Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry say the Whangarei Art Museum Trust will receive up to $3 million towards its bespoke project to build a Hundertwasser Art Centre in Whangarei. 

This is further to the $4 million the Government contributed towards its construction through the Northland Economic Action Plan.

“The Northland community has worked hard to get this project off the ground and I’m delighted that the Government has been able to provide funding to get this project across the line.

“The Hundertwasser Arts Centre is one of the core actions of the region’s economic plan and will contribute to the local economy by providing employment during construction and for its operation once open. It is estimated that the Hundertwasser Arts Centre will pump $3.5 to $3.7 million into Northland’s economy,” Mr Bridges says.

“As the birthplace of New Zealand, the region is an attractive tourist destination with significant cultural and historical heritage. The Hundertwasser Centre and Wairau Maori Art Gallery will add another quality visitor attraction to Northland’s tourism sector, a key industry of economic growth,” Mr Bridges says.

“The Trust wants to create ‘destination architecture’ - a must see contemporary building - in the heart of Whangarei that will have dedicated exhibition spaces for a rotating collection from the Hundertwasser Foundation in Vienna and the Waiaru Māori Art Gallery,” Ms Barry says.

“These sorts of facilities bring the social benefits of new visitors, business and residents to our smaller cities, such as Whangarei, and other regional towns.

“The funding is to be made available in the form of a time-limited conditional offer from Round Two of the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund (RCHF) – a contestable fund of last resort,” Ms Barry says. 

“It follows on from my earlier announcement of a $4 million grant towards the seismic strengthening of the Hawke’s Bay Opera House in Hastings.

“The RCHF was established in 2016 with $29.527 million to be allocated over three years for capital projects benefitting arts, culture and heritage institutions in the regions.”

The Ministers acknowledged the advocacy of Whangarei MP Dr Shane Reti who has worked closely with local and regional leaders, Prosper Northland Trust, and the wider Northland community over several years.

This is the second announcement in Round Two RCHF and more announcements will be made in coming weeks.

Ms Barry says Round One saw six grants totalling $13.878 million awarded to projects throughout New Zealand including seismic strengthening projects at the Sarjeant Gallery in Whanganui ($10m) and the Nelson School of Music’s Public Auditorium ($1.5m).

Further information about the RCHF can be found at:


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