Whanganui becomes a UNESCO Creative City of Design

We are delighted to announce that Aotearoa New Zealand now has four UNESCO Creative Cities with Whanganui announced as a City of Design.

Celebrating Whanganui

Whanganui’s successful bid, along with 49 other cities worldwide, was announced by UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay on 9 November 2021.

Whanganui joins cities such as Cape Town, Bilbao, Singapore, Berlin and Bangkok as a UNESCO City of Design.

“The UNESCO Creative Cities Network is at the frontline of UNESCO’s efforts to foster innovation and creativity as key drivers for a more sustainable and inclusive urban development,” says Robyn Baker, Chair of the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO.

“We are very pleased that Whanganui has been successful in joining the Creative Cities Network and congratulate them on their outstanding bid”.

“The National Commission worked closely with Whanganui as they developed their bid, and we were delighted to be able to endorse the final version to UNESCO.”

“We place great value on the indigenous partnerships that are at the heart of Whanganui’s bid and look forward to celebrating the cultural heritage of the region, as we work in partnership with Aotearoa New Zealand’s latest Creative City,” says Robyn.

St Paul's Church Putiki Whanganui

Whanganui joins Dunedin City of Literature, Auckland City of Music, and Wellington City of Film, as part of the Aotearoa New Zealand UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

“We are thrilled by the recognition from UNESCO, it speaks volumes about Whanganui’s significance and strength of design on an international scale. We can’t wait to add value to the international Creative Cities Network and find collegiality with others in this exclusive group,” says Whanganui Mayor Hamish McDouall.

“It is our intention to use design and co-design to shape and better our society, making social spaces accessible, inclusive and welcoming,” says Mayor McDouall.

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development.

The network now numbers 295 cities across 90 countries.

“The global network will open up opportunities for collaborations between Whanganui’s design industry and other member cities, opening the door for international cooperation and knowledge exchange,” says Robyn.

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