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Te Ara Wai contract awarded

14 June 2019

Waipa District Council has awarded stage one of a $2.6 million architectural and design contract to build the Te Ara Wai museum and discovery centre in Te Awamutu.

The four-stage contract, which also includes streetscaping around the site, has been awarded to Wellington-based firm, Studio Pacific Architecture after a competitive tendering process. Sixteen firms, including local firms, indicated initial interest in the project with four short-listed.

To be short-listed, each firm had to have the capability and capacity to deliver a project of this size and type, relevant experience and a proven track record as well as knowledge of best-practice sustainable design. With Te Ara Wai’s strong focus on the New Zealand Land Wars, expertise was also required in engaging with iwi and other stakeholders.

Studio Pacific Architecture’s previous work includes projects at the He Tohu Document Room at the National Library in Wellington (which houses New Zealand’s key constitutional documents), Museum of Transport & Technology in Auckland (MOTAT) and the New Zealand Memorial in Canberra, Australia.

Waipā mayor Jim Mylchreest said the architectural contract has been broken into four separate stages with “hold points” after each stage so the external funding picture could be reassessed. Stage one covers the functional design specification and is worth $291,000. Work will begin in July.

“Council has been very clear that it needs to secure external funding for this project and the reality is that there is always uncertainty around that,” Mylchreest said.

“However, the work in stage one is required by all potential funders so they know what they will be supporting. We need to proceed with it to attract funding and progress the project. By the time stage one is complete, we will have a much clearer idea of where external funding sits.”

At the end of stage one, formal approval will be required from Council before progressing to the further three stages.


In its 10-Year Plan signed off last year, Council budgeted $7.2 million to build the museum and discovery centre next to the Te Awamutu Library in Mahoe St, near the Events Centre, Pioneer Park Playground and Pop ‘n’ Good bike park.

Further funding was set aside for the Te Ara Wai Journeys project to develop a mobile-friendly website to guide self-drive tours of key battle sites around the district.

Mylchreest said an application to support the project was being prepared for the government’s Provincial Growth Fund and other funding mechanisms were actively being pursued.

“There is certainly significant national awareness of this project, given the growing interest in the Land Wars and in New Zealand’s own story. It’s great to see this contract awarded but there is a long way go to go and a lot of work to do yet.”


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