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Hundertwasser Art Centre announces opening date

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

"If one person dreams alone... It is only a dream. When many people dream together... It is the beginning of a new reality." - Hundertwasser

Whangârei’s iconic new Hundertwasser Art Centre will open in exactly one year’s time, 27 years after the famous Austrian artist first drew his plans for the structure. It is the last architectural project that Friederich Hundertwasser was involved with before his death in 2000.

The building will also become home to Wairau Mâori Art Gallery, New Zealand’s first gallery dedicated to the finest in contemporary Mâori art.

The project is managed and will be operated by Whangârei Art Museum Trust.

"To be able to say we will throw open the doors to the new Hundertwasser Art Centre in exactly one year’s time is something everyone connected with the project has dreamed of. After many years of community determination, unwavering commitment and generous support by so many, the dream is now about to become reality," Whangârei Art Museum Trust chair Thomas Biss said.

The building, which is clad in hundreds of thousands of tiles and intricate plasterwork and which features 12 unique ceramic columns, will house a permanent collection of Hundertwasser’s works. It will also contain a restaurant, learning centre and museum store. The building will be topped by the largest afforested roof in the Southern hemisphere with over 4000 plants - which visitors will be able to explore.

The building’s design incorporates nearly 40,000 recycled red bricks and 3.5km of salvaged timber flooring which either came from the old Harbour Board building or were donated by the community.

"This building will be unlike anything anywhere in New Zealand. It is truly unique and will not only be a significant addition to Whangârei’s tourism and cultural landscape, but to all of Northland" Mr Biss said.

Friederich Hundertwasser was born in Austria and first travelled to New Zealand in 1973. He became a New Zealand citizen and lived for nearly 25 years in Northland. His art, architecture and environmental work is celebrated around the world.

The building will have cost $30 million to construct and was funded through contributions from the Provincial Growth Fund, local councils, charity organisations and private donations. When it opens on 3 December 2021 it will have taken 30 months to construct.

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