Another milestone has been passed in building Whangārei's Hundertwasser Art Centre with Wairau Māori Art Gallery.
After a mammoth effort and hundreds of volunteer hours the last of the mortar has been chipped off the bricks which have been recycled from the Old Harbour Board building and will be used in the Hundertwasser Art Centre.
The 16,000th and final brick which is required to be supplied to the project was chipped on Friday.
A hardcore band of volunteers has been working away since August to recycle materials from the building which was deconstructed to make way for the Hundertwasser project.
The recycling centre has been set up in part of the Old Army Hall on the corner of Walton St and Robert St. It shares the building with Open Arms, a day centre for those in need.
More than 600 hours of volunteer work has gone into the recycling efforts. There were generally six people doing six hours a week. As well as the bricks, around 2.5km of native timber has been de-nailed and saved for use in the Hundertwasser Art Centre with Wairau Māori Art Gallery.
Volunteer Reg Lawson said he had been volunteering every Thursday.
"I'm an old chipper from way back, my dad had a building in K Rd and we took all the chimneys out from the three-storey building so I've had lots of experience."
He said it was a bit frustrating at times because "the mortar doesn't come off the bricks as well as you'd like it too".
In fitting timing, Saturday was also what would have been Hundertwasser's 90th birthday.
The final brick symbolises the end of the volunteer effort for the project overall.
There are no longer volunteers manning the Hundertwasser HQ visitor centre at the Town Basin.
The project team estimate 40,000 hours have been accrued by volunteers to get the project to this point, dating back to 2014.
Meanwhile, a crane operator has snapped a few pictures of the project site and the surrounding areas from the top of the crane - possibly the largest ever seen in Whangārei's CBD.
The crane is 26 metres tall and is expected to be on site for a year, moving anything that needs to be moved.
The Hundertwasser flag which was designed in 1983 and proposed as a secondary NZ flag has also been hoisted and now hangs from the crane on site.
In November, the last of the 75 hollow steel tubes were sunk into the ground at depths of between 35 to 28 metres to create the piles. These were then excavated before the holes were filled with steel and concrete to form the piles.
The next stage in construction is to form and pour the concrete bond beams which link all the piles together before installing sub-surface services and then the concrete slab early in the new year.
At the end of November a collection of books about Friedensreich Hundertwasser were donated to Whangārei library so the people of Whangārei could learn more about the man who inspired the project.
The $26 million Hundertwasser Art Centre with Wairau Māori Art Gallery is due to be completed in late 2020.