who has presided over various arts and heritage projects, is highly regarded for his skills in managing two successful $1.2 million projects for Gore: the Hokonui Heritage Centre, which opened in 2000, and the Eastern Southland Gallery redevelopment project, which opened in 2003. This project included two new gallery wings: the John Money Wing and another dedicated to showing an extensive permanent collection of New Zealand artist Ralph Hotere.

Geddes has also been involved in many other projects, including the Southern Odyssey Cultural Tourism Trail, artist residencies, performances by touring artists, festivals and the extensive exhibitions programme at the Eastern Southland Gallery.

“Jim is a local hero, who has been responsible for helping to raise more than $2 million in his community over a period of five to six years,” Ms Austin said. “His vision, expertise and energy have helped put Gore on the map for local, national and international visitors.”

The judges of the Creative Places Awards 2005 are Gisella Carr – arts consultant; Caroline Robinson of Cabal – artist/public sculptor; Kate Wells – textile artist and arts consultant; Gerard O’Regan - Màori cultural heritage specialist; and Frana Cardno – Mayor of Southland District Council.

Four other district councils or city councils won category awards today. Each of the councils and Jim Geddes received a certificate and an artwork by Paul Maseyk.

Winners of the Creative Places Awards: summary of projects

1. New Plymouth District Council Premier winner and winner of the Arts Provision category: District Councils For the realisation of its strategy for the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery

The realisation of this strategy has benefited people in the Taranaki region and enhanced the Gallery’s position as a leading contemporary art museum in the South Pacific (see above for details).

Media contact: Delwyn Masters, New Plymouth District Council (06-759 6060)

2. New Plymouth District Council Winner, Cultural Festivals and Arts Events: District Councils For TSB Bank Festival of Lights

This seven-week festival is focussed around spectacular lighting displays and a day and night-time programme of events. During the festival, New Plymouth’s Pukekura Park becomes a magical, mystical wonderland for hundreds of thousands of visitors – people of all cultures, ages and places. They come to experience the TSB Bank Festival of Lights, an event that reaches new heights of artistic and creative excellence every year.

The judges said: “This innovative festival has achieved iconic status. It offers diverse participation opportunities and provides excellent economic returns to local business through visitor numbers.”

Media contact: Delwyn Masters, New Plymouth District Council (06-759 6060)

3. Waitakere City Council Winner, Cultural Festivals and Arts Events: City and Regional Councils For the Trash to Fashion Awards

The Trash to Fashion awards are a special annual event celebrating the community and promotes an environmental message through a rich mix of costume art, fashion, music, multi-media and performance.

The judges said: “It’s great to see how the show has evolved over the years, involving schools and providing opportunities for amateur designers to work with creative professionals.” Media contact: Naomi McCleary (09 836 8000 ext 8550)

4. Waitakere City Council Winner, Built Environment: City and Regional Councils For the Glen Eden Library

The new Glen Eden Library is a perfect example of the seamless blend of art and architecture that results from a generous collaboration between artists and design professionals. Lead artist John Parker worked with architects Warren and Mahoney to conceive the building as a sculptural form.

The judges said: “This is a brilliant, holistic project that reflects local stories. Involving artists right from the start is highly commendable, and has resulted in an innovative and integrated approach to artworks in the built environment.” Media contact: Naomi McCleary (09-836 8000 ext 8550)

5 . Auckland Regional Council Winner, Built Environment: City and Regional Councils For the Auckland Botanic Gardens’ new Visitor Centre, Huakaiwaka

With this project, integrating art into the built and natural environment was a high priority for the Auckland Regional Council. From the outset, an artist was engaged as a member of the building design team to ensure that the new Visitor Centre provided a creative, aesthetic setting in which to enjoy the world of plants.

The judges said: “This is an excellent project, complementing nature and using art to communicate with their visitors. We love the way it caters for all ages, groups, abilities and needs.”

Media contact: Simon Roche, Executive Project Leader, Parks Department (09-366 2000 ex 8100)

6. Hamilton City Council Winner, Arts Provision: City and Regional Councils For its arts policy development, including an Art in Public Places Policy

An Art in Public Places Policy was developed to contribute to the creation of a unique identity for Hamilton, to promote public art of excellence in Hamilton and to encourage artworks that have relevance to the site and history of the area.

The judges said: “We commend Hamilton City for its vision in requesting key policy development. This shows an understanding of what public art processes have done and can continue to do in shaping Hamilton’s future cityscape.”

Media contacts: Anna Connell, Arts and Culture Unit, Hamilton City Council (07-838 6956) Naomi Reynolds, Communications and Marketing, Hamilton City Council (07-838 6726 or 0274 133 448).

7. Mackenzie District Council Winner, Commissions and Public Artworks: District Councils For its statue of James MacKenzie and his dog

An extended community consultation process involved the whole community in the selection of the bronze sculpture of MacKenzie and his dog for Fairlie’s upgraded Main Street.

The judges said: “This was a significant achievement for a small town and an excellent example of how an arts project can generate community pride. The artist worked well with the community to form a focal point for the township.”


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