Staff from 19 community organisations are expected to begin moving into TECT's $10 million co-working hub in the Historic Village over the next few weeks.

The building, christened The Kollective, will officially open on Monday after a blessing yesterday morning.

The Kollective has 135 workspaces for the staff of about 40 social and not-for-profit organisations, as well as for the administrators of the three local funding organisations that backed the build: TECT, Baytrust and the Acorn Foundation.

TECT chairman Bill Holland said the cost included the purchase of 4800sq m of land from the Tauranga City Council - a move that courted controversy when it was debated in 2016.

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Holland called the opposition "ridiculous" and congratulated the council for supporting the project, which he said would increase the effectiveness of its members as well as be used by the community at large.

Tect chairman Bill Holland at the blessing of The Kollective. Photo/John Borren
Tect chairman Bill Holland at the blessing of The Kollective. Photo/John Borren

He believed a space that housed not-for-profit groups together with funders was a first for New Zealand.

Leases were priced between $30 a day and $500 a month for resident members.

The open-plan floors had desks for 135 people as well as meeting rooms, kitchens and conversation pods upholstered with acoustically treated fabric.

A 6m by 29m deck will double as a performance-ready stage outside business hours, overlooking a 3800m sq green.

Historic Village team leader Blair Graham said swampy land previously usable only a few months a year had been transformed by 1.2km of subsoil drainage into a green that could be used year-round for events of up to 3500 people.

Graham said The Kollective would add vibrancy to the village as a whole.

Two of its first residents will be Deaf Aotearoa's Maureen Baker and Sue Lessing, who said they looked forward to working in a modern, secure and inspiring space.

TECT chairman Bill Holland, kaumatua Tamati Tata and building manager Gordy Lockhart in front of the new building in the Historic Village. Photo/John Borren
TECT chairman Bill Holland, kaumatua Tamati Tata and building manager Gordy Lockhart in front of the new building in the Historic Village. Photo/John Borren

Building manager Gordy Lockhart from SocialLink said there was still some construction work to finish, including the carpark, but the membership push could now begin in earnest.

He said The Kollective would be an inclusive place where people could be themselves; for example, using whichever gender bathroom they preferred.

Sustainability features included LED lighting and four toner-recoverable printers that could reuse printed pages.

Other special features unveiled at the site included a totara slab sign and five poupou (totems) carved by Whare Thompson at the entrance and, inside, a colourful 9m tall vinyl-on-glass artwork by Logan Hunt featuring tukutuku panels modelled off Huria Marae.

The Kollective: By the numbers

- 1800sq m total area
- 135 electronic sit/stand desks
- Six meeting rooms
- Four kitchenettes + larger "cafe" kitchen
- 132sq m deck
- 3800sq m green space
- 57 carparks
- Two electric vehicle charging points

Critic unmoved

Former city councillor Hylton Rhodes remains "furious" about the new addition to the Historic Village.

The vocal critic, who predicted the project would doom the village, had several complaints, chief among them the "loss of public green space".

"We need to keep these precious green spaces. This one was just tossed away."

He also remained sceptical about TECT spending electricity consumers' money on a building that would also serve as its own office, the "spin"-laden consultation process and a modern building being out of place in a historic village.

"The whole thing is shonky. It should never have gone ahead."