A culture of creativity, woven for all – te hononga auaha o nga iwi katoa.
This is the vision that inspires Twin Rivers Community Art Centre, in Ngaruawahia; a vision they are achieving, after 14 years of providing creative opportunities for local communities.
For four of those years, the arts centre didn’t have a home of its own (it camped out in the Ngaruawahia Community House), but it carried on regardless.
“We are firm believers in the importance of creative community development projects,” says centre manager, Jane Stevens. “The value of creative projects in fostering strong and vibrant communities is often overlooked, but we know first-hand the impact that artistic and cultural activities have on people’s lives.”
These days, the arts centre has a venue and big plans for the future. A community steering group is being set up to oversee the development of a purpose-built creative centre.
“It’s a direction we’ve been wanting to go in for a while, as it means we’ll be able to collaborate and offer more,” says Jane.
Already, the centre attracts people from right across Ngaruawahia and surrounding communities: from established artists, to tamariki, to people who have never turned their hand to anything artistic before.
“When someone tells us they don’t have a creative bone in their body, we see it as a challenge,” says Jane. “All kinds of people, from all types of backgrounds come through our door. We provide a place where they can stand tall and through creativity express where they are in their lives right now.”
Workshops, exhibitions, school holiday programmes and art therapy are all part of the mix, with celebrations and commemorations a particular focus. A recent Matariki project created from the artwork of 150 local children from the seven local primary schools, providing an ongoing source of pride for the tamariki and their whanau.
Trust Waikato was pleased to donate $20,000 towards the arts centre’s operating costs in 2015/2016, as part of a multi-year donation.