East Block Toito Municipal Building. Photo: Kirsten Simcox

The 10-year regeneration of Hastings city’s East Block, including the Toitoi Municipal Building restoration project, was described as “the very essence of successful placemaking”, winning 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 with Hastings District Council taking out the Beca Award for Placemaking category.   

Judges said 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.”

This is the second year in a row HDC have won the award. In 2022 it was for the “It’s Flaxmere’s Time” initiative. 

This year the award was gained for the “A Place for Everyone” project, centred on the restoration of the Hawke’s Bay Opera House and Municipal Building and linked to the goals of the 2013 Hastings City Centre Strategy and the projects identified in the 2019 Hastings City Centre Revitalisation Plan.

Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said these goals 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.

“The entire Toitoi redevelopment project, of which the Municipal Building was the last piece of the puzzle, was an integral part of this revitalisation strategy that also included creating a surrounding hospitality and entertainment precinct for eateries, galleries and boutique retail, and the creation of enhanced greenspaces such as Landmarks and Albert Squares, new amenity planting and outdoor dining areas with permanent umbrellas for shelter.

“Ten years ago we began bringing the vision of our Hastings City Strategy to life with streetscape enhancements on the western end of the city, before turning attention to the eastern side.

“This area has become something our community can be really proud of and we look forward to further discussions with the community as we look ahead to implementing our strategy over the next 10 years.”

Public interest journalism funded by New Zealand on Air.


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1 Comment

  1. Congratulations, Tess, on your report. Upgrade of the whole Toitoi precinct, with which many of us hold significant memories of past decades.
    I can’t help but recall how dear Lily Baker who chaired the Heritage Trails Committee, HDC, subscribed to this venture before her untimely passing. How delighted she would be of such an amenity to be used and enjoyed by many.

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