News, Events and Culture

Broadway lined with flags for Festival of Cultures

Friday March 13 2015

This week Broadway will receive a vibrant makeover with flags - flags representing the different cultures of Palmerston North residents.

Palmerston North City Council is supporting the re-energising of Broadway through an artistic response with the aim of making public places spaces where people want to spend time.

Stump Flags

The interim endeavour is timed to support the popular Festival of Cultures (Saturday, 22 March) which attracted more than 10,000 people last year.

Mayor Grant Smith says the initiative is being co-ordinated by Councillor Rachel Bowen, with the help of Council staff and members of the community and Broadway businesses.

"Broadway has a special place in the hearts of Palmerstonians, and while it is in a state of transition we need to use what we've got to make it a place where people want to be."

Councillor Bowen says 20 flags, representing some of our city's different cultures, will be wrapped around or attached to the tree stumps in a bid to bring colour to Broadway during the Festival.

We also have a competition to see who can correctly name the countries represented by flags on Broadway. Entries will be available from Broadway retailers and Councils website. Entries need to be dropped in to Council's front-of-house on The Square and a winner will be drawn from the ballot on Tuesday 7 April. They and a friend or care-giver will then have morning tea with the mayor.

"The flags are an interim response and that project will be followed by another colourful endeavour to mark Graduation Week."

Behind the scenes, Councillor Bowen says the team is working with the arts community of Palmerston North to transform tree stumps into carved installations.

"We're wanting to create a unique experience special to Broadway."

Councillor Bowen says as the carvings will only have a lifespan of about five years further work lies ahead.

"It's a fun project that will celebrate who we are and help lift interest in Broadway. The long-term solution might be a series of interim installations along the lines of what we're about to create. Or, it may be something more permanent. Regardless, it will comply with the Central City Framework which aims to make public spaces places where people want to spend time."

Earlier this year, the trees in Broadway were removed following a petition to Council by Broadway businesses. Last year, Council worked with local businesses and community groups to create a 'demonstration pod' which has helped re-energise the pedestrian crossing through the use of Astroturf, seating, planter boxes and games.

City Planner, David Murphy says his team have had plenty of good feedback from the public and businesses about the 'demonstration pod'. Anoushka Treur, marketing and promotions coordinator at The Regent says since the installation of the Astro-turf she's never seen the area outside The Regent so utilised. "In all my days of working at the Regent I have not witnessed people enjoy the area outside as they have been. Keep up the good work."

The 'demonstration pod' included an initiative aimed at 'Lighting up Broadway' with new light columns, designed and constructed by local artist Kerry Little, along with lighting in the trees in planter boxes.

Mr Murphy says the Council kicked off the Broadway project with funding of $50,000 and worked together with a number of community members and Broadway retailers, many of whom have contributed to the project in kind and monetarily.

"The aim of the 'demonstration pod' and lighting project were to show how a welcoming and vibrant city space can be created by taking a quick, light and flexible approach to the design of a public space. I think we've achieved that. I am looking forward to working on more initiatives that will help create vibrant and interesting spaces on Broadway for people to enjoy," says Mr Murphy.