Landmarks: Fantastic projects lauded

Top guns: Supreme awards winners The Knowledge Bank team at Thursday night’s Landmarks Awards, with Acting Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst. They were presented with the Jeremy Dwyer Trophy.
Jewels: One of the stained glass ceiling panels in the Hutchinson’s Flooring, Furniture and Interiors building, restored by glass artist John Owens.

The artistic, historic and architectural gems that make up the winners in this year’s Landmarks Awards were announced on Thursday night (August 31).

The awards, held every two years, recognise projects that preserve and enhance Hastings’ unique ‘personality’, from outstanding public art and innovative architecture, to excellent landscaping and the preservation of historic buildings.

Acting mayor Sandra Hazlehurst presented this year’s awards, for projects ranging from small to large, historic to new, and from very public to a little more hidden.

Taking out the Jeremy Dwyer Trophy, the supreme award, was The Hawke’s Bay Knowledge Bank. Its volunteers work to digitise the region’s historic records, many from family collections, so they are not lost forever.

The organisation was set up by James Morgan, who believed the work should be done “by the people of today for the people of tomorrow”. He brought together a group of volunteers and trained them in the technology to enable the records to be preserved forever and widely viewed through its website.

The Hawke’s Bay Knowledge Bank is housed within Stoneycroft, the Hastings District Council-owned listed historic homestead on Omahu Road; built in 1875.

One of the smaller but very important projects recognised on Thursday was the preservation of two historic leadlight ceiling panels in the Hutchinson’s Flooring, Furniture and Interiors building, in Heretaunga St.

The work was carried out for Hutchinson’s by glass art specialist John Owens who was lured out of retirement to undertake the painstaking work. As the Landmarks citation said: “It’s not always the big projects that catch the Landmarks Trust’s eye . . . We commend Hutchinson’s for their dedication to funding and completing a project that preserves these beautiful features which are so easily lost in this transient world.”

Four building projects were recognised for their excellence, two new buildings and two restorations.

One perhaps not so well known across the broader population is Te Waiaia, the new Maori language suite at Hastings Girls’ High School. The design is reflective of a traditional whare “reimagined for the 21st century”, the citation said. With its outdoor performance space and landscaped seating area it is: “sympathetic to the surroundings and adds an element well-described by Te Waiaia, meaning very beautiful”.

Another new building, the Waimarama Surf Lifesaving Tower, is “iconic and unique to its area and community” its citation said. Of particular note was the art work by Phil Belcher, sandblasted onto the concrete piers on each side of

the tower. The gift from Nga Hapu au Waimarama “speaks of places and legends of the area and is there to protect and adorn the tower”.

High praise went to the Havelock North community and Hastings District Council for the relocation of what had been “the old, rather sad Havelock North Cricket Pavilion . . . sitting forlornly” on the edge of what was the Havelock North Domain. Now the historic building is the crown jewel in the revamped and newly named Village Green. “A negative was turned into positive with the relocation of the pavilion to centre stage.”

At 105 years of age, the Hawke’s Bay Electric Power Board Building in Eastbourne St East has had a major facelift, preserving its original Edwardian neo-classical features and adding sympathetic extensions. “On a number of counts this building has elements of distinction: architecture, historical, aesthetic and social – from the large rear section came power . . . for the first time to many of the townspeople in the then Borough of Hastings,” the citation said.

A piece of exceptional public art that is ‘unmissable’ to those walking or cycling the limestone track between Whakatu and Clive is Te Papa Otanenuiarangi. The ornately carved pou, designed by the late William Jameson, features an ornate ruru (native owl) overlooking Kohupatiki Marae. The Landmarks citation says the pou “embodies the pre-European history of a rich, navigable river and land protected by kahikatea trees where ruru abounded”.

Hastings unique street-art has added a dimension of “surprise and civic pride” to the city, since the first Hastings Icon was installed in 2016. The works are complemented by on-line text explaining the subject and their importance to the history of Hastings.
The Hastings Icons had been created by artist Adrian Thornton with the text by Jess Soutar Barron. The project is managed by Arts Inc Heretaunga and Hastings District Council. “The arts work . . . have been created as a loving salute to Hastings’ rich fabric of moments and personalities,” the citation said.

Also lauded was the Lions’ Community Playground in Windsor Park, developed by Hastings Host Lions Club and Hastings District Council. “It is a delightful and much-used enhancement of what was an under-used section of the park.”

The performing arts were also recognised, with the Edible Fashion Awards cited for successfully nurturing creative ambition and talents. “From modest beginnings in 2006 . . . the Edible Fashion Awards now draw up to 150 entrants of all ages from all over New Zealand, and an audience of 1200 . . . The standard of entries has wowed audiences, judges and sponsors alike and the awards night has justifiably become a highlight of the Hastings event calendar.”