Duntepoti Dunedin main street to reflect Kāi Tahu culture, values ​​and stories

Southern Māori heritage and culture will inspire the revamp of the main street of Ōtepoti Dunedin.

George Street - Farmers block.

George Street – Farmers block.
Photo: Supplied / Dunedin City Council

The Dunedin City Council unveiled the designs for the $ 28.2 million George Street Retail Quarter today.

The council said it wanted to create a more people-friendly space with new paving, street furniture and public art.

Rūnaka-owned consulting firm Aukaha was contracted to work on behalf of mana whenua.

Aukaha’s mana whenua advisory panellist, Megan Potiki, said it was paramount Māori felt welcome in the CBD, and those who were not so familiar with their Kāi Tahu culture have an opportunity to learn and understand more.

“This is a chance for the descendants of Kāi Tahu to reinstate themselves back in the city and be visible in our community,” she said.

“Recognizing ourselves and seeing our culture, values ​​and stories visibly in the City Center, whether it be through art, kupu Māori (Māori words) and whakatauki (Māori proverbs) is long overdue, and we are excited to bring our history and whakapapa back to the fore where our children will finally see themselves and their tupuna (ancestors) represented. “

George Street - Golden Center / Meridian block

George Street – Golden Center / Meridian block
Photo: Supplied / Dunedin City Council

Central City Plan project director Glen Hazelton says the design reflected Ōtepoti’s diverse culture and history, and the public feedback received since the prcess started in 2011.

“The retail quarter upgrade presents an opportunity to express and celebrate Kāi Tahu cultural identity and embed mana whenua values ​​and narratives in our streetscapes, which has largely been physically and visually absent until now,” he said.

The design included public art, storytelling, and text passages from renowned Dunedin writers to acknowledge the city’s status as a UNESCO City of Literature.

“Put together, the different elements outlined in the developed designs will improve the safety, accessibility and amenity of the area, and help create a vibrant, compelling destination where people will want to spend time and money,” Hazelton said.

New Edinburgh Way block

New Edinburgh Way block
Photo: Supplied / Dunedin City Council

Work was already underway on some of the surrounding streets to prepare for the upgrade.

That included replacing old water supply and wastewater pipes – some date back to the late 1800s.

Building is scheduled to start next month.

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