A drilling rig at the Town Basin in Whangarei last week extracted core samples from the site of the Hundertwasser Arts Centre and Wairau Maori Art Gallery.
Building the centre will start next year if the $16.25 million required to construct it is raised by June.
Prosper Northland Trust is the main driver behind the project and one of its members Greg Guy, from Guyco Construction, said the drilling will result in a full geo-technical report to assist engineers to confirm the final design.
Core penetration testing was used to produce the original design and the core samples from this week's drilling would allow engineers to check the load capacity and underground geology, plus determine the correct length of foundation piles.
As of Friday, the total raised for the centre was just $17,000 short of $13 million, according to the yeswhangarei website.
A "taster" building for the Hundertwasser Arts Centre - Te Kakano - was officially opened in October next to the old Harbour Board building where the Arts Centre will be built.
The structure allowed local tradespeople to master the techniques required to build the centre.