Art of the possible: Hauora Garden

Hauora Garden Richard Orjis and A.D.Schierning  with Waitemata Local Board membersOne thing I love about my role on the Waitematā Local Board is being part of making small, local projects happen.  We often hear complaints that local government is slow, unresponsive and  wasteful but in my experience I have found Council staff to be passionate, creative and willing to work hard to deliver on a tight budget.   With political support they find ways to achieve, as Board Chair Shale Chambers likes to say, the Art of the Possible.

So it has been a special pleasure to see Hauora Garden spring up at Studio One, Toi Tū.  In early June I was at Studio One for Bee Jam, part of the POP programme of events (funded by the Waitematā Local Board). Lynda, Parks Team Leader was there for a visit and mentioned that there was still unallocated budget available for community gardening. Knowing that there was a fenced off overgrown section of
Studio One that  had been recently been identified as perfect for a garden I Hauora Garden Char Wiapo and Mark introduced her to Tracey the POP programme coordinator to find out if there was an opportunity for an artist’s POP project.  Fortunately Tracey knew of a  garden project ready to go (it was proposed for POP originally but did not get included in the pilot series), Shale approved the budget and everyone swung into action.

Last Saturday we were able to check out how the site has been transformed into Hauroa Garden. We always need to be careful about not ending up with unallocated budget at the end of the financial year(another criticism of council!). However I think in this case it has been a happy find that has brought about a spontaneous, creative collaboration involving artists, sponsors and volunteers that will provide long term benefits.

Hauora Garden by Auckland-based artists Richard Orjis and A.D. Schierning is an interactive and sensory space that aims to reconnect urban dwellers with the natural world. It will end up including Rongoā Māori, introduced medicinal, edible and endangered native plants.  Many of the materials found on the section have been recycled into the garden design.

Many thanks to Lynda and Tracey for the Art of the Possible and all those involved: House of Hauora Garden Bec StanleyBotanica, Colleen Brennan, Michelle de Clay, Kerrie Van Heerden, Claudia Jowitt, Daddy and the Dames, Donna Kerridge, Richard Orjis, Wednesday Night Pottery, Amiria Puia-Taylor, AD Schierning, Bec Stanley, Bonni Tamati, Imogen Taylor, The Little Caterer, H.E.P.T, CVNZ Volunteers, The Watkins, Char Wiapo and Generation Zero.

Supported by Treescape, Resene, Studio Art Supplies, Mace Contractors Ltd and Uru Whakaaro Ltd

Hauora on Facebook

Hauora Gardens reviewed by Janet McAllister for the Weekend Herald Art matters column

Studio One opens door to creative community

Studio One OpenAfter a major refurbishment by the Waitemata Local Board, the new look Art Station was officially opened on 25 June as Studio One  Toi Tu.  As acting Chair I had the good fortune to represent the Board at an event to reveal the new name.

Media Release:  Creative Spark ignited in Ponsonby

Studio One on Facebook


Kia ora hui hui mai tātau

E te iwi tenā koutou

E ngā mana, e ngā reo E ngā hau e whā

Nau mai, piki mai, haere mai

Welcome on behalf of the Waitematā Local Board and thank you, Louise [Louise Mason, Manager, Community Development, Arts and Culture]. It is fantastic to be here on such an exciting evening representing the Board.

Studio One reveal speechShale Chambers, Chair of the Waitematā Local Board, really wanted to be here for the BIG REVEAL but unfortunately he is away for his 30th wedding anniversary (I think that is an acceptable excuse even if he is in the sun in Greece). With me from the Board are Greg Moyle (Arts and Culture portfolio holder with Shale) , Deborah Yates, Christopher Dempsey and Vernon Tava.  Rob Thomas sends his apologies. I’d like to acknowledge Tricia Reade who is here and was very much part of this project when she was on the Board.

As Louise has mentioned, we are in a very special heritage building, in the heart of a vibrant, passionate community.  I understand we are in fact in Auckland Council’s first creative precinct.

I’d like to acknowledge the founders and those before us who laid the foundations and kept a creative precinct alive through many challenges.

Waitemata Local Board members outside Studio One Ponsonby RoadThe Waitematā Local Board is highly aware of the changing demographics of residents and businesses in central Auckland. We know that we need to provide places and spaces that are flexible, versatile and meet the needs of our community within ongoing budget constraints.  This led us last year to take a fresh look at the precinct.

We pride ourselves on putting our communities at the heart of our decision-making but I recognise that it hasn’t been an easy process. I’d like to acknowledge and thank those who were involved in the extensive review and consultation process last year to develop a new vision for 1 Ponsonby Road.

The precinct is now a collection of collaborative spaces for artists, creative businesses and individuals, and community organisations to meet, to make, to learn, to listen, to practise, to create and to exhibit.

Creative people can propose, present and host courses, programmes and events – anything is possible here, and every idea is welcomed. To support the new vision, a new name and identity was needed to signal the change and to invite new people to explore and be part of the precinct and its spaces.

New names can be a risky. We want to respect and acknowledge the history of the land, the place and the people who have come before us. We want an ‘open’ name and identity: one that signals we are a community precinct that can be used by many different communities for many different uses in many different ways.

We also would like to clearly communicate the buildings’ many functions. So without any further delay, I take great pride in welcoming you all to STUDIO ONE – TOI TU, a place for many purposes, many people and every possibility.