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Stunning Hundertwasser Art Centre Moves Forward


Stunning Hundertwasser Art Centre Moves Forward
Distinguished Māori advisors appointed

The stunning Hundertwasser Art Centre planned for Whangarei has taken another step forward, with the appointment of a Māori Advisory Panel.

Leading Māori scholars, artists and kaumatua have been appointed to the project – the vision of Austrian-born Friedensreich Hundertwasser, one of the 20th century’s most celebrated artists.


Northland was a second home to Hundertwasser, a global nomad who returned every year to his antipodean sanctuary. His spiritual connection to nature was shared by tangata whenua, who saw him as a man of great mana.

The $13.7 million Centre in Whangarei’s waterfront Town Basin will be the last authentic Hundertwasser building in the world.


International consultants Deloitte estimate the Centre will attract 150,000 visitors and bring $3.5 million a year in net economic benefits to the Northland Region.

Based on these conservative estimates, the Hundertwasser Art Centre would pay for itself in less than four years

Due to open in 2015, the Centre will be housed in a transformed Northland Harbour Board building in Whangarei’s waterfront Town Basin.

Hundertwasser, who also created the world-famous Kawakawa Public Toilets, wanted a dedicated Māori Art Gallery to be included in the new centre. The newly-appointed Māori Advisory Panel is a requirement of The Hundertwasser Non-Profit Foundation in Vienna.

Chaired by Elizabeth Ellis, CNZM, the panel will work to ensure the new gallery is of national standing and will benefit Māori and the arts sector.

“The Māori Art Gallery in the Hundertwasser Art Centre is a unique concept that will provide an exciting forum for Māori creativity,” says Ellis. “It will build a positive profile for all Māori and will form an invaluable global link with other indigenous communities.

“The Panel will advise on the curatorship of art and exhibitions in keeping with the harmony, spirit and philosophy of Māori culture. The gallery will exhibit the work of our most gifted contemporary Māori artists, as well as nationally significant Māori works loaned from the collections of major public art museums.”

Whangarei Art Museum Trust Chair, Councillor Sharon Morgan, says the Hundertwasser Art Centre offers a unique opportunity to transform Whangarei and the Northland region into a global tourist destination.

Cr Morgan says the Whangarei District Council has committed $8 million to the project, and a capital campaign has now commenced to find the remainder. “We hope to start work mid-next year, with the Hundertwasser Art Centre officially opening two years later.”

The New Zealand spokesperson for The Hundertwasser Non-Profit Foundation, Richard Smart, says the project has the Foundation’s full support.

“As well as retrieving the original artist’s drawings and architectural concepts from our archives in Vienna, we have engaged Heinz Springmann, the architect on many of Hundertwasser’s projects, to produce plans for the Centre which faithfully capture the artist’s vision.

“Given Hundertwasser’s love of New Zealand and the authenticity of the project, the Foundation will also circulate art works from our museum in Vienna for display in Whangarei.”

Members of the newly-appointed Māori Advisory Panel are:


Chair: Elizabeth Ellis CNZM (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Porou), chair of Toi Iho Kaitiaki Inc (trademark of authentic Māori art), and Auckland Art Gallery’s Māori advisory group, Haerewa.

Professor Jonathan Mane-Wheoki (Ngāpuhi/Te Aupouri/Ngāti Kuri), Professor of Fine Arts at Auckland University’s Elam School of Fine Arts and formerly director of Te Papa Tongarewa’s art and collection services.

Dr Patu Hohepa (Ngāpuhi, Te Mahurehure), former Māori Language Commissioner and Professor of Māori at Auckland University.

Allen Wihongi (Ngāpuhi, Te Uri o Hua), Te Runanga-a-Iwi-o-Ngāpuhi’s general manager for iwi development.

Shane Cotton ONZM (Ngāti Rangi, Ngāti Hine, Te Uri Taniwha), one of New Zealand’s most important living painters.

Lisa Reihana (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine, Ngāi Tu), internationally renowned multi-media artist.

Manos Nathan (Te Roroa, Ngāti Whatua, Ngāpuhi), one of New Zealand’s leading clay artists.

Māori Art Gallery Advisor:
Ngahiraka Mason (Ngāi Tuhoe, Te Arawa, Ngāti Pango) is indigenous curator at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki.


Tangata Whenua Advisor:
Taipari Munro (Te Uriroroi, Te Parawhau, Ngāti Taka, Ngāti Wai, Ngāti Korora, Te Waiariki, Ngāti Pukenga, Ngāti Te Tawera) is a member of Whangarei District Council’s Te Kārearea Māori committee.


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