Rotorua Museum and the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre are a step closer to opening following an injection of $10 million from combined grants.

Both buildings need restoring and strengthening after the museum was closed after the Kaikoura earthquake and the performing arts centre after a seismic assessment.

The total cost to strengthen and restore the museum is estimated at $45 to $50 million while strengthening and upgrading the performing arts centre has been costed at $17.9m.

The Lottery Board has allocated $6m to the museum and $4m to the centre from its significant projects fund.

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This takes funding for the museum to date up to $31m and funding for the centre to $22.1m meaning the centre is fully funded.

New Zealand Aria Trust president Jo-Anne La Grouw said she was extremely excited the centre had been fully funded.

While the centre has been closed, the New Zealand Aria has been held in the Rydges hotel with the final night in the Destiny Auditorium.

New Zealand Aria Trust president Joanne La Grouw, pictured at the competition venue in 2018. Photo / File
New Zealand Aria Trust president Joanne La Grouw, pictured at the competition venue in 2018. Photo / File

"It's the only space that will house a full orchestra. I can't wait to get back into the performing arts centre."

She said she couldn't explain how much the centre had been missed.

An artist's impression of the redeveloped Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre. Image / Shand Shelton Architects and First Light Studio
An artist's impression of the redeveloped Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre. Image / Shand Shelton Architects and First Light Studio

"It's been so hard to hold our competition without the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre. They can start work tomorrow."

Ann Somerville, who served at the museum for more than two decades, said the extra funding was amazing.

"That's really good news. It's what we already know. This is a building of national importance and it's worth every penny."

Ann Somerville when she left Rotorua Museum in 2013 after 23 years of service. Photo / File
Ann Somerville when she left Rotorua Museum in 2013 after 23 years of service. Photo / File

Somerville said she still came across visitors who weren't aware it was closed and it felt like Rotorua was missing part of itself.

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said the funding was fantastic.

"This funding represents another substantial investment in Rotorua and recognises the significance of these two facilities to our community.

"For the museum it's another major funding injection, on top of the commitments already made by council and Rotorua Trust, and every amount makes a huge difference when you are also seeking central Government contribution which we're continuing to work on with senior ministers.

Mayor Steve Chadwick welcomed more funding from Lottery. Photo / File
Mayor Steve Chadwick welcomed more funding from Lottery. Photo / File

"For the performing arts centre project, this additional funding enables us to create a multi-use, fit-for-purpose facility for our community, and to attract shows and events we haven't previously been able to get here in Rotorua."

The council's arts and culture manager, Stewart Brown, said both projects were complex.

"We are dealing with old buildings, both with Category 1 heritage status, so extremely detailed planning has been required.

The Rotorua Museum remains closed. Photo / File
The Rotorua Museum remains closed. Photo / File

"There has been a huge amount of work going on to ensure that when the strengthening and refurbishment of these iconic buildings is completed, they will be a valuable and much loved part of our community fabric for many years to come."

Design work for both projects is almost finished and work to prepare the sites for construction will start in the next few months.

Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre. Photo / File
Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre. Photo / File

Museum needs $45m to $50m

- Rotorua Lakes Council $15m

- Rotorua Trust $10m

- Lottery's significant projects fund $6m

- $14m to $19m still needed

SHMPAC needs $17.9m
- Rotorua Lakes Council $11.5m
- Glenn Family Foundation $3m
- RECT $1.5m
- NZ Lottery Grants Board $1.2m
- NZCT $750,000
- One Foundation $125,000
- Lottery's significant projects fund $4m
- $22.75m raised, fully funded