Hundertwasser Art Centre - a community initiative
The opening of Hundertwasser Art Centre with Wairau Māori Art Gallery on 20 February 2022 was a significant milestone for the Hātea Art Precinct Trust board and executive, members of the community and business professionals. Together, they raised money from local, regional and national government as well as from private and public charities, businesses, personal donations and sales. The goal is to deliver an exceptional cultural destination that transforms people’s lives through the power of art and nature, while supporting economic growth and development for the region. Northland Inc has calculated the construction’s direct economic impact for Northland at $37 million, with an ongoing economic impact of $26 million per annum (Northland Inc Report, May 2017).
Funds have been raised for the $33million project towards the construction, the fit out and business establishment costs; for insuring and transporting Hundertwasser artworks from Europe to Whangārei; costs associated with the impact of Covid-19; production of 3D models; and for the living rooftop and sculpture installations. Funds were also raised towards the cost of Te Kākano and a $2million underwrite to ensure the project’s ongoing viability.
Central Government has provided $18.5million via the Provincial Growth Fund, managed by Kānoa - (Government’s Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit). Northland Regional Council contributed $1.5million. As a result of a referendum in 2015, Whangārei District Council provided $2.977million towards the cost of earthquake strengthening. Community funds of $10million have been raised from Lotteries, Foundation North and Oxford Sports Trust. Funds have also been raised from private and public donations, as well as from sales.
The project has been a significant driver of employment. Trigg Construction estimates that so far more than 550 people have been employed for as much as a few hours to many days and weeks - from ice road construction and services diversions - to demolition, asbestos removal, air testing, piling, earthworks, subfloor waterproofing, ground beam steel fixing, wall construction and steel fixing, plumbing and draining, concrete supply and concrete pumping, precast manufacturing and installation, plastering, tiling, bricklaying, roof waterproofing, landscaping, planting, ceilings, gib fixing, painting, project management, business establishment and administration. The project has also benefited from the many thousands of hours invested by over 100 volunteers, who have contributed across the years.
The Hundertwasser Art Centre is located at the waterfront in central Whangārei and opened its doors on 20 February 2022.