Members of the WRAF, consisting of Mayors of participating councils, recommended at the Friday 27 September meeting to award funding to 11 of the Wellington region’s top cultural and environmental assets, to a total of $880,500 in this second year of the fund’s existence.
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, who chairs the WRAF, said the committee’s recommendations were unanimously agreed.
"The strength of these applications underlined what cultural and environmental treasures we have in the Wellington region," said Mayor Wade-Brown. "Members of the fund clearly saw the value to the region of these organisations and their initiatives, regardless of the physical location.
"This list includes attractions that benefit the region now and want to expand, such as Pukaha Mt Bruce and the Festival of the Arts, and exciting new proposals. The Mayors were supportive of the Ocean Exploration Centre taking its next steps, contingent on Central Government funding.
"The WRAF fund seeks to promote projects that will make a real difference for the region. There were many worthwhile organisations that we had to turn down for funding so there’s a need to grow the fund," said Mayor Wade-Brown.
WRAF funding criteria include long-term contribution to the region’s economy; demonstrating a clear need for additional funding; and all the funded organisations have regional partnerships.
The recommendations are:
- BATS Theatre – $102,500 for fitting out the interior of the upgraded theatre at 1 Kent Terrace
- Circa Theatre – $32,500 towards support for developing a waterfront ‘hub’
- NZ Festival of the Arts - $45,500 towards a study on future development of the Festival
- NZ Opera Limited – $50,000 towards educational programmes in 2014
- Orchestra Wellington – $100,000 for operational support for outreach and community development programmes
- Pukaha Mount Bruce – $50,000 towards the development of a walk through aviary
- Te Papa – $150,000 toward activities for the Matariki Festival in 2014 from regional galleries and organisations
- Wellington Marine Conservation Trust – $100,000 towards phase two of the Ocean Exploration Centre Project (subject to the Trust’s application to the MBIE Tourism Growth Partnership Fund Grant being successful in the coming year)
- Wellington Museums Trust – $100,000 towards the Capital E Arts Festival for Children
- Wellington Zoo and Zealandia – $100,000 for phase two of the Nature Connections Project
- Mahara Gallery – $50,000 to progress the development of the Field Collection Gallery to exhibit significant Frances Hodgkins works
Initiated in 2011, the Fund focuses on the attractiveness and vitality of the Wellington Region. Wellington City, Upper Hutt, Hutt City, Masterton District Council and the Kapiti Coast District Council contributed to the combined fund.
Mayor Wade-Brown said that the Mayors agreed to invite the incoming Porirua, Carterton and South Wairarapa councils, which previously declined to participate, to join the fund.
"We also agreed to recommend to all incoming councils, following this October’s local government elections, that funding increases over coming years. We’ve identified the value of this fund and the attractions it supports, now we want to improve it," she said.