Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern says the late Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser would be proud of a new community hub in Kawakawa set up in his name.
Ardern was in Kawakawa today to formally open Te Hononga, a Hundertwasser-inspired community hub, in the town,
It also includes a public library, council service centre, public toilets and showers, an art gallery, interpretative centre, community workshop and expanded car and coach parking to take pressure off the town's clogged main street.
An ātea, or town square, is also part of the project. The ātea has been created on the site of the old library and post office to link Te Hononga with Kawakawa's main street and to give the town an outdoor gathering space.
Ardern was greeted by a large crowd in Kawakawa for the opening, and she cut the ribbon for the project along with Hundertwasser Memorial Park Charitable Trust chair Nona Shepherd and Ngati Hine kuia Kene Martin.
Ardern said Hundertwasser, who lived near Kawakawa and gifted the town it's world-famous Hundertwasser toilet block, would have been proud of the new building and the town itself for coming together to get it built.
While Northland Regional Council support and Provincial Growth Fund cash got the roughly $6m hub across the line, it has always been a community project.
It started out as a visitors' centre and gallery honouring the late Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who made the town his home and whose world-famous public toilets are credited with reversing the town's decline.
The hub's design and purpose changed over the years but made slow progress even after a dedicated Hundertwasser Memorial Park Charitable Trust was set up in 2008.
The project gained a new lease of life three years ago when a facilitator was hired and local iwi Ngati Hine got on board, making it a genuinely community-wide effort.
Te Hononga can be translated as "the joining together of people".
A dawn ceremony and karakia were held at 5.30am followed by the official opening at 10.45am.
A multitude of Northland artists have been involved in the final stages of the project, decorating the library and the ātea in particular.
Elements of the building are Hundertwasser-inspired but it is an original design by Pip Bolton of Kerikeri-based Avail Pacific.
One half is steel and glass, the other is rammed earth built by Far North specialists using a Canadian Sirewall technique.
The main contractor was Whangārei firm Harnett Builders.
Other organisations that contributed to the project include the Far North District Council and its commercial arm Far North Holdings, Lotteries and Foundation North.
Ardern is due to make several policy announcements while in Northland today.