Art in Public Places Strategy

Art in Public Places Strategy

The New Plymouth District Art in Public Places Trust has been established to deliver this strategy. The trust is independent of the Council. Find out more about the trust on their website -

Reference: S08-002       
Status: Approved by the Council on 9 December 2008


That New Plymouth District will be recognised nationally and internationally for excellence in public art.

Strategic Linkages

The New Plymouth District is recognised nationally and internationally as a vibrant and exciting place to live, work and visit. Art works in public places are high quality public amenities that celebrate and enhance local culture, heritage and the environment and such they contribute to the “vibrant” “sustainable” and “together” community outcomes.


“Public Art” is any creative work located in a public place owned or administered by the New Plymouth District Council. Public places include open spaces, streets, pathways, parks, squares, and foreshore areas, but may also include significant works commissioned as part of the design of council-owned buildings held for civic, cultural or recreational purposes.

However, works may be located on private property provided that:
a) The work is freely accessible to the public.
b) The work and public access are protected by an appropriate covenant.

Public Art is not memorials, which are defined under Policy P004-009 Memorials in Public Open Spaces.


The principles of this strategy are:

  • The New Plymouth District Public Art Trust (the trust) will be the entity responsible for delivering this strategy.
  • The trust will seek to minimise cost to ratepayers by seeking independent funding, via fundraising, donations and any other appropriate means.
  • Proposed gifts and bequests will be considered by the trust to ensure that they fit with the strategy.

Strategy Objectives

The objectives of this strategy are:

  • Art in public places will promote New Plymouth District’s sense of community, civic pride and distinctive identity.
  • Where feasible, integrate public art into the design and landscape of the district’s major open spaces.
  • Public art will be located in places where it enhances the public enjoyment of public places and where art works ‘fit’ with the site where they are intended to be located.
  • Art in the district’s public places will increase understanding and enjoyment of public art and public spaces.
  • Preference will be given to art identified as priorities through other council policies/activities and where appropriate will support local initiatives.
  • Public Art will be of sufficient quality to ensure that it offers the best ‘whole of life’ cost.
  • Public art will contribute significantly to the development of cultural tourism to the district.
  • A significant piece of public art will be commissioned at least every two years.


This strategy will be implemented by the Trust. The trust will have primary responsibility for promoting, commissioning and providing public art work. The goals of the trust will be to:

  • Foster a strategic and coordinated approach to all public art projects.
  • Work with the Len Lye Foundation to recognise opportunities for commissioning Len Lye works.
  • Implement a district wide public art programme and seek a complementary relationship with the district’s landscape, heritage and cultural and public space initiatives.
  • Take responsibility for fund raising for public art within the New Plymouth District.
  • Seek and consider community views when commissioning major art works.
  • Expend funds in a manner that is consistent with the trust deed.

Evaluation of Proposals, Gifts and Bequests

The New Plymouth District Public Art Trust will evaluate and commission potential public works (including proposed gifts and bequests) according to the following considerations:

  • Standards of excellence and innovation.
  • Durability of the work.
  • Ownership structure and conditions for movement or disposal of the work.
  • Potential of the work to capture the public’s imagination and to help create a sense of place and identity for the New Plymouth District.
  • Fit with the character, topography and use of the relevant public place(s).
  • Fit with the strategic goals of this strategy.
  • Cost implications including ongoing maintenance costs.
  • Safety of proposed work.
  • Consistency with any relevant council policies.
  • Views of the community.


The Council will support the trust by way of:

  • “Seed capital” funding and any funding approved in its Long Term Council Community Plan.
  • The provision of technical and administrative support from council officers.


The Council will provide the trust with “seed” capital to establish the trust and consider a funding contribution as part of its three-yearly draft Long Term Council Community Plan.

Funding for public art by way of sponsorship, donations and gifs of public art will be actively sought and encouraged.

Terms and Conditions - Gifts and Bequests

The following conditions will apply to gifts and bequests:

  • That all offers of gift or bequest of public art to New Plymouth District Council (hereafter referred to as the council) be referred to the New Plymouth District Public Art Trust (the Trust) for consideration.
  • The Trust may accept any gift or bequest conforming to the Art in Public Places strategy, but shall not be bound to accept any gift or bequest.
  • That the Trust shall not be bound to display any artwork acquired by gift or bequest.
  • The donor of an artwork must have legal title in order to gift or bequest it to the council.
  • Gifts and bequests should be unrestricted, although the Trust may consider the acceptance of gifts and bequests with restrictions in special circumstances.
  • The Trust is obliged to take into serious consideration any restrictions placed on gifts and bequests.
  • Once the work is installed the council shall assume ownership of the work. If a work is to be disposed  of,  the disposal  process  for gifts and  bequests  shall be:

i)  If the original donor is still alive, by giving the donor the choice of repossessing the work; or
ii) If the original donor is deceased or uncontactable, the artwork may be disposed of by any method that the Monitoring Committee of the council sees fit.

Reviewed six yearly (next review 2014).

Note: The Council has also adopted a procedure for the placement of public art on Council owned land. Please contact the Council for a copy of the procedure.