A Hundertwasser-inspired visitors' centre and public library expected to become the hub of Kawakawa will go ahead this year after the project received the final $2.3 million needed.

The funding was included in the Provincial Growth Fund announced by Regional Development Minister Shane Jones in Gisborne yesterday.

Kawakawa Hundertwasser Park Charitable Trust chairwoman Noma Shepherd said the announcement was the fruition of 10 years' work.

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The project had grown in that time but really started gaining momentum when the Northland Regional Council and Far North Holdings came on board last year.

''We're really thrilled, we can move forward now ... all the work we've done over the years has come to something. It will become the centre of Kawakawa, it'll join the whole town together,'' she said.

The Kawakawa Hundertwasser Park Centre, Te Hononga, will combine a library, Far North District Council service centre, gallery, art workshop, toilets and parking for cars and tourist buses.

It will be built of rammed earth on what is now a carpark behind the Kawakawa shops.

The project group had already raised more than 40 per cent of the money needed.

Mr Jones said as the gateway to the Bay of Islands and the Far North, Kawakawa had the potential to leverage off the cruise ship market and attractions such as the Twin Coast Cycle Trail.

However, improved infrastructure was essential to meet visitor needs and expectations.

Once built, the centre would connect visitors to local Maori cultural experiences and increase visitor numbers and spending in Kawakawa.


The project had strong iwi, business and community support, a key criteria of the fund, while a feasibility study forecast an increased visitor spend of $1.75m per year.

Mr Jones said the centre would be built and operational late this year.