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$400,000 NZCT Grant Boosts Rotorua Museum Restoration

Rototua Musuem (Photo credit: Rotorua Lakes Council)

New Zealand Community Trust (NZCT) has awarded Rotorua Lakes Council a multi-year grant of $400,000, to be spread over this and the next three years, to aid in the strengthening, restoration, and redevelopment of the iconic Rotorua Museum Te Whare Taonga o Te Arawa.

The landmark Category 1 Bath House building has been closed since November 2016 due to seismic vulnerabilities. Mayor Tapsell says “We heard from our community how well-loved this building is and that there is strong support to re-open. The support from New Zealand Community Trust and other funders is yet another step towards reopening the doors of the Rotorua Bath House and Museum to everyone”

Rotorua Lakes Council, Arts, Culture & Mahi Toi Manager Stewart Brown adds “When it was open, Rotorua Museum attracted around 100,000 to 120,000 visitors each year, sharing the stories of the Rotorua region and its people.”

The restoration project promises significant economic benefits, including job creation and increased investment. The museum's reopening will bolster Rotorua's identity as a world-class tourism destination and a vital cultural hub. The museum houses a nationally significant collection of over 55,000 objects, including social history artifacts, art, photography, and more than two thousand taonga Māori.

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NZCT’s GM Grants, Marketing and Communications, Ben Hodges adds, "We are delighted to support the rebirth of this precious institution in the heart of Rotorua. NZCT is grateful for the responsible gaming fundraising partnerships we enjoy with Kasper’s Sports Bar, Mo’s Bar and The West End Tavern that made our grant possible.”

With the recent funding announcements, detailed design plans completed, and resource consents issued, the building project is now fully funded and ready to commence. The total building project is expected to cost $73.55 million, with fundraising for the exhibition work ongoing.

Construction is set to begin this month and is anticipated to be completed by 2027.

Note: Rotorua Museum is managed by Rotorua Lakes Council for the community and was closed for safety reasons in November 2016 after the Kaikoura earthquake when a rapid seismic risk assessment determined the building was earthquake prone.

Extensive research has since been conducted to address the heritage, geotechnical, and structural challenges and in August 2023, Rotorua Lakes Council’s Infrastructure and Environment Committee approved proceeding with the museum's strengthening and reopening.

The establishment of a Building Governance Group for the project in September 2023 provided construction sector expertise to ensure successful delivery of the design, procurement and pre-construction aspects of the project. This led to cost saving measures being implemented and the procurement of Watts & Hughes for the construction contract in April this year.

New Zealand Community Trust (NZCT) is one of the largest gaming societies in New Zealand. In 22/23, NZCT awarded over $40 million in grants for a wide range of community services, including sports, rescue services, youth development, the Arts, and cultural activities.

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