News, Events and Culture

New Placemaking Initiative for Broadway to Replace Tree Stumps

Friday September 4 2015

Twenty three trees were felled in the Avenue in February and a selection panel made up of design experts, iwi carvers and a representative from Broadway property owners was convened to consider what to do with the stumps.

The panel has recommended that the stumps are cut flush with the ground by the Palmerston North City Council and replaced with up to twenty planter boxes, containing harakeke/flax in alternating colours.

Neil Wallace of the selection panel says the Highbury Weavers will own the flax, tend to it and harvest from the plants.  They will weave it into taonga and may, as appropriate, gift them to Te Manawa Museum of Art, Science and History.

"Te Manawa will record this story of healing and revitalisation and celebrate this win," he says.

Mr Wallace says the project will be known as the Pu Harakeke Programme.

He says planter boxes are already an attractive feature on Broadway and this project will extend the concept.

The boxes would feature motifs of native birds.

"The harakeke could bring native birds such as the Fantail and Tui to the street," he says.

The panel hopes the community will help install the planter boxes and that this event could coincide with Broadway's Pulse Urban Festival on November 29.

The panel originally considered turning the stumps into carvings but rejected the idea because the wood is too soft and in many cases, splitting from the top down.

Mr Wallace says the Pu Harakeke Programme is culturally, historically and aesthetically appropriate and can be done at a reasonable cost.

Highbury Weaver Teresa Martin wishes to invite the community to consult and participate in this programme "embracing the children of Papatuanuku our Mother Earth, while retaining the wairua, tikanga and mana of Papaioea/Palmerston North".

Council will need to approve the levelling of the tree stumps at an upcoming meeting.

Palmerston North Mayor Grant Smith is welcoming the initiative.

"The harakeke/flax will bring more life, colour and vibrancy to Broadway. The Programme will encourage people to spend more time there, it is in sympathy with our region and fits in well with our Placemaking strategy for the City."

Mr Smith says there are a number of Placemaking initiatives being worked on following the visit of Australian Placemaking expert Peter Smith last month.

"We're working on more art installations, outdoor movies and other events. Watch this space," he says.