Weaver s wef t in the cold

Central Leader - - News -

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.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

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.

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