Arts, Culture and Heritage Associate Minister Grant Robertson officially opened the Te Raukura ki Kāpiti performing arts centre on Saturday.

After a ribbon cutting, Mr Robertson was shown through the $12m centre which features a 331-seat main theatre, a black box theatre, dance studio, music room, sound recording studio and nine practice rooms.

On the public open day 3000 people toured the centre, which has been years in the planning, design and building phases.

People see inside Te Raukura ki Kapiti for the first time. Photo / David Haxton
People see inside Te Raukura ki Kapiti for the first time. Photo / David Haxton

Mr Robertson said it was "an absolute privilege" to attend the opening.

Advertisement

He thanked everyone who had been involved in the project, especially Kāpiti College principal Tony Kane.

"This place is a tribute to your dedication and your commitment and is something for you to be proud of.

"I know your school and community is proud of you."

Mr Robertson also thanked college board of trustees chairwoman Cass Carter.

"You have been a driving force of this project.

"It takes leadership to draw people together and to stick with it."

Special mention was made of Sir Jon Trimmer.

Sir Jon Trimmer. Photo / Paddy Riley
Sir Jon Trimmer. Photo / Paddy Riley

"It was someone like you who inspired someone like me.

Advertisement

"Sometimes when I think about my childhood, and the arts, there were sort of shades of grey, now there's so much colour.

"And Jon it's people like you who deliver that colour to us, and you continue to do so.

"Thank you for a lifetime of contribution to the arts in our community."

Mr Robertson said Roger Horrocks, a New Zealand filmmaker and biographer, had said the arts are what human beings do at their best.

"This will be a whare to see all of this community at its absolute best."

Te Raukura ki Kāpiti performing arts centre. Photo / David Haxton
Te Raukura ki Kāpiti performing arts centre. Photo / David Haxton

Ms Carter described the opening as "yeeha we finally did it".

"Congratulations to each and everyone of you for your part in this.

"Kāpiti, we did this great mahi together, and now we shine together."

The arts were "incredibly strong in Kāpiti and we have shown that through blood, sweat and tears."

She praised Parihaka for gifting the centre's name.

"It's a community [Parihaka] with an extraordinary history and an extraordinary strength, of whose values our school and the centre now share.

"The power of this name and the values behind it, will support our centre, our college, and our community for generations to come."

Inside the Coastlands Theatre. Photo / Dick van der Oever
Inside the Coastlands Theatre. Photo / Dick van der Oever

Kāpiti College head girl Hayley Searancke thanked Mr Kane and Ms Carter for their vision for the project which started 10 years ago.

"The blueprint has become this amazing architectural gem that stands in front of us.

"The performing arts has a place to call home."

The efforts would "go down in the history of Kāpiti as one of the greatest demonstrations of freedom of artistic expression in our community".