In early 2019 a group of friends came together around the idea of a space working as an enabler of community and impact.
One of us had been a part of spaces in Rotterdam, Vienna and Whangārei that showed the power of place in supporting people to do amazing things for the world.
Some of us came with the specific need of a home for their pioneering mental health gym, along with a caring place to base their business.
Still others had experienced spaces throughout the world that contributed to the cities they were in, brought life and created new connections.
In 2019 our search began for a space in Whanganui-a-Tara, and after many side roads and dead-end alleyways we found Level 2, 57 Willis Street.
With twenty seven rooms, a low suspended ceiling and ‘museum piece’ air conditioning systems, we began the process of pulling everything carefully apart so it could be reused.
All of our desks are made from the old walls and doors, we reused wiring and sprinkler pipe and carpet tiles and sockets and anything we could. Almost everything else we were able to share with our community. Old glass got made into fish tanks, lights went into tiny homes, and carpet tiles were spread across the city.
Our place is committed to dreaming together as we work on new worlds, and our work with artists is a manifestation of this. Sixteen artists were given the brief “I dream of a world...” in creating the computer cut panels throughout the space - the dreams of primarily wahine and indigenous artists literally carved into the walls of the space to guide us.
At our entrance are our “Exquisite Kaitiaki” looking after all who enter our place, created by the Dreamgirls Art Collective - the first ever piece by the collective, made up of Miriama Grace-Smith, Xoe Hall, and Gina Kiel.
We opened officially in mid 2021, with the opening of The Well, Aotearoa’s only mental health and wellbeing gym, following shortly after, along with a steady flow of gigs, meetings, launches and people moving in to make two/fiftyseven their second home.
In our first full year of operation 2022 our members used 87 kgs of coffee, we got 57 new plants, built 24 new bike parks, and hosted 178 events with 3,383 attendees.
The innovative flexibility of our space means it’s used at all hours, and since opening we’ve provided for 143,419 hours of work and place here, with 686 events and 22,362 visits. This community of people connected to two/fiftyseven has helped us donate $103,908 of space to those who otherwise wouldn’t have a place to meet, hui, workshop, plan, play and connect.
We’re now building an ever stronger collective of people who are here to support and enable each other as we work together towards a sustainable and socially just world.
Come on in, you’re welcome to
join the fun.