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Laneway transformation coming soon to Matamata

An exciting laneway transformation is coming to Matamata with poems from the community to take centre stage.

Our Pride of Place team is working with the owner of a Matamata business to spruce up the laneway connecting Arawa Street to Hetana Street. Laneways generally go unused as people are often unsure whether they are allowed to use them as a thoroughfare, or they may appear unsafe. We have joined creative forces with retail store owner Sonya Church at Shed Boutique Style, who owns the lower half of the block wall along the laneway, to transform the thouroughfare into a safer more inviting space residents and visitors will be drawn to.

As part of the laneway transformation we also hope to add festoon lights for vibrancy and safety, arrows and signs to show what pedestrians can find at the other side of the laneway, i.e., a ‘Hetana Street and public toilets’ sign at the Arawa Street end, and painting the white wall black. This black wall will form a canvas for a haiku competition to involve the community in creating a space they take pride in, attract people to use the laneway and help create walkable neighbourhoods.

The haiku competition is open to all ages, with a People’s Choice prize for each age category. All entries will also be entered into the Judges’ Choice, with selected haiku to be applied to the laneway wall. The judges, made up of Shed Boutique and Council staff, said they are looking for a variety of haiku that tell the story of Matamata, past and present.

“It is not necessary to use the name 'Matamata' (that's a lot of syllables!), just keep the town in mind when writing your haiku. It is more important writers capture the 'essence' of Matamata over time including its tangata whenua, early settlers and current day stories,” they said.

Sonya Church, owner of Shed Boutique Style, has a passion for sleek, stylish spaces and looks forward to seeing the vision for the laneway come to life. “I’m really keen to see a variety of haiku come through to make the laneway an interesting space for locals and tourists to enjoy.”

Sonya also saw this as a wonderful opportunity to celebrate te reo and has requested all English haiku be interpreted into te reo and all te reo entries translated into English, aware the translations are unlikely to also be haiku. “We have such a rich Māori history here in Matamata, as well as our early settler history, and it would be wonderful to have a mix of these stories on the laneway wall for locals and visitors to read and enjoy”.

This project, including category prizes, is funded by the NZTA Waka Kotahi Transport Choices fund with paint kindly provided by Resene Paint.

Entries are automatically entered into the Judges’ Choice and People’s Choice. All entries are published live on the web page for all to read and vote for People’s Choice. Voting will remain open for one week after the competition closes.

For more information or to enter the haiku competition, please visit Entries close 31 May.