Whangārei’s Hihiaua Cultural Centre realises long-held dream
Northland Inc’s acting CEO believes the opening of the Hihiaua Cultural Centre in Whangārei will add a “unique and exciting new dimension” to the city.
Vaughan Cooper was delighted that the long-held vision to bring an iconic Māori arts and cultural experience to the region had now become reality. “It is a really exciting and progressive development,” he said.
“The Hihiaua Cultural Centre will not only add to the richness and cultural diversity of our city and the community as a whole, it will provide a centre of excellence and a powerful legacy for future generations.”
The 40-year vision of Whangārei’s elders and community leaders to preserve, create, display and promote Māori arts and culture in the city will be brought to life in an inaugural art exhibition, Terenga Mai.
The exhibition celebrates the opening of the centre and speaks of the coming together of all peoples.
Showcasing a collection of traditional and contemporary Māori artworks, curated by local artist Lenny Murupaenga on behalf of the Hihiaua Cultural Centre Trust, Terenga Mai will run from tomorrow (Saturday, 22 June) until Monday, 2 September.
Stage one of the Hihiaua Cultural Centre received a $1 million injection from the new government’s Provincial Growth Fund that allowed the project to go ahead. Construction involved the renovation of the existing workshop and the building of a waka shelter and launching gantry into the Waiarohia River.
These facilities adjoin the popular Hatea Loop walkway on the Hihiaua Peninsula.
The development was identified as a key project in the Tai Tokerau Northland Economic Action Plan (TTNEAP), which is being facilitated and supported by Northland Inc, the region’s economic development agency.
Launched in 2016 and refreshed in 2019, the TTNEAP brings into focus a group of projects that together are contributing to the transformation of Northland’s economy.
Progress is being made through identifying opportunities and inspiring innovation to encourage further investment, boosting sustainable jobs and productivity, building capability and empowering and engaging communities to reach their full potential.
“The Hihiaua Cultural Centre is a shining example of what the Northland Economic Action Plan is all about,” Vaughan Cooper added."