Underground work on the Hundertwasser Art Centre with the Wairau Maori Art Gallery site in central Whangārei is drawing to an end.

Whangārei Art Museum Trust chairman Thomas Biss said work at the site is "all go" with "lots of concrete and lots of steel".

Biss said contractors are working on the concrete and steel ground beams which link the piles together.

Seventy-five hollow steel tubes were sunk into the ground at depths of 28m to 35m to create the piles. These were then excavated before the holes were filled with steel and concrete to form the piles.

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Biss said the next big step is the pouring of the slab in March, which will be the beginning of the ground floor.

"It's moving precisely to schedule."

He said having a garden on the roof of the finished centre means the building needs to be very strong.

About 1500cu m of concrete is going into the building, around tonnes of steel.

Contractors on site are working towards pouring the concrete slab base in March. Photo / John Stone
Contractors on site are working towards pouring the concrete slab base in March. Photo / John Stone

He said aside from the construction, the Wairau Māori Art Gallery has started thinking about what the gallery will present.

Biss said the project will get "more and more exciting" as it progresses.

The Whangārei Art Museum Trust is behind the project, and Biss has recently moved into the chairman's role after the resignation of Grant Faber.

Biss said it was exciting for him to be stepping into it. He said there is a "real momentum" and excitement behind the project.

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The $26 million Hundertwasser Art Centre with Wairau Maori Art Gallery is due to be completed in late 2020.