Progress on a Hundertwasser-inspired community and tourism hub in Kawakawa has reached another milestone with the demolition of a former council building to make way for a town square.
The demolition of the old library, council service centre and post office will allow the development of a town ātea, or open space, and link the under construction Te Hononga centre with Gillies St, Kawakawa's main thoroughfare.
Once complete Te Hononga will incorporate a new library, service centre, public toilets and showers, gallery, workshop, and an interpretative centre exploring the links between the Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser and his adopted home of Kawakawa.
• Kawakawa's Te Hononga community hub taking shape
• Work on Kawakawa's Te Hononga community hub starts at last
• Kawakawa hub Te Hononga under way at last
• Photos: Kawakawa's Te Hononga hub in progress
The centre's earth walls and framing are complete with the roof currently being waterproofed and windows due to go in before Christmas.
Now the group spearheading the project, the Kawakawa Hundertwasser Memorial Park Charitable Trust, is turning its attention to developing the newly bare main street site.
The trust is working with landscape architect Christine Hawthorne, artist Theresa Reihana, tohunga whakairo (expert carver) Te Warihi Hetaraka and the community to create a public space for locals and visitors to gather, chairwoman Noma Shepherd said.
"We're thrilled to reach this milestone and we know without the old building in front, so many more visitors and locals will access the park to enjoy its peace and tranquillity — not to mention enjoy the beautiful new centre which is becoming very impressive with all its framing complete.''
Ngāti Hine trustee Rowena Tana said the ātea would be like a village green where people could mingle, in keeping with the name Te Hononga (the coming together of people).
The space could also be used for entertainment such as waiata, poetry and bands, she said.
Demolition is due to be completed by November 29. Pedestrian access is via a fenced walkway along the front of the site. Extra parking is available at the rear of the site to make up for the car parks lost on Gillies St during demolition.
Shepherd said the project team was working hard to finish the key work before the summer holiday period.
The old council building and site, previously owned by the Northland Regional Council, was bought by Far North Holdings for $485,000 with money raised by the trust from the Provincial Growth Fund, Lotteries, Foundation North, the district and regional councils, and the Tourism Infrastructure Fund.
The entire project will cost around $6.8 million. Fundraising is continuing for the fit-out and artworks.
It is on budget but running a few weeks behind due to adverse weather, but is still expected to open in late March or early April.
■ If you want to donate artworks, materials, landscaping, time or expertise for the ātea/town square project, contact the trust via www.hundertwasserpark.com. A temporary library and council service centre has been set up in the foyer of the old Kings Theatre at 80 Gillies St. The budgeting service has relocated to ground floor of Te Pokapu on Wynyard St.