Weaver s wef t in the cold
B y H e a t h e r M c C r a ck e n A group of top textile artists are looking for a new home for the second time in fi ve years.
The Mt Eden-based Handweavers Guild will have to vacate their Auckland City Councilowned building when their lease runs out in two years.
Their previous base in Hillsborough was knocked down to make way for the State Highway 20 extension.
“For a group that’s been active in Auckland for 55 years, the possibility of being homeless again is not good,” says past president Alison Milne.
Ms Milne says the group moved into the former bowling club in Nicholson Park with support of the Eden Albert Community Board.
But there’s questions over whether they fi t the property’s zoning for sports and recreation.
“We’re a little peeved that because we don’t kick a ball around we’re not seen as recreation,” Ms Milne says.
The handweavers have put their own money into securing the graffi ti-prone site next to Auckland Normal Intermediate.
President Janie Gum- mer says the guild holds archival materials by past members and a resource library believed to the largest in New Zealand.
“When we fi rst moved in there were lockers all around the walls so we spent quite a lot removing the lockers and regibbing,” she says.
A vacant property in Puka St, Onehunga, was considered, but deemed unsuitable as the neighbouring school plans to build a wall which will block natural light.
Eden Albert councillor Glenda Fryer says the old bowling club was always intended to be a temporary solution.
The level of vandalism and graffi ti has made the building unsuitable for the group, and more space is needed in the ward for sports groups.
“Ultimately the Eden Albert Community Board were wanting that area to be used as open space recreation,” Ms Fryer says.
“It was always going to be an interim thing until we could fi nd a more suitable building.”
A council spokeswoman says zoning was just one reason for moving the guild. The premises was a temporary arrangement and a new location would provide a longer lease.
The council has been working closely with the group to fi nd a new site which better suits their needs.
But Ms Milne says they were given verbal assurances the lease could be renewed.
“We certainly were given no indication that fi
ve years was all we were going to get.”
The group will speak to the Eden Albert Community Board on September 24.
E v i c t i o n l o o m s :
H a n d we ave r s G u i l d m e m b e r s Ja n i e G u m m e r, l e f t , a n d A l i s o n M i l n e i n t h e i r N i c h o l s o n Pa r k p r e m i s e s, w h e r e t h e i r l e a s e m ay n o t be renewe d.