Council urged not to ‘kill’ Historic Village


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.

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Posted on 13-02-2024 17:27 | By Let's get real

If these people actually achieved something tangible they could pay the rent and rates like the rest of the world. I see that place in terms of a place for the unemployable to gather and complain about the way they're treated. Professional whingers.
For the longest time we have supported the "ARTS" in so many ways, so that they don't need to produce anything that people want to buy or pay for. Maybe they need to consider developing skills and abilities in the real world and stop relying on the public teat. GET A REAL JOB and stop begging. Standing around with placards is pathetic and only serves to show your lack of usable skills and your attitude to the world.... I can't do it, so you must give it to me.

Re: Hmmm

Posted on 13-02-2024 18:41 | By Orsino

Ok, I'll bite- "Let's get real", here's some reality:
1. The Incubator DO pay rent and rates- An annual rent of over $160,000 +outgoings is paid to the Council.
2. In November 2023, the Incubator received notice that Village opex costs were increasing by 77% from the beginning of 2024. This is in addition to the huge rent increases proposed in the LTP.
3. The Incubator is home to over 20 resident professional artists, who exhibit and sell their work, teach workshops, and contribute to the local creative economy.
4. The Incubator creates employment for a wide range of arts professionals who curate, programme and activate the Historic Village.
5. In the last 3 years, the Incubator has programmed over 150 exhibitions, 535 live music gigs, 5 festivals, 100 film events, 895 workshops, supported by over 21,000 volunteer hours.
Ps. Art IS work. real work.

Let's get real

Posted on 13-02-2024 19:22 | By This Guy

The "professional whingers" in TGA are the people who spend all their time moaning about things in the sunlive comment section... All the time, constant whinging and moaning about this and that... bike lanes, sports courts, community events and of course ART! BECAUSE HOW DARE THESE SILLY ARTISTS GO ABOUT BRINGING JOY TO OTHERS! - I take it as someone who doesn't like art, you won't be sitting down to watch telly tonight, or listen to any music or read or any books - who needs art when you can sit in an empty white room and incessantly whinge on internet about people trying to make the world a nicer place to live in...

Let's get real... names

Posted on 13-02-2024 22:37 | By Bret Williams

My name is Bret Williams and I am employed full-time by The Incubator Creative Hub.
If Let's Get Real would like to insult me in person, or at least include their real name and occupation when they share it with the world, that would be greatly appreciated. I'd rather be a "Professional whinger" than someone who does it for fun in their spare time. If they really think I am unemployable, a beggar, and have no usable skills without having met me, that is a bold judgment to make. I will keep my opinion of "Lets get real" to myself", even though I have read enough of their writing to have formed a strong and qualified one.

mans shed

Posted on 14-02-2024 07:35 | By peter pan

When you get into your 70&80ties you don't have much to look forward to this world,we have done our bit in trying to make things better for the ones coming behind so please don't throw us onto the scrap heap,surely we deserve better,and one day if lucky you will be in the same boat,thats if its still here.

In response to the whingers

Posted on 14-02-2024 08:40 | By Let's get real

Are you seriously defending your belief that the world owes you a living because you are invested in the "Arts". If it is so rewarding to the world, why do we have "over 20 resident PROFESSIONAL artists" cowering in an enclave pleading poverty and demanding that pensioners (who have spent their lives productively) and hard working ratepayers subsidise their lives.
I'm sick and tired of whingers complaining about rate increases when the rates are being directed at "nice to have" projects supporting a noisy and vocal few.
Support yourself with your "skills" at your own expense and stop believing that you are anything special that can't be lived without.
I have earned everything that I have and have NEVER demanded special treatment or privileges because I see myself as important to everyone else's life. Get over yourself.

Philosophical differences

Posted on 14-02-2024 11:10 | By KiwiDerek

I think what we have here is a failure to communicate. What "Let's Get Real" is unable to understand - or accept given the gratuitous insults they hurl about - is that many people believe that there are things that make life for an entire community better that can't be quantified by just money.
For instance - the council might supply a sports ground to a community group at a discounted rate because they recognise that community groups would never be able to fund it themselves but there is real tangible benefit to be gained from children having access to playing sport.
Similarly many people feel that the arts benefit a community in many ways that are not quantifiable on a balance sheet. That's what this discussion was about - whether there is value to the community from what The Incubator is doing at The Historic Village.


Posted on 14-02-2024 12:19 | By Let's get real

The age old qualification for the "ARTS"... Intangible benefits and arrogantly attack the unbelievers. Holier-than-thou..?
I haven't singled out an individual but as per usual, I have been maligned by the arrogant individuals that believe that they are deserving of special privileges and public funding of their unsaleable efforts.
Why do you believe that you shouldn't contribute to the same extent as shopkeepers and other businesses that employ productive people and feed families. Do you honestly believe that the arts are more than a distraction from hard work.
Pull your head in and pay your way like everyone else has to do to support you.


Posted on 14-02-2024 16:16 | By AuntyMinnie

I believe in free speech BUT….. let’s be respectful. There is no need to be so rude and insulting.

The Historic Village is a wonderful place for all ages. I have also eared my own living all my life. I went to work on a part time basis when I was 13. I then worked full time from aged 15 to 73.

However I learned to communicate in a kind and understanding way.

“By Let’s get Real” needs to pull his own head in.

Enough said. Just let’s get rid of the commissioners and have our own elected council.

Signed - Diana Haycock !!!!!!!

Let's try that again

Posted on 14-02-2024 16:24 | By KiwiDerek

Let me try explaining things in slightly different terms. BTW, you'll perhaps notice that the example I gave wasn't about "The Arts", it concerned sport, but never mind that.
The question is how council should spend rates money. For instance, some people think building a playground for local children is a good thing. But of course there is no financial benefit - it just results in happier and better-adapted children. Therefore there is a benefit to the community that is not financially quantifiable. It sounds like your answer to this is - "let the kids pay, the little bludgers."
As I said - philosophical differences. Oh and, yes, I do honestly believe that the arts are more than a distraction from hard work. I believe they benefit the well-being of the entire community. You don't. Fair enough, but at least you could attempt to remain civil.

@KiwiDerek and AuntyMinnie

Posted on 14-02-2024 22:05 | By Let's get real

One of your fellow flagwavers claims to KNOW the kind of person that I am.
Let me put things straight... You are objecting to council trying to balance their books by spreading the exorbitant costs of their spending amongst the users of public facilities.
Put more effort into stopping these unelected spendthrifts and reduce the debt imposed on the city for vanity projects and there probably wouldn't be the same need to raise extra funds from your self-interested section of the community.
If you believe that the cost of living increases that are being quietly managed by every ratepayer and business owner shouldn't apply to you because you support "the arts" there is no reason for anyone to have any sympathy for your plight.
It's council largesse that is out of control, but you can't see it when you are a major recipient.

Own up “Let’s get real”

Posted on 15-02-2024 10:42 | By AuntyMinnie

Who are you?? Don’t just hide behind a made up title. Have the courage to own up to who you actually are!

Turn up at the meeting on the 19th February and have your say in public.

I believe there are many real people in Tauranga who would like to see these unelected commissioners gone. I don’t have a plight! I just want to live in a fairly run city.

Perhaps you are one of the commissioners in disguise just stirring the pot!

@ The Keyboard Warrior

Posted on 15-02-2024 10:44 | By Phreaze

You do realise the process of creating art addresses mental health and all sorts of other issues right? Issues that affect the entire community in a TANGIBLE way. It’s not just the art itself, it’s the process in creating it!

We are working with the ones who have fallen through the cracks of the systems you so believe in.

The reality is, because of a ridiculous rent and opex rise, if you would prefer that I close my space in Historic Village (that I fully fund myself I might add - doing the broken systems job at my own cost!) that currently works with hundreds of disadvantaged youth and other community members so they aren’t out there stealing your car or raiding your home instead, you just keep on singing this narrow-minded song of yours.


Posted on 15-02-2024 13:02 | By Let's get real

I am certainly not invested in council ideology by any means, I'm a struggler and the struggles get larger as these commissioners spend money that they don't have on vanity projects.
The incubator, rather than examining the big picture of restricting council debt and opposing council spending, are opting out and selfishly exercising their voice in their own backyard alone.
But of course, the world of the arts are being very generously supported and financed by council with the new construction of exhibition space, meeting rooms, museum and the empty art gallery in the CBD. Not one of the brand new public spaces will even cover their own costs.
Look beyond your own self interests.


Posted on 15-02-2024 13:25 | By Let's get real

The process of creating art...? "Art" is broken and is becoming increasingly irrelevant other than to express your political points of view and to promote your personal lifestyle.
Made irrelevant by modern technology, a lack of interest in your messages and the fact that your messages no longer resonate with lifestyle realities.
We all pay rates phrase, why should the rates support your personal crusade...? Why not support the 99% of the community that expects the council to provide community services.
In the real world, if you can't pay your bills with your current skills, you upskill and improve your situation. Doing that has cost me and my family tens of thousands of hard earned money.

Let end it now….

Posted on 15-02-2024 14:44 | By AuntyMinnie

It is very easy to write “vitriol” and hide behind a password.

Nothing you say is helping the situation at all.

We are all struggling in one way or another. Get out there and do some good in the world, instead of writing vitriol in annoying emails.

No more please.

Years ago

Posted on 16-02-2024 12:31 | By earlybird

the Historic Village/Museum was a fantastic place to visit. Unfortunately the council, in their wisdom, or lack thereof, decided to let it decay by not carrying out maintenance. I'm sure that today's cruise ship passengers would have loved the old village as it was really the only tourist attraction in Tauranga. It had a live steam train, the old Taioma Tug Boat, and interesting collections of old bits and pieces. Now we have nothing compared to what we had. So, TCC, please do NOT stuff it up for the second time.

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