Progress On Civic Administration Building
Taupō District Council and Te Whare Hono o Tūwharetoa Limited Partnership have announced they are working together on a new civic administration building in the Taupō town centre.
Te Whare Hono o Tūwharetoa Limited Partnership is a body representing various Ngāti Tūwharetoa trusts and companies.
Both it and the council are hailing the building project as symbolic of their shared aspiration to seek a closer and enduring partnership, as well as create a taonga of significance to the Taupō District.
Under the proposed arrangement, Te Whare Hono o Tūwharetoa Limited Partnership would purchase the former Taupō RSA site at 67 Horomatangi Street from the Taupō District Council and construct a building. It will lease the majority of the building to the council but retain some co-tenancy space for Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board, Tūwharetoa Settlement Trust and Ngāti Tūwharetoa Fisheries Charitable Trust.
The project follows council consultation with the community earlier in the year which showed overwhelming community support to lease a building.
Council chief executive Gareth Green said the project is hugely significant for the Taupō District, symbolising a true partnership between the council and Tūwharetoa.
“This is about creating an enduring relationship between council and the mana whenua of this rohe. Being a co-tenant in this building with three Tūwharetoa entities will also be hugely beneficial to our partnership work with iwi.”
Rakeipoho Taiaroa, chairman of Te Whare Hono o Tūwharetoa, said the project was an exciting development which will help mana whenua and local government to work more closely together and to build a cohesive relationship for the future.
Mr Green said the building will be built to Importance Level 4, with the seismic resilience for it to be used as an Emergency Operations Centre after a natural disaster and to enable vital council infrastructure to continue to operate. It would also create extra efficiencies by bringing council staff, who are presently spread across five different sites, together under one roof again.
While today signifies an important step in the partnership, negotiations over key terms are continuing and any Agreement to Lease would be concluded early next year.
It’s expected that construction would begin early 2023, with the building ready to occupy in mid-2024.