Hutt at Heart
Naenae Community space
Eva Reihana (Te Rito Maioha ropu), Joni Araiti (HCC Senior Community Facilitator), Miriama Ruru (Te Rito Maioha ropu) and Kathleen (weaving student) outside the Naenae Community Space during Raranga drop in weaving

New community pop up space opens in Naenae

A new pop-up community space has opened in a shop in Hillary Court as work continues to revitalise Naenae’s town centre.

The Coco Pop Up is a space where people can meet, collaborate and share their skills and work with the community. It’s already in high demand and is hosting weaving and clay workshops, as well as community meetings.

Naenae Community Co-ordinator Joni Araiti says the space, in a shop opposite Naenae Library, has been created in response to calls from the community. She says the Voice of the Community Report and the recent work on the spatial plan both identified a need for community space in the town centre.

“Following the recent completion of the final Naenae spatial plan, work is now underway to progress long-term solutions for that, but in the short term we’ve managed to find a space that can be made available to the community to activate in whatever way they want to.”

“We know people want an active, vibrant town centre, and we know that having lots of activity makes people feel more welcome and safer here.”

She says since opening the Coco Pop-up she’s heard lots of great ideas about how the space can be used, and she welcomes anyone with ideas to drop in or get in touch.

Currently on Monday and Tuesday each week the space is open as a shared working space for anyone to come along and work and then, by popular demand, Wednesday – Friday flax weaving workshops have been taking place. These workshops were so popular when they began that they’ve been extended for several weeks.

In the evenings events like the Whakapapa of Clay Workshop have been hosted in the pop-up, igniting local creativity. The community, local artists, flax weavers etc who have been using this space are ensuring that it is becoming a lively, hub of activity, helping breath life back into making Hillary Court come alive again.

Hutt City Council is also continuing to work with the owners of the old Naenae Post Office building on a plan to return it to its former glory and make it available for the community to use. In late 2019 Council agreed to lease the building once it has been brought up to the current required seismic strength. Since then the building has been given a category 1 listing by Heritage NZ and a conservation report has now been completed so those plans can be progressed.

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