Creatives have pled the council not to “kill” Tauranga’s Historic Village by raising the rent.
Around 50 people packed council chambers on Monday armed with signs, art and instruments to throw their support behind the Incubator Creative Hub as part of the Tauranga City Council Long-Term Plan 2024-34 hearings on Monday.
Based at the Historic Village the Incubator is gallery, music venue and hub for Tauranga’s art and culture scene.
The council is proposing rent increases at the village as part of the long-term plan (LTP).
Incubator chairperson Phil Hayhoe told the commissioners the Incubator was a key community and economic asset.
“Our community spirit makes a significant, tangible contribution to the fabric of our city. We play a significant role in contributing to community wellbeing.”
The prosed rent increase would impact all Historic Village tenants, said Hayhoe.
“We're in a vulnerable position that will potentially impact the ongoing viability of the Incubator Creative Hub.”
Incubator director Simone Anderson and chairperson Phil Hayhoe. Photo: Alisha Evans/SunLive.
Incubator director Simone Anderson said the proposed operating expense structure for the Historic Village was unrealistic.
“This commercial thinking puts that vision and future of a vibrant city at real risk.
“We are grappling with the plan, which will make historic village inaccessible to so many community organisations.
“These costs are not sympathetic to the funding environment we work in.”
Twelve creatives that use the Incubator spoke in support. The ukulele group started with the waiata Tūtira Mai Ngā Iwi and commission chair Anne Tolley joined in as the chambers filled with song.
Musician Derek Jacombs said the Jam Factory music venue enriched Tauranga and increased participation for musicians and audiences.
“For many years Tauranga had a terrible national reputation as a musical wasteland.
“The Jam Factory is the smaller, affordable venue that this city needed, and it has changed everything.”
: Incubator supporters sporting signs to back the creative hub's concerns about increased rent.
Photo: Alisha Evans/SunLive.
The current reduced rent for the Historic Village shouldn’t been seen as a subsidy but as an investment in the musical and cultural wellbeing of the city, said Jacombs.
“Like everything that's new, every tendril of growth, this is a rare and fragile thing.
“I would urge you not to kill it, don't tinker with it and please don't endanger something, which is demonstrably making Tauranga a better place.”
Ōtūmoetai College student Sequoia Trass said she had been going to the Incubator for ten years because her mum worked there.
“I couldn't have spent those 10 years any better. I consider myself a creative, and through the Incubator I've been able to meet so many like-minded people.
“It's important to give the community an opportunity to get involved in arts and culture, it connects people,” said Trass.
“The Historic Village was a ghost town prior to the Incubator. The incubator had made it a collaborative environment for people to get involved in.
“By raising the rent and other necessities to unliveable prices, the public are being stripped of their creative opportunities.”
Dozens of people packed council chambers to support the Incubator Creative Hub. Photo: Alisha Evans/SunLive.
New Zealand China Friendship Society Tauranga branch President Tina Zhang said they opened a China culture and arts centre at the Historic Village last year.
“It's not just about sharing and exchanging cultures, it's about building a home away from home for our Chinese community.”
The Historic Village was not a commercial hub it was a gathering place where connections and cultural dialogues flourished, said Zhang.
Tolley responded to the submitters that the 2024-34 LTP could be described as the Tauranga arts, sport and culture “standing up and roaring”.
“What you've shown us today and what we'll see in front of us over the next couple of days is that … local government is about people, it's about communities.
“We do have to balance the budget in the end, but what you are saying to us, and we are hearing loudly is the core of any community is people.”
The LTP hearings continue Tuesday and Wednesday.
LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air.