Te Kakano passes muster in Vienna

By Alex Newlove

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Andrew Garratt at the opening of Te Kakano, the seed building for the Hundertwasser Art Centre. PHOTO/JOHN STONE
Andrew Garratt at the opening of Te Kakano, the seed building for the Hundertwasser Art Centre. PHOTO/JOHN STONE

Whangarei's taster building for the Hundertwasser Art Centre - Te Kakano - has passed muster with the project's Vienna-based overlords.

But project action team leader Andrew Garratt said approval from the Vienna-based Hundertwasser Foundation was hard-won, with the construction team sending daily photographic updates during the tiling and bricklaying processes for Te Kakano - the HAC's "folly" structure.

Te Kakano is the new koru-shaped lookout and seating area at the Town Basin, designed in an artwork in its own right and so local tradespeople could master the techniques required for the main event. About 50 people worked on it.

All going well, the HAC will be built starting June next year just behind Te Kakano, over the green-and-white former Northland Harbour Board Building.

"There was quite a bit that needed to be re-done as we went on Te Kakano on account of their [the foundation's] comments," Mr Garratt said.

"Particularly around the tiling, we had to re-do bits and pieces here and there. But they are very, very happy with the end result."

Mr Garratt said a group from the foundation in Vienna would come out in June next year, contingent on volunteers raising the remaining $3.26 million required to build the centre. The 75-member team had raised almost $13 million over the past 15 months.

The foundation representatives would then give Te Kakano another once over in person, and may have more feedback to give to ensure the HAC construction went smoothly.

Te Kakano was proving a popular attraction, with crowds of people gathered around it, climbing it, and many taking photos following the October 21 opening.

Whangarei MP Dr Shane Reti opened the structure after wowing the 300-strong crowd with a rock rendition of a Maori folk song, He Kakano Ahau.

To donate to the Hundertwasser Art Centre with Wairau Maori Art Gallery visit yeswhangarei.co.nz.

- Northern Advocate

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