Why does Council want to make changes in the inner city?
Ongoing revitalisation and improvement of Rotorua's central city has been a Council priority for a number of years now. Council recognises that a vibrant and exciting inner city is a major factor in attracting people, activities, events and development to the district.
Projects such as Eat Streat and the Rotorua Night Market have been part of that continuous revitalisation strategy.
During the Rotorua 2030 Vision setting exercise in 2013 retailers, visitors, workers and businesses told Council they wanted a vibrant city which cares about the environment, has a strong economy, supports the arts and connects its people to each other and the rest of the world.
The 2030 Vision is at the heart of what we do in the inner city.
Why did Council choose to change City Focus?
Tutanekai Street is the spine of the inner city, linking retail and business areas to Lake Rotorua. Hinemoa Street is a major connection from Government Gardens to Kuirau Park.
During Rotorua 2030 consultation retailers strongly argued that the sails, building and trees dominated the space, hiding shop fronts and needed to go. Further consultation highlighted that residents also wanted to see change but did not want to see City Focus removed completely and that it still needed to remain a space where people were the priority. They also agreed that the restriction in vehicle turning movements was affecting their business.
The removal of the structures and traffic detours that featured in the City Focus helps to improve sight lines, foot traffic and traffic flow through the inner city.
The space was also gifted a new name, Te Manawa, by Ngati Whakaue (see more about this below).
When did all this start?
What did Council want to achieve by changing the former City Focus area?
Through several rounds of consultation Council identified that retailers, residents, visitors and business owners wanted to see change in the inner city but wanted to retain a central community space.
- A need to improve sight lines
- A need to restore traffic flow along Tutanekai and Hinemoa Streets
- A need to bring more people into the inner city and more business
- A need to better recognise our cultural heritage
- A need for a place with a focus on people, enabling them to gather, stop and enjoy
Te Manawa is a shared space that accommodates pedestrians, cars, bikers and other users. The open spaces and clear sight lines between shops and streets encourages more foot traffic and the addition of 50% more open space allows people to host events or activities or just sit back and relax.
What are the changes we see now Te Manawa is complete?
- 50% more open public space with clearer, prioritised pedestrian routes
- More shared space for relaxing, socialising and events
- Mix of paved, lawn and garden surfaces
- Improved spaces for cafes to extend seating
- Safer pedestrian and traffic routes
- No loss of parking spaces
- Design that reflects cultural significance of Te Arawa
Why were trees removed?
Initial feedback from retailers before the Te Manawa project started highlighted that the sails, trees and other structures within the former City Focus hindered sight lines between shops.
During Phase 2 some trees were removed and in Phase 3 another was removed during construction.
12 Dogwood trees replaced those that were removed. They were selected by Council's Parks and Reserves team for their suitability in inner city areas and are quite common in the Rotorua CBD. They are approximately 2.5 metres tall.
Were the materials used sourced locally?
Yes – the timber used in the construction of the pillars and seats were all supplied from local forests, using Abodo Timber, milled at Donelleys Sawmill. The timber does not include any chemicals but instead is thermally modified, helping it to withstand the Rotorua environment. They are proud to partner with Council on this project.
Read more about the partnership with Donelleys Sawmill here.
Did we lose any car parking?
No parks were removed for this project.
Why did the project take so long?
Is Te Manawa Smokefree?