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Sunday, 05 May 2013 19:25

The Whakatane Community Hub Featured

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These downloads begin with the final stage of the project - the design of two facilities - one a building rehab, the other, a green-field site. The designs were completed over a three month period by students and lecturers at the Unitec School of Architecture in Auckland, working closely with the Whakatane Community and a group of social service providers who had initiated and funded the project. Whakatane suffers from some of the worst social statistics in New Zealand:
  • High youth suicide rates
  • High domestic violence rates
  • High substance abuse rates
  • Low academic achievement rates
  • High truancy rates

Faced with these circumstances, the town's service providers decided to co-ordinate their efforts and to share space and resources. In addition, they also adoted a multi-faceted model of community health which formed the bais of the facilty designs. This model included all of the facets of ife necessary for a balanced and healthy life experience.


To download the FINAL design report, click here
To learn about theearlier stages of the project in more detail scroll down the page and click where shown for different stages and reports.
The Whakatane Community Hub is a project that was initiated in early 2012 by two social service provider agencies in Whakatane - Pou Whakaaro and Supporting Families with a grant from the East Bay Trust. The first part of the project involved a feasibility study to test the need for a one-stop-shop where service providers could share space and resources in order to improve their effectiveness. in serving the community. Clients had found it difficult to navigate the widely dispersed agencies, while the agencies themselves had found the ease of referrals being compromised. It was believed that a more effective delivery of service could be achieved through a process of co-location and shared resources. Although the study began as a means of improving provider service, it soon developed into a more general and critical appraisal of the concept of community health and development. It became clear from the discussions that current models of Community Health were inadequate to the task of actually creating healthy communities - that the health of a community is dependent upon a wide range of connected and interactive issues, each of which must be addressed. (above)
Over time we came to recognise that while the small town of Whakatane has much to commend it - it is the "sunshine capital" of New Zealand, it has New Zealand's best beach and it has access tio unparallelled natural recreational resources - it also has some of the worst social problems in the country. It has one of the highest rates of unemployment and truancy; it has the highest rate of family violence and the highest youth suicide rate. For a few it is a fantastic place to live. For many life hn Whakatae is a struggle. Hence the issue of community health became an overarching and unifying issue of the study. We set out to determine whether there was a need for a Community Centre in Whakatane and this involved a preliminary analysis of other Community Centres throughout New Zealand. To download the PDF click on the image below.
To download the survey click on the image

The next part of the feasibility study involved two workshops with the many providers in the town. In these, it was unanimously agreed that a co-location of services would be a very good idea. The workshops investigated what services and resources might be shared and the feasibility of a number of available sites in the town. A Final Report on those workshops can be downloaded by clicking on the image below
Click on image to download
The Report also includes the results of a community-wide online survey to investigate the unmet social needs of the community. This survey was carried out in mid-2012 and solicited the views of the town's youth, adults and elderly - both Maori and Pakeha. The results were extremely informative, and indicated  critical need for some kind of facility that might address these unmet needs in a wide variety of areas (education, leisure activities, social intercourse, cultural exchange, etc. The survey confirmed for us the need to address the wider issues of commnunity health outlined above. It became clear both from the views and responses of providers as well as from the results of the online survey that the existing models and practices of community and economic development were failing to meet the real needs of the community, and the most vulnerable citizens were not being adequately supported. These common and acceted models and processes of community development - based as they are on the provision of infrastructure systems and incentives to attract commercial and residential development are no longer viable. They are of a time when full employment, cheap oil and credit were the norm. Times have changed. Widespread unemployment and urban drift are the new norm for small towns such as Whakatane which increasingly struggle to attract investment. In the place of these outdated models, we need a new strategy that is based not on the top-down development practices of the past, but on a grassroots, bottom-up process of community engagement and participation - a collaborative approach that draws on the skills and knowledge that lies dormant in our communities. Nobody is going to come and save us. We have to create our own healthy, sustainable communities. This, then, is the philosophy behind the drive for a  develoment process that has at its centre a clear notion of community health and well-being. The reasoning behind this philosophy can be found in another document - Growth, Community and Change: A Future for Whakatane? that can be downloaded by clicking on the image above. that can be downloaded by clicking on the image below.


To download the PDF click on the image

This PDF lays out a draft critical analysis of the current policies and practices of Community and Economic Development in the small town of Whakatane in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. It is written in five parts - and is intended as a series publication over time in the local newspaper, the Whakatane Beacon. In its draft form it is somewhat academic in style - this is intentionally done as a way of underpinning the theoretical basis of the critique with some background references. The final version will be more "readable". There are five threads to the argument.

  • The first is social. We live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet, but for many it is an economic hell, with high unemployment, high youth suicides, high family violence and poor academic achievement.
  • The second thread is demographic. Birth rates are declining and being outpaced by deaths and migration. We are in a state of chronic  population decline
  • The migration is to the cities (Auckland chiefly) or Australia where there is plenty of work and much better wages.
  • The third thread is global economics. Software and robotic developments are outpacing job creation, leading to a state of global dis-employment and a probably permanent recession
  • The fourth is about outdated policies of economic development that are still tied to an outdated and now unrealistic belief industrial growth and job creation.
  • The fifth is about education and the development of a  creative and entrepreneurial culture - a new model of community and economic development more suited to these emerging conditions.

The Whakatane Community Hub as an Instrument for Community Development

In the feasibility study, the final workshop of service providers and general public reviewed the results of the earlier workshop and the community survey and from that, recommended that the process continue through to Stage 2 - the development of design proposals for a new community facility for Whakatane - a Community Hub. These design proposals would also include: the development of a design brief, a cost-feasibility study, a business plan, a sustainability analysis and a public relations campaign. The intention is to bring together the proposal for a one-stop social service shop with a community facility that addresses the expressed desires of the young and old in our community for a place that can serve their own pressing needs. 

The intention of the Whakatane Community Hub is to provide a venue through which the community can address its own difficulties and creatively develop solutions to the problems uncovered in the survel - problems of education, counselling, leisure and recreational acticvities all drawing on the previously untapped resource of skills and knowledge that exist throughout the community for the benefit of the whole commnunity. At the same time we saw that it was imortant to ensure  that these opportunities are extended to everyone. The summary PDF that explains all of this (together with some similar examples) can be downloaded by clicking the image below.


To download the Conceptual Hub Report click on the image above

 The Whakatane Community Hub Design Process

The next step  in the realisation of the Whakatane Community Hub is already uubnder way. The isolation of two or three site alternatives and the design of a facility to test the cost feasibility and the overall sustainability of the proposal begins at the end of July. The Unitec school of Architecture in Auckland has agreed to run the design process as a studio design project, involving 24 architecture students and staff over a three month preiod. These will be jointed by 8 high school students from Whakatane working as interns - helping the architecture students to better understand the needs of the Whakatane community and at the same time acquiring a first-hand experience of tertiary education and some professional design skills. At the end of the process the design team will produce schematic designs, cost estimates and a business plan that tests the economic vialbility of the proposals.

Child Abuse in Whakatane: Child Poverty Action Report


Click on image to download the Report

In July 2013 the New Zealand Child Poverty Action group released their report on Child Abuse in New Zealand. The Report revealed that Whakatane had the second-highest rate of child abuse in the country. It also noted that although there was no0 evidence (contrary to Government assertions and popular myth) that there was no relationshiip between beneficiary numbers and child abuse. It diid, however point to clear relationships between levels of poverty and proportions of youth in the population. This should be of concern to the people of Whakatane since we have high unemployment and poverty rates and one of the highest youth populations (30%) in the country. What was most shockking about the report was its finding that the level of child violence in Whakatane has doubled between 2008-2012. This is a much needed wake-up call that we are failing to address the real needs of our community and that the Whakatane Community Hub must go ahead!

Stage 1 Student Designs for the Countdown Building, Kopeopeo


Unitec students at Toroa Marae, Wairaka

Here is a downloadable PDF oof the first round of Unitec Architecture student designs for the Whakatane Community Hub, situated at the old Countdown supermarket in Kopeopeo. There are six designs and each one has beendone to explore the development potential of the site for the locationn of the Community Hub. These are not the final designs. There are two more rounds of design to come before we reach the final definitive version. But please feel free to download the PDF and to offer your feedback and comments to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Alternatively you may post comments on the facebook page at Whakatane Community Hub.

To download the STAGE 1 PDF (Completed 13th August) click here

The latest STAGE 2 of the design proposals (Completed 27th August) can now be downloaded by clicking here

To View the Pattern Language Patterns (briefing information for the design) click here

This is also only the first site that is being explored. There is another site that we will be investigating in the same way. The details of those designs will be posted at the appropriate time

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