26 Sep 2012

Council to reveal Hundertwasser arts centre deal

8:09 pm on 26 September 2012

The Whangarei District Council is making public a proposed licensing agreement with the Hundertwasser Foundation in Vienna on Wednesday.

The council wants to build a $15 million arts centre by 2015, based on a design by the late Austrian artist who lived in New Zealand.

In the proposed agreement, the Hundertwasser Foundation agrees to supply the Whangarei centre with a permanent collection of works by the artist, and changing exhibitions.

In return, the council agrees to build and maintain the centre, insure the artworks and pay for their transportation.

Whangarei deputy mayor Phil Halse says the council needs to be sure of the operational costs before it signs off on any agreement, and staff are working that out.

Councillor Kahu Sutherland says a Hundertwasser art centre would be a gift of great value, not just to his city but to New Zealand.

Mr Sutherland says Kawakawa already has the Hundertwasser toilets, and the house where he resided.

"So this isn't just about a building in Whangarei; this is about the Hundertwasser movement and the legacy being established here in Whangarei and in the North."

He says it's been hard to convey the merit of the project to many people unfamiliar with Hundertwasser's work or his close links to this country.

The council says the Hundertwasser project is still contingent on funding from government and charitable sources.