Northland's Hundertwasser Art Centre project will go ahead after the government pledged another $3 million.

The total government contribution is now at $7m. Ground will be broken later this year.
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges said centre was one of the core actions of Northland's economic plan, and would pump an estimated $3.5m to $3.7m a year into the regional economy.

"The Northland community has worked hard to get this project off the ground and I'm delighted that the Government has been able to provide funding to get the project across the line," Bridges said.

The $3m in funding announced today will be from a regional culture and heritage fund.


Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser spent 20 years in the Bay of Islands and became a New Zealand citizen. He died in 2000 and is buried on his beloved property not far from Kawakawa.

In 1993, he was invited by Whangarei's mayor to design an art centre, and did so, featuring his trademark irregular forms that are a feuatre of the famous Kawakawa toilets.

The project was revived in 2008, but stalled in 2014 when councillors voted against putting money towards it. The following year and after community volunteers kept the project alive, a local referendum resulted in a win for the Hundertwasser and Wairau Maori Art Gallery project.

On Wednesday, it was announced a $3.5m Lotteries Commission grant had pushed the money raised so far to $18.6m - well over the $16.25m required by June 30. The Hundertwasser project team is working towards an estimated build cost of $20.97 million.