The connections between Hastings waterways and its residents have been brought to life as part of the major transformation of the city’s Toitoi Municipal Building, which will fully re-open to the community from August 6.
While the former civic buildings have been reworked to create a modern, dynamic space that pays homage to the structure’s history and distinctive architectural features, the transformation and story-telling that accompanies the restoration extends beyond the building’s walls, Hastings District Council said in a statement.
Outside, along Heretaunga St, design elements have been laser-etched into the granite paving stones, depicting the former true course of the Mākirikiri Awa (River) that once flowed across the area and is now piped beneath the city streets.
Designed by artist Dena Bach of Iwi Toi Kahungunu, the depiction celebrates the Mākirikiri and the people of this region, she said.
“The awa runs through this location and was redirected underground to make way for the buildings of an merging Hastings City. The pātiki (flounder) motif within the design recognises the bounty of Heretaunga and manaakitanga (hospitality, care and respect for others) for which Ngāti Kahungunu iwi and hapū are renowned.”
Matthews & Matthews Architects were engaged to create the design concepts for the redevelopment of the building, as well as Functions on Hastings in Toitoi – Hawke’s Bay Arts and Events Centre.
Architect, Justin Matthews said it was an exciting opportunity to reimagine the significance of the local awa.
“The braided and woven patterns, representing the Mākirikiri awa, tell the story of our local waterways being a life source for whānau and the hapū of Heretaunga,” said Mr Matthews.
“The awa patterns also tell the story of the many pathways in life that connect and bring people together to create and form communities. Dena prepared beautiful design concepts and together we developed them into the final design which has been surface etched into the paving stones.”
He said the project was a continuation of the design concepts for Functions on Hastings, which can be seen on the ceiling and Hastings St frontage.
“It’s exciting to see the stories of our awa emerging in the city. We see it as being important in creating meaningful connections between people and place.”
The Municipal Building officially reopens on the weekend of August 6 and 7, with a range of community celebrations featuring games, competitions, performances and more.
Go to www.toitoivenues.co.nz for details.