16 Jun 2017

Whangarei's Hundertwasser Art Centre hits funding goal

1:17 pm on 16 June 2017

The planned Hundertwasser Art Centre in Whangarei has got the funds for work to begin, with the government pledging up to $3 million to the project.

 A model of the proposed gallery.

Work on the Photo: Whangarei Art Museum

Prosper Northland, the trust raising money for the project, needed more than $18 million by the end of June to gain the go-ahead from the Whangarei District Council.

Earlier this week, the project received a $3.5 million boost from the Lotteries Commission, and this morning the trust said the Ministry for Arts, Culture and Heritage had pledged a time-limited conditional offer to grant up to $3 million in support of the project.

With funding secured, the ground on the Hundertwasser Art Centre with Wairau Māori Art Gallery is expected to be broken later this year.

Today's announcement brings the total government contribution up to $7m for the project, which is expected to contribute $26m into the regional economy every year.

Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Maggie Barry told a jubilant crowd at the city's Town Basin this morning that she had approved the grant to make the project happen.

Ms Barry said the Prosper Northland Trust deserved support and congratulations.

"I'm just thrilled and delighted to be able to help. I know that Frederick Hundertwasser's words around Kawakawa: 'Even small things can bring beauty into our life, beauty has an important function, beauty is always underestimated'. But not here, not today, not for this project."

Ms Barry said she had changed the rules of the Heritage fund to enable regional projects like the Hundertwasser to qualify for funding.

She said the building would be an architectural work of art.

Whangarei MP Shane Reti said it would be an "iconic landmark" for the city.