The University and the Council have historically enjoyed a strong working relationship and have partnered on a range of different safety initiatives together before. The Pōneke Promise is no different. Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Jennifer Windsor says that involvement in the initiative is important for the University community: “Our staff and students make up a significant and diverse proportion of our city population—and in order for them to be active and engaged in everything Wellington has to offer, it’s essential they feel safe in our city. We are pleased to join Wellington City Council in supporting this initiative.”
Wellington City Council CEO Barbara McKerrow agrees: “In partnership with Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, we will work to enhance safety for the University community, and bring a student and university focused view across all of our Pōneke Promise initiatives so that Pōneke is a safe and welcoming city for all.”
The Pōneke Promise has four main areas of focus: improving public spaces; increasing our community spaces; reducing harm; and business confidence.
In its first 12 months the programme has already delivered on a number of outcomes, including more lighting on Courtenay Place and Opera House Lane, greater Police presence and enforcement of the alcohol ban, increased funding for Take 10 (a safe, supportive space for young people out in town on Friday and Saturday nights), and a larger number of Hāpai Ake guardians in the city who provide local advice, and support to the local community and businesses.
Additionally, the partnership has also seen the delivery of an after-midnight bus service from Metlink/Greater Wellington Regional Council at off-peak prices, the development of the Safer Venues partnership with Hospitality NZ and RespectEd Aotearoa as part of a wider Sexual Violence Prevention Action Plan, and a new centralised City Safety CCTV Control Room which provides an essential service in capturing, coordinating, and sharing information in real-time with the Police, Hāpai Ake, and community patrols.
The University looks forward to working with the other Pōneke Promise Partners to enhance the experience of Wellington for everyone as a safe city and a place to be proud of.