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Source: Auckland Council

Sheets of paper are transformed into works of arts as children dip their brushes into the water-colours spread along a table at Randwick Park’s Manu Tukutuku.

Arts 4 Us members Serena Corless and Zoe Dunster, there every Thursday afternoon in school term time from 3:45-5:15pm, deliver a drop-in session open to all.Funded by the Manurewa Local Board, Serena says they just provide the material and space, the participants provide the creativity. The board’s funding helps pay for advertising, venue hire, facilitation and coordinator costs and administration.

“We aim for primary kids, but we are flexible because it’s about inclusivity. The kids are amazing, they never tire of turning the ideas in their heads into art.”

“We’re grateful to the board for making it possible. A few southern local boards give us grants so we can undertake programmes in their areas, but we do have a special relationship with Manu Tukutuku, where the people are always welcoming.”

The facility was built with board support after residents called for somewhere that could serve the community in the wake of social issues. The vision was to recognise the diversity of the neighbourhood and the challenges that could bring, but to turn those differences into positives and cultural collaboration.

Manurewa local Board chair Joseph Allan says the community owes those who helped deliver Manu Tukutuku a vote of thanks.

“It’s a place that is vital to the community. It’s given locals focus, it’s connected the community and brought them together to support and to learn from each other.”

Since its inception, the community centre has extended its vision to turning Manu Tukutuku into a place that encourages others to use the space so that community projects, sports and youth groups, corporate groups and events can all occur.  Serena has a simple message. “As long as we keep getting support for our programmes we’ll keep coming. Why wouldn’t we? We love it here.”

Applications for the Manurewa Local Board local grants funding round is open until 27 March. Details about how to apply for a grant are here.