29 Jun 2015

Trust hopes for Maori centre funding

8:23 am on 29 June 2015

The Hihiaua Cultural Centre Trust, which has been working towards a Māori cultural centre for Whangarei, is hoping to hear this week if the council has agreed to a grant to launch it.

Whangarei Harbour

Photo: Wiki Commons

The trust has been planning for years to build a complex on the Hihiaua peninsula, just east of the Town Basin Marina. It has asked the council for seeding funding of $500,000.

Trust chair Richard Drake said the master carver Te Warihi Hetaraka had been working and teaching in an old shed on the site, and the initial grant would give the carvers a proper home.

He said the first stage of the project involved the revamping of the shed so it was a safe place to work and a safe place to visit.

Mr Drake said the carving shed had become a drawcard for the public visiting the Town Basin area, and would become even more so when a waka shelter was built.

He said the plan was that in coming years, there would be waka on the harbour, and Hihiaua, with its theatre and conference facilities, would be the cultural hub of Whangarei.