Multi-million dollar funding boost for South Taranaki centre

Taranaki’s newest library and arts centre has been given a major funding boost from TSB Community Trust.

Te Ramanui o Ruapūtahanga, South Taranaki’s new library, culture and arts centre, has received a $2.8 million grant from the the trust.

South Taranaki mayor Ross Dunlop said he was absolutely thrilled with the trust’s decision to donate $2.8m to the $8m project.

“The trust’s grant is a huge boost and means that we can move forward on this project with great confidence,” Dunlop said.

Chief executive of TSB Community Trust Maria Ramsay said the project aimed to create a new vibrancy in Hāwera, and provide enhanced community services, create economic stimulus and improve connectivity for both the South Taranaki community and for visitors to the district.

“It also aligns well to our strategy, by increasing access to opportunities, enhanced tamariki and whanau wellbeing and increased capability,” she said.

South Taranaki District Council chief executive Waid Crockett said the multi-million facility, to be located on the corner of High and Regent Streets, was the key anchor project in the Hawera town centre redevelopment.

“The building combines a number of facilities onto one site, including a bigger library, meeting rooms, public toilets, an art gallery and heritage exhibition space, i-SITE visitor centre and cafe,” Crockett said.

The building, designed by architects Warren and Mahoney, takes environmental sustainability into account wherever possible, helping to keep ongoing operational costs to a minimum, he said.

Te Ramanui o Ruapūtahanga means the beacon or signal fire of Ruapūtahanga, a famous Taranaki Māori ancestress. Ruapūtahanga would light the beacon as a signal for iwi to meet so they could talk, share ideas and knowledge.

“We think the name, which was gifted by Ngati Ruanui, perfectly symbolises the new centre’s purpose as a place for the community to meet in order to share information and gain knowledge.

Te Ramanui will not only be a community and visitor hub, it will be a catalyst for driving change and increasing investment. We believe it will completely transform the town centre.”

The Council is contributing $4.8m towards the facility, with the remaining $3.2m being sought from external funding.

“Thanks to the TSB Community Trust’s support we are now well on our way to meeting our external funding target,” he said.

To date the site for the new centre has been purchased and detailed designs are being developed. Construction is planned to begin in late 2019 – early 2020 to be complete by July 2021.