Case Study - Te Awahou Riverside Cultural Park
Te Awahou Nieuwe stroom (TANS) is a cultural centre that opened its doors in late 2017. With a price tag of $8.6m and an action plan that dated back to 2009, this state of the art facility was a long time coming for the local community, in a town that has many families descended from Dutch immigrants.
The site was designed by Auckland’s Bossley Architects, to link the town’s Main Street and Foxton River Loop. It contains exhibition areas, the town library and “living room”, council services and an iSite. It houses the Oranjehof Dutch museum and the Piriharakeke Generation Inspiration Centre – a Māori museum, cultural centre and learning space with a special focus on the arts, culture and experience of hapu from all of Aotearoa.
The name of the complex means “the new stream”, uniting the Dutch and Te Reo languages. Te Awahou is also the traditional name for the town and the name of the stream that flows under the new building. Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom was created through a partnership between Horowhenua District Council, Te Taitoa Māori o Te Awahou Trust and the Dutch Connection Museum Trust. Te Awahou Riverside Cultural Park (TARCP) is the area that contains this state of the art facility, the Flax Stripper Musueum, Whare Manaaki Māori Gallery, the DeMolen windmill and the horse drawn cart next door to the Dutch Oven Café.
THE BRIEFTANS already had a logo and basic guidelines in place, but little else to develop a brand upon. We had to bring TANS to life. Working in conjunction with the Oranjehof, Piriharakeke, Horowhenua District Council and Horowhenua Tourism brands we were tasked with creating an umbrella brand for the wider area – Te Awahou Riverside Cultural Park thus relying on strict brand guidelines that we developed and adhered to.
Our idea was to create something adaptable and interchangeable, to highlight all the different offerings that the area held. To achieve this we needed a distinctive style. We were stoked to commission Greg Straight, a renowned New Zealand illustrator to bring our vision to life. Greg toured the Foxton and Foxton Beach areas with us to get a feel for the surrounds and he developed illustrations that Lemonface Design then used to piece together larger illustrations and include in the marketing materials.
We settled on a quirky, hand drawn, expressive, raw, but ultimately friendly style. Once this style was approved and in place, we then applied it to:
- Website for TARCP
- Launch event marketing material for TANS/TARCP
- Sponsorship booklets for Oranjehof and Piriharakeke generation inspiration centre
- Wall illustration
- Promotional items (tote bags, magnets, postcards, bookmarks, etc)
- Social media
- Signage (in 3 x languages)
- Pull up banners
- Print and digital advertising
- Multiple templates
The biggest single challenge was working with multiple partners, decision makers and personalities. It was a challenge to manage collective expectations with third party suppliers we enlisted to bring the dream to life (signage contractors, offset printers, digital printers, web developers, illustrator, exhibition installers etc). And of course we had a launch date. SET IN STONE to meet. Which of course we did.
150,000 locals, visitors from out of town and international tourists frequent the building every year.
In 2018, the facility won a number of architecture and cultural awards, including an Project Excellence Award Museums Aotearoa Award judges considered Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom: “a ground-breaking three-way cultural partnership. The result is a feeling of real community ownership for the centre.”
The Hon Maggie Barry, Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage, commented: “As keepers and kaitiaki of our stories and our precious taonga, the local museums and galleries and whare taonga play an incredibly important role in our sense of identity as New Zealanders in a multi-cultural sense, ... [this is a] world-class facility”.
The Foxton community hub was named as NEC Project of the Year at the international NEC Awards 2018 held in London in June.
Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom was also nominated as a finalist for the Creative New Zealand EXCELLENCE Award for Best Creative Place in the Local Government New Zealand EXCELLENCE Awards 2018.
Ngati Raukawa hapu collective Te Taitoa Māori o te Awahou’s chairwoman Hayley Bell said the Piriharakeke Generation Inspiration Centre was an exciting venue for sharing the stories and knowledge of local people with rangitahi and visitors.
“Many people are saying ‘wow, we can’t believe we have got this place here in Foxton’.
“I think they’ll see themselves in the world around them and that will make them feel strength and belonging, and that they have a special place in Aotearoa New Zealand.”
Museums Aotearoa described Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom, which is a partnership between Horowhenua District Council, the Dutch Connection Trust and Te Taitoa Māori o Te Awahou Trust, as “a ground-breaking three-way cultural partnership. The result is a feeling of real community ownership for the centre.”