77                                                    27 February 2017

Policy and Regulatory

03 November 2016




File: (16/1219)





Report no: PRC2017/1/54


Public Art - Opportunities and Gaps


Purpose of Report

The purpose of this report is to:

1.   Report back on opportunities and gaps identified in the investigation into public art in Hutt City;

2.   Make recommendations on solutions to these issues to address the opportunities and gaps identified; and

3.   Make recommendations regarding the terms of reference (TOR) and membership of the Public Art Advisory Group (PAAG)


It is recommended that the Committee recommend that Council:

(i)         agrees to funding for:

(a)        an audit and condition report on council’s existing public art works and the development of a 10year plan for remedial and ongoing maintenance work;

(b)        a part time public art position within Council;

(ii)        note that this funding will come from existing budgets;

(iii)       agree to establish the Public Art Advisory Group (PAAG) and the recommended expert members for that group as attached in Appendix 1 to the report;

(iv)      approve the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the PAAG as attached in Appendix 2 to the report; and

(v)       agree to an investigation into a percentage funding approach for all infrastructure and similar projects to include public art for incorporation into the new public art policy.



1.         On 2 August 2016 Council agreed:

(i)         to approve the final Arts and Culture Policy

(ii)        to the development of an implementation plan for the Arts and Culture Policy 2016-2021;

(iii)       to the establishment of a Public Art Advisory Group following the 2016 triennial elections;

(iv)      that the Public Art Advisory Group be appointed by the Councilor appointed to the Arts Portfolio and the Chair of the Policy and Regulatory Committee following the 2016 triennial elections;

(v)       to consider recommendations from the Public Art Advisory Group regarding the level of specific funding The Dowse Art Museum will receive as an increase to its operational budget to oversee the maintenance work required for public art works during the 2017 Annual Plan process;

(vi)      to the development of a Public Art Policy and Guidelines by the Public Art Advisory Group; and

(vii)     directed officers to proceed with the work to establish a Public Art Advisory Group.


This report is the next step in this process.


2.         Public consultation was undertaken in 2016 for the development Hutt City’s Arts and Culture Policy. Workshop participants identified several issues of concern to them about the city: a lack of pride caused by poor urban design and being rundown[1]; poor urban form[2]; residents leaving the Hutt to go to Wellington for their arts and culture; low population growth[3]; and a lack of vibrancy and attractiveness to those outside the region who might visit or move here.

3.         The Arts and Culture Policy noted:

-      The lack of a strategic programme approach to public art.

-      The lack of Maori representation in public art in the city;

-      The lack of specialised dedicated public art expertise within Council

-      Limited funds available for Public Art

-      Procurement issues in public art and

-      Asset management issues

4.         This report identifies how Hutt City Council’s current approach to Public Art can deliver more effective solutions for these issues.  This is particularly important given the level of investment Council is making towards the rejuvenation of the city. Excellent Public Art can enhance rejuvenation projects and compliment important developments such as the Riverlink and community hubs. 


5.         Good public art is a necessary part of making Hutt City “a great place to live, work and play”.

6.         Public art can help create a sense of identity and pride for Hutt City and develop a positive reputation for the city nationally and internationally. It attracts innovative thinkers who create opportunity and prosperity. It can powerfully revitalise struggling city centres, with the ability to reframe rundown areas into areas of visual amenity and creative vitality, often for a fraction of the cost of full architectural urban design solutions. It creates destinations and is a vital aspect of world-class public spaces. It has an essential role to play in revitalisation strategies like Making Places as well as being a key tool for delivering the Leisure and Wellbeing Strategy.

7.         Extensive consultation with council officers and key external stakeholders has shown unanimous support and/or enthusiasm for public art along with a strong sense that more should be happening in this area in Hutt City. The value of public art was widely recognised by officers at all levels, who understood that public art can add value to both their projects and to the city generally. Public art was widely understood as having an excellent cost-to-value ratio.

8.         There was general support for setting aside or using funds from their budgets for public art, either through a percent for art mechanism, or by integrating artworks into existing public works projects.

9.         Overall there was a sense that council does not currently have the capacity to manage the public art activity that will be required in the coming years, particularly in relation to Making Places and the Riverlink Project, which were widely identified as requiring the development of high quality public artworks. There was a sense that a review of, and changes in, how public art is delivered at Hutt City is both necessary and timely.

 “If our CBD had well-renowned public art, it would make it more attractive for people to be there, and developers will follow where the people are.”

Issues emerging from interviews and analysis of current processes:

10.       Our interviews with officers and key external stakeholders, and research into council’s current public art processes, identified the following issues:

-      a lack of a strategic programme approach to public art.

-      a lack of Maori representation and consultation in public art in the city

-      a lack of specialised dedicated public art expertise within Council, leading to issues with public art procurement, planning and management;

-      a lack of dedicated funds available for public art; and

-      asset management issues.


Options for solutions to these issues are examined in detail below.

Lack of strategic programme approach

11.       Currently, there is a lack of strategic direction in public art in Hutt City. There is no overall plan or strategy for public art which would allow it to deliver Council’s goals more effectively – particularly the goals focused on the rejuvenation of the city. At present there is:

-      no coordination of public art activities across council – non-expert officers work separately from each other to identify where and when public art should be commissioned;

-      no city-wide plan[4] identifying where public art development activity should be focused, and what that activity should aim to achieve in those areas; and

-      a lack of plans or processes to assist in prioritising potential public art sites and projects.

12.       Having a strategy and plan for public art spending would mean that all projects are evaluated against each other for their potential to deliver Council’s goals, so only the most effective projects are funded. This could allow significant positive changes to be delivered in Hutt City, via public art, for little or no extra cost. 


-      Artworks not happening in the areas that would benefit most;

-      Works not being incorporated into developments in a timely manner, which ultimately results in increased costs and reduced options; and

-      Artworks not being incorporated in developments where they could have been delivered for little or no extra funds, and/or where they would have delivered cost-saving benefits like graffiti protection.


Recommended Solutions:

-      A dedicated part-time Public Art Manager who:

Develops a Public Art policy and guidelines

Works across Council to ensure a coordinated and strategic approach with the appropriate level of quality;

Works with E Tu Awa Kairangi, Hutt City’s Public Art Trust, to deliver a coherent whole-of-programme approach to public art that aligns with Council’s strategic aims and priorities; and

Ensures the Trust is informed of opportunities for partnerships with Council and participation in major urban or hub development projects.

-      The establishment of the Public Art Advisory Group



Lack of Public Art Expertise

13.       Hutt City’s art activities are not driven by experts with a strategic overview and knowledge of how to procure high quality artworks and curate a programme that delivers to Council goals.

14.       Public art in Hutt City can, and does, happen without any expert input. When expert advice is sought, the Community Arts Advisor and/or Dowse staff are asked to fulfill this role. However, relying on these sources for advice is problematic for several reasons:

-      The Dowse does not have the staff resources available to advice on public art, and public art is outside their core business. They are not resourced to deliver public art advice and their resources are already stretched in delivering their core business.

-      Dowse staff are specialised in exhibition development, which is a different field to public art.

-      Expertise in community art is not the same as expertise in public art. Community art is a different field from public art: community art is art produced by amateur artists (members of the community), sometimes with the assistance of professionals. Public art is art produced by professional artists. These fields have very different goals and methods.

15.       The lack of public art expertise in Hutt City Council also leads to technical and maintenance issues in public art commissions compounded by poor contracts that do not identify responsibilities and processes for durability and maintenance.  This has also led to compromises in development processes, which can result in low quality, cost and timeframe blowouts and ultimately a difficulty in getting professional artists on board.

16.       Professional artists can be reluctant to participate in a public art programme that is not run by art experts. Artist’s careers are built on their reputation, and they are understandably reluctant to risk their reputation on projects that may compromise the artwork’s quality. They are also reluctant to participate where their expertise and status within the industry are not acknowledged. They will not allow their work to appear alongside amateur artist’s work unless it is clearly differentiated. They need to be sure that their work will not be interpreted or used in ways that compromise their reputation.

17.       Expertise in public art, along with a sound gifting policy, would also allow council to assess and gracefully reject inappropriate gifts or proposals coming from the public.


-      Projects that fail to be implemented due to poor quality;

-      Officers making public art decisions even though they do not feel qualified to do so;

-      Inconsistent quality in artworks;

-      Professional artists unwilling to take advantage of opportunities offered and not participating in creative initiatives such as About Space;

-      Difficulties in saying no to projects and artworks offered by members of the community, even if the quality is poor;

-      Projects utilising project management processes and timeframes not well suited to working with artists, leading to compromises in quality;

-      Technical issues with artworks purchased from Shapeshifter and permanently sited while not having been designed to permanently withstand conditions at that site, leading to extra ongoing costs; and

-      Missed opportunities to incorporate artworks into capital developments at little or no extra cost.


Recommended Solutions:

-      A dedicated part-time Public Art Manager who has a high level of public art expertise, and who can advise across council on public art projects, identify opportunities, and ensure a coordinated approach.

-      The establishment of the PAAG to provide advice to council and Et Tu on strategic direction and project selection, and work with the Public Art Manager to deliver a high quality, good value for money, public art programme.

-      Incorporate a gifting policy into the public art policy.


Asset Management Issues

18.       Currently, there is no coordinated approach to maintenance for public art in the city’s collection. Maintenance relies on the works being adopted into other budgets but there is no standard process to indicate when this should happen, and as a result, some works are not being maintained. No funding has been allocated to public art maintenance and it is unclear where accountability lies. There is no process to identify when work is required, and officers feel that they do not have the right expertise to decide if a work needs maintenance, or what to do if it does.

19.       Two examples of works urgently requiring remedial maintenance include the Russell Clark work outside the Little Café, which has deteriorating concrete and rusty exposed substructure[5], and Play Modules by Anne Marie van Splunter (commonly known as the Snake) in Dowse Square, the surface of which is severely damaged and discoloured. These works are on prominent sites in the central city and it is damaging to the city’s image to have them appear in the dilapidated state they currently do.

20.       Maintenance that is being done on public artworks owned by the city is that which fits within standard asset management maintenance processes, such as water blasting steel or concrete sculptures as part of wider parks maintenance. Maintenance that does not fit within standard processes is only being done if the works have maintenance plans, and have been adopted into Parks budgets.

21.       There is no list of existing works identifying their position and condition. There are also no maintenance plans for most works not commissioned by E Tu Awa Kairangi.

22.       A comprehensive condition reporting/assessment of existing works is required to identify works that need remedial maintenance, and which are being looked after well under current protocols.

23.       If major maintenance is needed on specific works, they should be assessed to ascertain whether they should be kept or deaccessioned. This needs to be done by people with public art expertise and authority, as it can be controversial. The PAAG would be best placed to deal with this. A deaccessioning process and policy is required.

24.       Initially it was proposed that a maintenance budget for public art be established and allocated to The Dowse. As our analysis has progressed it has become clear that this is not the best solution for public art maintenance because:

-      The Dowse does not have the capacity – their staff are already overcommitted.

-      The Dowse does not have the necessary expertise in house – they outsource their own conservation work

-      The expertise that would be required would only be required intermittently and is thus better outsourced

-      Some basic maintenance, such as water blasting to clean sculptures, is already being done adequately by Parks within existing budgets as part of general parks maintenance. If this basic maintenance was reallocated to a separate public art maintenance team, efficiencies would be lost. The maintenance work that Parks are not doing is the specialist maintenance, which needs to be outsourced anyway.


Recommended Solutions:

-      Commission a condition report and 10year remedial maintenance plan from a conservator, incorporating all current works (estimated cost $15-20k).

-      Allocate overall responsibility for ensuring that public artworks are well maintained to the proposed internal Public Art Manager.

-      Incorporate a deaccessioning policy within the new public art policy.

-      Standard artist’s contracts which include a maintenance plan should be implemented for all council art commissions.




Lack of Dedicated Public Art Funds

25.       Funds earmarked for public art are currently being lost to other priorities. Public art is “always the first to go” when a project runs out of money. Public art is budgeted for in most capital developments and some events, but its funding is often cut when overruns in other areas need to be balanced. If public art is a line in the budget like all other items, it will very often be cut or drastically reduced in the development process.

26.       Even if the budget does not run over, the public art component of a development project may not eventuate because it has been left too late so that its funding could be reserved in case it was needed elsewhere. This means the work can no longer be effectively integrated and it becomes an afterthought that no longer fits within the project development timeframe.

27.       Even where there incorporating art makes financial sense in the longer term, such as where it provides graffiti deterrence, it is sometimes being cut due to short term budget pressures.


-      Very few significant public artworks;

-      Developments where art has been cut, leaving bland public interfaces, empty spaces, and/or blank walls vulnerable to graffiti;

-      the cutting of Maori artworks from CFT projects, such as the pou at Stokes Valley Hub;

-      Missed opportunities to develop local pride and identity;

-      Artworks that will not be as well integrated into their sites as they could have been, because they have been left to be developed later;

-      Extra costs when provisions that may not be required, such as power and structural reinforcement, are put in place for the artwork in case they are needed when it is eventually commissioned; and

-      Lost opportunities for artists to design aspects of developments that are required anyway such as paving, glazing, wind shelters, etc. as artworks for little or no extra cost.


Recommended Solutions

28.       That the following be investigated for possible implementation at Hutt City:

-      Percent for art for external grants – attach conditions to Council Grants to CFT and others that require a certain percentage of the grant to be spent on art.

-      Include art as part of development negotiations – if developers include art then certain concessions can be granted.

-      A requirement for public art when external developments are being supported financially by council, e.g. the new four-star Hotel in the CBD.

-      A percent for art policy for internal CAPEX expenditure on major developments. Include in the new public art policy that internal development projects over 1m need to set aside 2% for art. These funds would be allocated to the City’s public art budget, to be used to provide work for that development if appropriate, or for other areas of the city if there are other strategic priorities deemed more appropriate.


29.       Further, the public art policy can put into place processes that ensure public art can be initiated early in major projects so that it can be properly integrated.

Lack of visibility of Mana Whenua in Hutt City’s Public Art

30.       Currently there is very little public art in Hutt City that increases the visibility of mana whenua. This was identified as a key issue in the public consultation undertaken for the Arts and Culture Policy in 2016.

31.       Te Atiawa identify Maori art that is developed in consultation with them as an essential aspect of Hutt City’s public art programme, and an important part of their relationship with Council.

32.       Ensuring this kind of representation takes place is also best practice in public art nationally and internationally.

33.       We ran a pan-iwi workshop on public art at Waiwhetu Marae and the key feedback was that:

-      representation of Maori in public art is important;

-      the other iwi present consider  Te Atiawa as represented by Waiwhetu Marae to be the most appropriate point of consultation for Council in public art matters, and

-      Council needs to build a relationship with tangata whenua (Te Atiawa) in order to achieve representation of Maori in public art.


Recommended Solutions:

-      Establish an appropriate contact point for tangata whenua and build an ongoing relationship around public art. The best person to build this relationship would be a dedicated Public Art Manager.

-      Ensure the policy requires the inclusion of representation of tangata whenua in the public art programme.



34.       The Committee has the following options:

i.    Agree to funding for:

a.   an audit and condition report on council’s existing public art works and the development of a 10year plan for remedial and ongoing maintenance work;

b.   a part time public art position within Council;

ii.   note that this funding will come from existing budgets;

iii.  agree to establish the Public Art Advisory Group (PAAG) and the recommended expert members for that group as attached in Appendix 1 to the report;

iv.  approve the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the PAAG as attached in Appendix 2 to the report; and

v.   agree to an investigation into a percentage funding approach for all infrastructure and similar projects to include public art for incorporation into the new public art policy.


i.    request further information and/or options from Officers before approving any, or all, of these options.


35.       Council’s vision for the future of the city is one of sustainable growth and development, revitalisation and rejuvenation and the provision of best local government services.

36.       Research shows that public art is a powerful tool to deliver these goals. Public art is an essential part of a vibrant city - it attracts talented people who in turn develop entrepreneurial and innovative projects that contribute to economic growth.

37.       The recommended changes would allow Council to deliver public art in a strategic and cost-effective manner, achieving significant positive effects for Hutt City.


38.       Twenty-eight one-on-one and two two-on-one interviews with Council Officers and external stakeholders have been undertaken for this report. We have also held a workshop with artists interested in working in Hutt City and a Cross-Iwi Hui hosted by Waiwhetu Marae. See Appendix 3, as attached to the report, for names of participants and interviewees.

Legal Considerations

39.       There are no legal considerations at this stage.

Financial Considerations

40.       Funds are needed to establish a part time Public Art Manager position within council, and to conduct a maintenance assessment and develop a remedial maintenance plan.  A job description has been developed and discussion with HR indicates that the cost of a 25 hour per week position would be $50k per annum.  This could be funded from existing budgets in particular from the Making Places budget as the role would ultimately sit with Urban Design and report to the City Development Committee.

41.       Funds are also needed to commission a condition report and 10year remedial maintenance plan from a conservator, incorporating all current works (estimated one-off cost $15-20k). This could also be funded from existing budgets in particular from the Making Places budget

42.       Investing these funds would allow greater efficiencies and value to be obtained within current and future spending on public art throughout council ensuring that it is strategic and effective. It would also ensure that previous investment in public artworks is protected, with existing artworks being maintained or removed so they do not continue to be a liability for council.

Other Considerations

43.       In making this recommendation, officers have given careful consideration to the purpose of local government in section 10 of the Local Government Act 2002. Officers believe that this recommendation falls within the purpose of the local government in that it will contribute to the development of a vibrant and thriving arts and culture sector and complement the investment Council is making in the rejuvenation of the city. It does this in a way that is cost-effective because it ensures funds are being spent strategically.






Proposed Members Public Art Advisory Group



Terms of Reference for Hutt City Public Art Advisory Group



Hutt City Public Art Research Report








Author: Amanda Waijers

Contractor Policy







Reviewed By: Wendy Moore

Divisional Manager, Strategy and Planning




Approved By: Kim Kelly

General Manager, Strategic Services


[1] Also see Quality of Life, p 45 Pride in look and feel of City

[2] N.1 above

[3] Hutt City Council,  Urban Growth Strategy p14

[4] Making Places identifies some sites in the CBD and states that public art should be incorporated, but it is not a city-wide plan nor a public art strategy in itself.

[5] A conservation report was completed on this work in 2016.