Community group and iwi negotiating rent on Devonport's Mt Victoria
Community facilities on Devonport's Mt Victoria are facing market rents as their leases come up, with Kerr Street Artspace the first off the block.
The Tupuna Maunga Authority is considering five applications for new leases on various Auckland maunga on June 19, 2017.
Kerr Street Artspace owner Depot Artspace has previously paid Auckland Council a peppercorn rent of $1 per year.
Initially, when the lease came up and the Maunga Authority signalled market rents, Depot Artspace feared it may have to close its mountain-based facility.
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However, manager Lynn Lawton said these concerns were greatly ameliorated after meeting with two representatives of the Maunga Authority on June 27.
"There was a mutual, cooperative and shared spiritual understanding between them and us," Lawton said.
The Depot's staff understand the place and meaning of the maunga among the Maori community, and we were able to enter into a meaningful conversation about its history, present and future, he said.
"Change has taken place and we need to take responsibility for that. This land is no longer council-owned, it is land that has been returned to mana whenua. This [decision] needs to be made openly, with non-prejudice dialogue."
Lawton said there was currently no indication as to what the rent price may be.
"The Maunga Authority is looking at the actual use of any facility. My goal is to work towards finding a goal that meets the aspirations of the maunga and the community," he said.
The Maunga Authority chairman Paul Majurey said the Depot and the Authority were working together.
An outcomes plan, written by the Depot Artspace, will look at how the facility would contribute to the health and wellbeing of the maunga, Majurey said.
"For lessees, whose work is based in education or the creative sector, opportunities will be many and varied."
Majurey said the market rate for the lease will be determined by an independent registered valuer.
However, he added the Maunga Authority would consider the contribution Kerr Street Artspace made to the maunga before setting a final rate.
The other leases on Mt Victoria, such as the Michael King Writers Centre, will continue at the current rate. On expiry, there would be an option to seek a new lease with the rental to be similarly assessed.
The same lease rental decision was made for leases at Maungawhau/Mt Eden and Ohuiarangi/Pigeon Mountain.