Design shapes our contemporary city

Design is diverse – it covers not only our creative industries but our industrial and manufacturing sectors.

A modern city with creativity in its veins

Just as the river courses through its heart, the city’s creative history and contemporary design bring life to the city and its inhabitants – and are accessible to explore every day.

Design is diverse – it covers not only our creative industries but also our industrial and manufacturing sectors, which are world leaders in their innovative and creative contributions.

Whanganui is embracing co-design, learning as a city to work with iwi on Tupua te Kawa, the values of the Te Awa Tupua legislation which awards our river legal personhood. We’re at the very early stages of this, but it’s changing who we are as a city.

We’re also a city of high-value manufacturing with companies such as Q-West boat builders and Pacific Helmets, who are designing helmets for clients around the world –  the London Fire Brigade all wear Pacific Helmets.

Becoming a City of Design is exciting international recognition but it is also meaningful in the everyday lives of our creatives and adds to our identity as citizens of this creative city. Being New Zealand’s City of Design places Whanganui in an important position of leadership, and ensures collaboration and education remain paramount in Whanganui’s creative direction.

Visitors can experience Whanganui’s creativity first-hand. They can immerse themselves in journeys on the Whanganui River, learning about its unique significance and enduring legacy. They can wander the city; enjoying its heritage buildings while also taking in the Whanganui Walls festival street art.

They can visit New Zealand Glassworks – Te Whare Tūhua o Te Ao, the national centre for art glass, and see modern glass art being created, or they can visit the Sarjeant on the Quay to take in its nationally significant collection comprising more than 8000 artworks and archival items spanning four centuries of European and New Zealand art history.

Contemporary jeweller Frances Stachl in her studio.


Where to stay in Whanganui

For a quick overview of what’s available and to book online, use our accommodation widget.

For expert local advice or further help on your stay, contact our Whanganui isite visitor centre or browse our guides on Where to stay.

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