Outside view

Nau mai, haere mai ki Te Ara Ātea. Welcome to the unobstructed trail to the world and beyond.

Te Ara Ātea is the soon-to-be mānawa of Rolleston’s new town centre. A multifunctional civic centre, it is going to be a place of discovery, community gathering, and sharing knowledge.

What’s actually going to be in the building though?

As well as being a library and council service centre, Te Ara Ātea will house a community lounge with a fireplace and attached cafe. It will have spaces that can be booked for meetings, presentations and performances, as well as a tamariki zone.

Te Ara Ātea will cater for creativity and nourish your cultural soul. Its music studio will be crammed with instruments and production tools. You will find 3D printers and laser cutters in the workshop area. Art exhibitions and performances will be ongoing. The jewel in the crown, however, is going to be the waka huia with beautifully curated taonga displays.

Whether you’re looking for a quiet reflective spot, creative hub, a sensory experience, or a good read, Te Ara Ātea will have it.

And that’s just inside the building.

Te Ara Ātea is designed for you to flow freely from its inside to outdoor spaces, where you will find accessible raised gardens, edible plants, an area for a farmers’ market, and seating.

This is going to be an inclusive place for you to learn, connect with family and friends, and meet new people.

Take a look

When does it open?

Te Ara Ātea opens officially on 20 November, stretching into the next day and lasting the weekend.

More than just the opening of a building, it is going to a celebration of Selwyn’s culture, history and future. Iwi and council leaders, residents and media will be there. And yes, we’ve invited Jacinda.

Mark the dates in your calendar. Come and celebrate Te Ara Ātea, the new mānawa of our town.

Outside of building

The story behind the name

Te Taumutu Runanga has gifted the name, Te Ara Ātea, to the community.

Te Ara Ātea means unobstructed trail to the world and beyond. The name expresses a notion that this is a place for learning, gathering, connecting, exploring and celebrating the district’s heritage and people.

Based near the south-eastern corner of Te Waihora (Lake Ellesmere), Te Taumutu Rūnanga is one of the 18 papatipu rūnanga of Ngāi Tahu, the principal Māori iwi of Te Waipounamu (South Island).

Ngāi Tahu individuals exist within their whānau. That whānau lives within a clan, or groups of whānau known as a hapū. The various hapū, as a collective, unite as an iwi. Superimposed on that paradigm is the papatipu rūnanga structure. As such, papatipu rūnanga uphold the mana of their people over land, sea and resources.

Te Taumutu Rūnanga are the mana whenua in this region. Among their responsibilities, is to champion cultural traditions and stories. Hence the gifting of the name.

Te Ara Ātea reflects and recognises the building’s location within a network of traditional Ngāi Tahu settlements and mahinga kai areas on the central part of the Canterbury Plains. Of particular importance to this network are the trails that connect the many mahinga kai sites on the shores of Te Waihora and across the plains to the Waimakariri in the north and the foothills of the Southern Apls to the west (link to map on pg 7 of prelim cultural narrative?)

Te Taumutu Rūnanga Chairperson Julie Robilliard says Te Ara Ātea is an exquisite name because the location was part of a network of ancient trails.

Selwyn mayor Sam Broughton says the community is privileged to have received the name as a gift.

He says the idea of exploring and finding different trails to learning is “exactly what this exciting new space is about”.

Photos: Te Ara Ātea building in progress

With the opening of Te Ara Ātea a few months away still, here is a sneak peek at what it looks like at the moment.

North profile of building

Staircase view