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Last modified: 29 Jul 2020 10:29am

A young maori man with a beard and a black jacket gestures with a tokotoko as he leads a group walking with bowed heads across a park

A blessing ceremony led by Te Taumutu Rūnanga has prepared the way for work to begin on the new Rolleston town centre.

The ceremony this morning blessed the ground for construction of Te Ara Ātea, the new library, community and cultural facility, which will be the first stage in the town centre development.

The Council has appointed Armitage Williams Construction Limited as the contractor to build Te Ara Ātea. Work on the site is expected to begin in November, and the building is expected to be completed in early 2021.

The Council has also appointed Isaac Construction to carry out the transport and infrastructure work for the town centre, starting with work on Tennyson Street, which will begin at the same time as the Te Ara Ātea construction.

Selwyn Mayor Sam Broughton says the projects are an exciting step for the town and the district. Te Ara Ātea—a name gifted by Te Taumutu Rūnanga which means “the unobstructed trail to the world and beyond”—was the perfect project to begin the town centre development.

“Te Ara Ātea will be the heart of the new town centre that will take us into the future, creating a hub that will meet our growing needs and bring communities together,” he says.

“It’s appropriate that we start with a place designed for all generations to gather, learn and discover. It’s been good to partner with Te Taumutu and it’s also fitting to start with a project connected with mana whenua that celebrates our history and also looks to the future.”

The building, designed by architects Warren and Mahoney, will sit on the edge of the new town square and be the heart of the town centre, which will also feature recreational space along with commercial, retail and hospitality developments.

The roading upgrades around the town centre will create a low-speed, people-friendly streetscape. Roads and laneways around Te Ara Ātea and the adjacent civic and commercial spaces will be attractively landscaped, cycle and pedestrian-friendly, and provide for both on and off-street car parking.