Described as “the very essence of successful placemaking”, the 10-year regeneration of Hastings city’s East Block, including the Toitoi Municipal Building restoration project, earned a top award at this year’s Taituarā Excellence Awards.
The awards are an annual showcase of excellence within the local government sector, and 43 entries from councils across the country were submitted this year.
The Beca Award for Placemaking recognised the restoration of the Hawke’s Bay Opera House and Municipal Building - linked to the goals of the 2013 Hastings City Centre Strategy and the projects identified in the 2019 Hastings City Centre Revitalisation Plan.
This included strengthening the city centre’s identity, creating quality open spaces and connections, and creating more vibrancy and activity within the area – with the focus in the first five years of the Revitalisation Plan on the Eastern precinct of the city.
Community consultation was a priority throughout, including with business partners, contractors, mana whenua and the arts, tourism and hospitality sectors.
This engagement was noted by the judges who said it was: "a significant project of scale that has retained the heritage building and provided a catalyst for further regeneration. The project built on a community connection to place and brought in mana whenua and local identities within the performing arts to further contribute to place memory. This is the very essence of successful placemaking."
The community has been instrumental to the success of the revitalisation efforts to date, and feedback will be sought in coming weeks to help inform the next 10 years of this strategy.
1 September 2023
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