Civic and cultural precinct


We're transforming our city centre into a place where people want to live, work and play – any time of the day.

We've got a wide range of projects underway to bring this vision to life, and the civic and cultural precinct is one of the most significant.

Some of our city's most treasured buildings and institutions like our Central Library, Te Manawa Museum and Art Gallery have been identified as needing to be upgraded to meet the new earthquake standards. We're using this opportunity to take a deeper dive into how these buildings will function in the future. If we're going to be doing major construction, we want to be sure that we won't be coming back again in 5,10 or even 20 years for further upgrades to ensure they're fit for purpose.

During 2021 and 2022, we're working with key groups including these institutions to figure out how these buildings are used, what the future looks like, what is best practice and come up with a roadmap of how we plan for the future of these important facilities for our community.

As part of this project, we're also looking at the opportunity to work with our mana whenua, Rangitāne o Manawatū on a cultural facility to inform, educate and inspire our residents and visitors.

We're also looking into how inner-city living can be worked into this project. We know cities that have people living in the heart of them are vibrant, bustling and a great place to be. Housing offers great opportunities for bringing our wider city centre vision to life, but could also help fund some of these upgrades.

The area in question roams George Street, the northwest corner of The Square, and Main Street between The Square and Pitt Street. It includes the Central Library and the stretch of Council buildings, Conference and Function Centre, Te Manawa and the Art Gallery.

By adopting a coordinated vision and approach, we will create a precinct that celebrates the unique contribution and potential of each organisation while helping identify competing needs and draw the connections between user needs.

Cultural precincts are common place around the world. Think of some of the city centres you've visited... all these types of facilities are all grouped together and all complement each other. They become a hotspot for residents and visitors alike to explore, learn and have fun. And the businesses that sit alongside these facilities flourish with the increase in people visiting their space. That's exactly what we want to achieve, but with a clear Palmy identity.

In late 2022, we'll be presenting a masterplan to Council for consideration. It's likely we will be looking at getting public feedback in 2023.

This masterplan and the business case to support it is funded, and in our 10-Year Plan we have set aside budget for the seismic upgrade of both the Library and Te Manawa. Once the masterplan and business case are complete, we'll have a better idea of how much this work will cost.