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Huntly gets creative with its first ‘Arts in the Park’

Huntly’s first ‘Arts in the Park’ family day at Fraser Park on Saturday next week (16 Feb) will offer people the chance to try out different arts and crafts for themselves, and children will be able to share their work with their favourite dog from the Waikato District Council animal control team.

A network of enthusiastic and talented people and groups, brought together through a growing Huntly arts development programme, will run stalls offering the opportunity to take part in activities ranging from clay and mosaics to beading, flax weaving and painting.  Food stalls, and music and dance performances will round off a day of family entertainment.

Waikato District Council’s animal control team are joining in the fun with one of the dogs that is a regular favourite in the Council’s ‘Dogs in Libraries’ reading programme for young children. Instead of reading books to Kohe, the black Labrador cross, children will get the opportunity to share their art and do some colouring-in with Kohe and the animal control team’s Education and Engagement Officer, Zoey Jackson.

Huntly’s ‘Arts in the Park’ is a showpiece for an arts development programme that last year included more than 50 local arts and performance workshops involving about 1,400 Huntly residents, as well as an ongoing local ‘placemaking’ programme to rejuvenate parts of the town centre.

It’s all been thanks to the work of the Huntly Friendship House working in partnership with Waikato District Council, as well as Huntly West Hub, local schools, groups, artists and volunteers, with support from Creative NZ’s Creative Communities Scheme, and WEL Energy Trust.

Waikato District Council’s Economic and Community Development Manager Julie Dolan says, “It’s exciting to see a real community of interest in the arts developing in Huntly out of good ideas, seed funding, support from our community development team, and a lot of local effort.”

Huntly Friendship House manager Victoria Kemp says, “We’re doing it at a pace we can manage, and it’s growing. We’re now on the lookout for local talent to develop more workshops and other activities this year.”

“We’ve also been displaying local artwork in the Huntly library – right now it’s photography from our summer competition - so I encourage everyone to go to the library to see it.”

She says, “We’re also on a roll developing our next placemaking plans with the Huntly Community Board.”

With help from the Menzshed, Huntly art club and gardening club, a bare alleyway off Main St will soon be brightened with a wall mural and planted boxes, while other local artists will be decorating meter boxes along Main St.

For more information about support available for community development go to  

For more information please contact:
Crystal Beavis
Senior Communications Advisor
Waikato District Council
07 824 8633