18 May 2015

Call for Māori Art centre in Whangarei

7:00 am on 18 May 2015

Whangarei's Māori artists are urging people to vote for an art centre with a dedicated Māori space.

Friedensreich Hundertwasser's design for the former Harbour Board building.

Friedensreich Hundertwasser's design for the former Harbour Board building. Photo: Supplied

Local trust Prosper Northland has offered to build the $15 million centre at no cost to ratepayers, after the council voted not to fund it last year. The proposal is that the former Harbour Board building in the Town Basin would house the centre.

The art centre design is by Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser and the proposal is led by the Wairau Māori Advisory Panel.

The two other referendum options are for the creation of a maritime museum, or a grass area.

Panel chair Elizabeth Ellis said the gallery would be an asset to those living in the community.

"There is a group called Hihiaua which is at the other end of the peninsula, they teach traditional Māori art. They will have a place to come in our gallery and see Māori work on exhibition."

Ms Ellis said the combination of European and Māori art will make it an international attraction.

The referendum closes on 6 June.

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