Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre. Photo Patrick Reynolds

Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre. Photo Patrick Reynolds

Proposed Donation Strategy for Len Lye Centre - New Plymouth District Council news release

21 Sep 2016

A proposal to increase revenue to the Len Lye Centre without affecting visitor numbers will be considered by the New Plymouth District Council at its meeting next week (27 Sep 2016).

A report to the meeting recommends the Council adopts a proactive fundraising strategy by encouraging visitors to the centre to make a donation via Paywave and eftpos.

NPDC Manager Recreation and Culture Teresa Turner says an independent report on revenue generation by the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre found that cultural facilities in Australia and the UK had a substantial drop in the number of visitors once they brought in entrance fees.

However, there was significant potential for the gallery to develop its revenue through donations.

“The Len Lye Centre has proved to be a magnet for visitors in the 12 months since its opening – 57 per cent higher than predicted – which has knock-on benefits for the wider regional economy,” says Ms Turner.

“Our goal is to increase the centre’s revenue while also maintaining and growing its visitor numbers.”

The gallery’s donation box received about $11,000 from visitors through passive donations in the 12 months to the end of July. Ms Turner says by actively promoting donations through Paywave and eftpos, donations are expected to rise to up to $100,000 per year.

“That figure is based on the experience of charities, who find that people are more generous when they donate via eftpos, as well as on the number of visitors through the centre and an average contribution of $2 per visitor,” she says.

In the first 12 months since opening in 2015, the Len Lye Centre had 151,000 visitors. The majority of visitors were from outside Taranaki (53 per cent), with international visitors comprising 12 per cent of the total.

King and Queen Hotel Suites General Manager Daniel Fleming says: “Weekend business has never been busier and we’re seeing a lot more people visiting New Plymouth as a result of the Len Lye Centre, many of whom wouldn’t have come otherwise.

“It is a fantastic addition to the city.”

Data from Statistics New Zealand show that for total accommodation guest nights:
• Nationally, guest nights grew 5.3 per cent in the year to June 2015, and 5.8 per cent in the year to June 2016.
• In Taranaki, guest nights shrank 3.5 per cent in the year to June 2015 (before the Len Lye Centre opened) and rose 8.5 per cent in the year to June 2016 (after the centre opened).

In comparing July 2015 to July 2016 in Taranaki:
• Guest nights went up 17.7 per cent to 43,122.
• International nights were up 36.4 per cent.
• Domestic nights were up 15.6 per cent.
• Average length of stay rose to 2.08 nights.

Also, the growth in visitor numbers in Taranaki (17.7 per cent) is above the national average (6.9 per cent).

Note: Paywave allows people to make payments of up to $80 through contactless payments.