A new Pan Pasifika community centre in central Hamilton is a step closer after Hamilton City Council today (17 November) agreed to lease part of Hinemoa Park to the K’aute Pasifka Trust.
The Hamilton-based charitable trust plans to create a $10.6M multi-purpose community hub on the land, beginning with refurbishment of a former bowling clubhouse on the site.
At today’s Council meeting, Councillors voted unanimously to transfer ownership of the clubhouse building to K’aute Pasifika once the Trust has funding in place for the first stage of the Pan Pasifika Community Hub.
The Council also agreed to grant the Trust a 30-year lease on 0.8ha of Hinemoa Park land to build the hub.
The decisions clear the way for the next steps in the project, which was granted resource consent in October 2019, with initial funding pledged by Trust Waikato of $2.1M.
The lease is conditional on the Trust getting resource consents and obtaining full funding for each facility before construction begins and will be reviewed every three years.
K’aute Pasifika had applied for $8M from the Provincial Growth Fund as part of the Government’s COVID-19 recovery package.
Councillors were today told this application was unsuccessful, but the Trust had sufficient funds to refurbish the clubhouse building and 80% of the funding for the education and learning centre.
K’aute Pasifika had an underwrite arrangement in place for the shortfall but was confident it could raise the remaining 20% itself and also secure funds for the final stage of the hub, a $4.8M community fale planned to open in August 2022.
Mayor Paula Southgate says she and other Councillors were extremely disappointed to hear today this unique project had not been supported by the Provincial Growth Fund, despite very positive feedback from Government ministers.
“My personal support for this project has never wavered, and never will. So I’ll be advocating very strongly for K’aute Pasifika in Wellington because, from what I can see, it ticks all the boxes for central government support.
“This project has had to fight very hard over 20 years to get to this point and those behind it have done an outstanding job. For K’aute Pasifika to win the unanimous support of all Councillors today is a wonderful reflection on the depth of support for this project and how far this Council has come in this space. Now we just need central government to step up and do its part.”
The Trust will use the refurbished clubhouse to offer health and wellbeing services to the community and plans to have this facility up and running by next August. It expects to open the education and learning centre in December 2021.
The Pan Pasifika hub project, three years in the making, will be a New Zealand first and aims to create a place of healing, learning and support for all community members who wish to access its services.
The hub is also intended to breathe life into a large part of the city’s West Town Belt – a 54ha network of parks and gully on the fringe of central Hamilton.
Mayor Southgate says the facility will provide a great resource not just for Hamilton’s Pasifika and wider community, but for people throughout the Waikato region. It will provide one central place where people can access a wide range of targeted services.