A ''civic hub'' bringing together a range of council and community facilities under one roof will be built on Kaikohe's main street at cost of more than $11 million.

Modelled on Kaitaia's Te Ahu Centre, the hub will be a joint project between the Far North District Council, which will stump up much of the money, and Te Rūnanga-ā-iwi o Ngāpuhi, which owns the vacant former Kaikohe Hotel site on Broadway.

With a budget of $11.78m the hub was one of the biggest projects approved in the council's 2018-28 Long-Term Plan (LTP), which sets out spending priorities for the next 10 years. The council expects grants or central government funding will be needed to complete the project.

The proposed Kaikohe civic hub is modelled on Kaitaia's Te Ahu Centre, which opened in 2012 and brings council offices, a library, community hall, museum, i-Site and cinema under one roof.
The proposed Kaikohe civic hub is modelled on Kaitaia's Te Ahu Centre, which opened in 2012 and brings council offices, a library, community hall, museum, i-Site and cinema under one roof.

It is anticipated the hub will include a library, i-Site, cultural centre, performance space and museum. It could also house a youth space, business incubator and public toilets for cyclists and freedom campers, while improving links between Broadway and existing attractions such as the Pioneer Village and the Twin Coast Cycle Trail.

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When originally mooted in the 2015-25 LTP the hub would have housed all council staff, including those in the ageing Kaikohe headquarters and in leased offices at the John Butler Centre in Kerikeri. About 100 employees shifted to Kerikeri during former Mayor Wayne Brown's tenure.

However, the new plan does not involve moving staff back from Kerikeri or necessarily even from current Kaikohe offices, other than library and service centre staff.

Instead the focus of the current proposal, according to a council spokesman, is on ''a shared community space that is not dominated by any one group or organisation''.

It is hoped the new complex will re-invigorate Kaikohe in the same way Te Ahu has boosted pride and created a central focal point in Kaitaia.

Although details are still vague the plan has been welcomed in Kaikohe.

Business association chairman Mark Anderson said he couldn't emphasise its importance enough.

The district's western ward had given much away to the Bay of Islands in the past 20 years but the hub would help ''rebalance the ledger'' as well as giving the town a much-needed facelift, particularly with increasing numbers of visitors drawn by the cycle trail.

Anderson believed the project would create ''a real mood swing'' with business owners telling him it would give them confidence to invest in their own buildings.

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The project also has the backing of the Northland Chamber of Commerce, with chief executive Tony Collins saying he had seen the benefits Te Ahu had brought to Kaitaia.

Kaikohe's current council and civic facilities weren't fit for purpose, especially given the town's importance as the heart of Ngāpuhi.

''It would be a clear statement that the council is committed to Kaikohe,'' Collins said.
The Far North District Council and Te Rūnanga-ā-iwi o Ngāpuhi have ben asked to comment on the project. They plan to issue a joint statement at a later date.

The LTP sets aside $1m for the civic hub in the current financial year, $5m in 2019-20, $3m in 2020-21 and $2.78m in 2021-22.

Kaitaia's Te Ahu Centre was also a joint project between the council and iwi, with Te Rarawa owning part of the land it was built on.