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Source: Auckland Council

Supported by Eke Panuku in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Placemaking Aotearoa is calling for nominations for The Kūmara Awards to showcase placemaking that makes a difference to people and place. 

Big or small, permanent or temporary, led by locals or professionals – any project that helped transform a random space into a meaningful place that matters to people can be nominated and win a Kūmara Award.

Placemaking is an approach where people work together to make places better, not only for themselves but for others and for the place itself.

“There is fabulous placemaking happening across Tāmaki Makaurau all the time, even if we don’t always call it placemaking”, says Denise Bijoux, a founding member of Placemaking Aotearoa.

“Local things like food swap tables, a black fence offered to neighbours for chalking in Alert Level 4 lockdown, singing on the porch to make neighbours smile and much larger things like the Te Auauanga restoration and upgrade or Silo Park – anyone can be a placemaker and help create positive change, and we want to celebrate all kinds of placemaking”.

Eke Panuku, the council-controlled organisation that delivers urban regeneration across Auckland, is a proud supporter of Placemaking Aotearoa and the Kūmara Awards.  As Head of Placemaking Frith Walker is a true champion of ensuring a place-led approach is top of mind in the regeneration work Eke Panuku is leading to make our city more liveable.

“While great design and new facilities can bring much-needed regeneration to our town centres, it’s through placemaking that we build the relationships that make places we can love, reflecting the people, character and needs of each area.

“It is so exciting to know how much energy is out there in our communities, seeing people working together to create places where they feel a strong relationship to their environment and each other, which is why we are so proud to support both Placemaking Aotearoa and the Kūmara Awards.”

Bayview Traffic Safety Project, Bayview Community Centre. Photography: Paris Kirby

The Kūmara Awards premiered in 2020 in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Five placemaking teams were awarded in the inaugural year: Bayview Community Centre, The 312 Hub, Smales Farm, O.M.G Organic Market Garden and Ara Journeys.

In 2021 the Kūmara Awards have grown and will be presented in three regions:

  • Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland
  • Te Panepane o Te Ika Greater Wellington Region
  • Ōtautahi Christchurch

This year winners will be selected by local judges with vast experience in urban design, community development, public art and city management.

Sir Bob Harvey, former six-term mayor of Waitakere City, will be among the judges for the Kūmara Awards Tāmaki Makaurau.

“To me, placemaking is at the core of our lives. It creates our very existence,” says Sir Bob Harvey.

“To belong and to be free and to be welcome in a community, humble and creative, at ease with our place and all that we hold close, to have and understand a sense of history, a place of now and to pass on”.

Big or small, permanent or temporary, cheap or expensive – all sorts of placemaking projects can win a Kūmara Award, but ONLY if they’ve been nominated. So think about places that made you feel good in the past 12 months and let others know about them.

Nominate here:

Nominations are free and close on 1 October.

Kōre te kūmara e kōrero ana mo tōna ake reka. The kūmara does not brag about its own sweetness… But others do! So please share other people’s success stories and encourage them to share yours.

Collaborative Mural at Windy Ridge Primary School. Photography: Paris Kirby