New Ruatoria Courts & Heartland Services Centre
New Ruatoria Courts Hearing and Heartland Services Centre opened
Courts and Associate Social Development and Employment Minister Rick Barker officially opened Ruatoria's new $770,000 Courts Hearing and Heartland Services Centre today. Mr Barker said the award-winning, multi-purpose facility replaces Ruatoria's previous Courthouse, which was destroyed by fire in 1985.
"The future of a courthouse in Ruatoria had been in doubt since the fire. Previous governments did not attach the same importance to the delivery of justice at the local level.
"But with a keen will and the support and involvement of this community, we now have a facility that everyone can be proud of and feel a real sense of ownership in."
Mr Barker said the building represented the most innovative approach in New Zealand to providing court services to a rural community.
"As well as monthly court hearings, the centre will also be used by a range of Government agencies and community organisations under the Heartland Services initiative."
Widespread consultation on the facility's location and design, as well as the Heartland initiative, was first undertaken and Mr Barker said that had ensured community support for the new centre.
"The marae-based design and features such as retractable furniture in the courthouse recently saw the facility win a New Zealand Institute of Architects/Resene Design Award for community /cultural sector developments."
The Award recognises the successful establishment of a multi-purpose community facility, while achieving the exacting requirements of the judicial system in the remote East Coast community.