The transformation of the city centre continues, with Tauranga City Council’s Customer Service Centre now open to the community at He Puna Manawa, 21 Devonport Road.
The move to Devonport Road is part of Council’s staged withdrawal from its Willow Street site, so the civic precinct can be redeveloped and Council’s leased administration building at 90 Devonport Road is built.
Before the Customer Service Centre officially opened its doors at He Puna Manawa this morning, local kaumātua Tamati Tata, of Ngāi Tamarāwaho, led a blessing of the space. Karakia, or ancient prayers, were recited to create a safe place for those working from the location and to clear the way for a new environment, bringing the community through to access all the help and information they can access onsite.
Commission Chair Anne Tolley says it’s exciting to see the vibrant community space at He Puna Manawa coming to life.
“It’s less than six months since we confirmed this would be the temporary home for our Customer Service Centre and Central Library, and just over three months since we held the pre-construction blessing, so it’s wonderful to see what has already been achieved,” says Anne.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to help breathe new life into this part of the city and generate support for the surrounding businesses, while our other civic projects progress in the background."
Customer Services Manager Margaret Batchelar says her team is looking forward to welcoming the community into the new space at He Puna Manawa, located next to the Rialto Cinema entrance on Devonport Road.
“You’ll find the same friendly faces providing the same high level of service that people expect from their council,” says Margaret.
“This is a chance to trial new ways of working before our permanent home is built, so we’re looking forward to hearing what people think.”
Work is still underway to develop the space at He Puna Manawa that will house the Central Library. The fitout is on track to be completed by the start of April and the Library will open soon after.
The Customer Service Centre will be based at He Puna Manawa until the construction of Council’s leased administration building at 90 Devonport Road is completed. The Central Library will remain at He Puna Manawa until its new space is built at the civic precinct.
About the name He Puna Manawa
The name He Puna Manawa was gifted to Council by mana whenua, Ngāi Tamarāwaho and Ngāti Tapu.
Translated literally, He Puna Manawa means ‘heart of the spring’. It can also be described as an oasis; a collective pool created by many springs feeding in.
It was felt the name captured the spirit of the exciting, vibrant and interactive hub that will occupy the site. It is also a nod to the area’s history - in the past, the area was fertile and productive, with freshwater springs located around the area close to where He Puna Manawa is located.
Today, we see the name of Spring Street and a prominent sculpture by the late master carver Tuti Tukaokao depicting a calabash in the form of a fountain on the corner of Spring and Grey Streets, which all reference this heritage.
More information about the civic redevelopment projects can be found here.