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Waipa's Te Ara Wai museum earmarked for $1 million boost

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Fundraising for Te Ara Wai is well underway with Trust Waikato announcing that it will inject $1 million into Waipa’s new museum and discovery centre.

Waipa Mayor Jim Mylchreest says the substantial donation is a step closer to enabling the district's diverse and largely unknown social, cultural and natural history to be shared with local, national and international visitors.

"This is such an important project for our district and we are sincerely grateful for the support Trust Waikato has shown for this project, and other Waipa District Council projects over the years," he says.

Te Ara Wai will be a centre of national and international significance where the stories of New Zealanders are protected and shared in a way that is accessible to everyone.

"No one in New Zealand has attempted a project this ambitious before, weaving together different perspectives on the New Zealand land wars. There is simply nowhere else in New Zealand where you will be able to have this type of experience."

Mylchreest says Te Ara Wai will encompass the region’s foundational geological beginnings, it’s mix of peoples, their struggles, innovation and resilience, and their battles for sovereignty during the New Zealand land wars.

It will provide places for discovery, questioning and learning, and visitors will be able to take pathways through natural landscapes, battle sites and early settlements that formed the Waipa community and shaped Aotearoa New Zealand as a nation.

"We’re also meeting a growing demand for New Zealand history to be part of the national curriculum, where we teach the stories of our country, rather than learn about the history of everywhere else in the world," he adds.

"New Zealanders are already strongly invested in this project and the support and generosity of Trust Waikato will help us to achieve something the district and New Zealanders will be proud of."

Trust Waikato chief executive Dennis Turton says the Trust granted significantly towards this project because it will have a "important impact for our communities at a regional and national level".

"We believe Te Ara Wai will deliver transformational change," says Turton.

"This initiative will provide employment and training opportunities, and most importantly increase people’s connection to the land and our history so that we can acknowledge the past and move forward with collaborative solutions into the future."

Te Ara Wai is of the major projects signed off in Council's 2018-2028 10-Year Plan. The current Te Awamutu Museum is extremely limited in the number and size of exhibitions can provide, and there is not enough space for storage of collections.

Mylchreest says Council is fully committed to the project, but fundraising will determine how big it can be.

"Council will be contributing $7.2 million towards the design and construction of a purpose-built facility for Te Ara Wai. But if this is a national project that we treat with national significance, then we will need support from the likes of the Provisional Growth Fund and other funding mechanisms."

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