New investment into Whangarei’s HUNDERTWASSER ART CENTRE with Wairau Māori Art Gallery by central governments Provincial Growth Fund is a significant boost to the project, says Whangarei Art Museum Trust Chairman Grant Faber.

The Trust is the funding entity, construction client and the eventual operator of the Art Centre.

“We are delighted the government see the value in helping us create what will not only be a world-class and iconic facility for Whangarei, but for the entire country,” Mr Faber says.

“The project has had such enormous support from people here in our city and throughout Northland and today’s generous contribution means we’re that much closer to making it happen,” he says.

The investment announcement was made by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in Whangarei today.

“This is a huge opportunity to not only showcase the wonderful work of Hundertwasser but also Maori fine art. We are privileged as a government to partner with the community to help make it happen. It is the ultimate example of what the provincial growth fund can deliver to our regions” said Prime Minister Ardern.

The new Centre is expected to attract as many as 202,000 visitors per year and help create more than 30 full-time jobs, plus 60 more during the two-year construction phase.  “The direct economic impact of the project will soon be realised and will reach well beyond the tourism sector” says Northland Inc CEO David Wilson.

$9.94 million has been pledged from the Provincial Growth Fund. Of that, $6.94 million is new funding and $3 million had been pledged to the project by central government in June 2017. The total construction cost of the Centre is $26.5 million, more than half of which has been raised by the community.

Mr Faber said the new funding covers construction cost inflation, increased contingency provision and design changes, as well as a significant portion of the pre-opening operational expenses that could not be included in the original capital fundraising drive.

“Work on a new foundation design was underway when we hit our capital fundraising target last June, but the end solution wasn’t finalised until early this year. We’re happy with the result but it’s been complex and challenging, due to the nature of the site and the weight of the living roof” Grant Faber says. “We also increased the contingency budget to better reflect the unique and complex nature of the HAC’s construction and finishing.”

“The extra work we’ve undertaken during the pre-construction phase, and today’s announcement by the Minister, means we’re now in a great place and ready to crack on with taking the community’s desire to create the Hundertwasser Art Centre into its next exciting phase.” Mr Faber says.

A public event is planned for 10.30 tomorrow (Saturday 2nd of June) in Whangarei’s Town Basin, where the project team is promising to announce further ‘very big news.’