A long-held dream will come to fruition in Kawakawa on Friday when Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern opens a Hundertwasser-inspired community hub.
Plans to pay tribute to the late Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who made Kawakawa his home and designed and built the public toilets that put the town on the international tourism map, began taking shape even before the Hundertwasser Memorial Park Charitable Trust was set up in 2008.
The project, Te Hononga, has evolved considerably since then, and been through plenty of ups and downs, but gained fresh impetus three years ago with the appointment of a project facilitator and support from the Northland Regional Council.
More recently a cash injection from the government's Provincial Growth Fund helped get the project across the line.
Te Hononga, which can be translated as he joining together of people, will include a public library, a council service centre, public toilets and showers, a gallery, an interpretative centre detailing Hundertwasser's connection to Kawakawa, a community workshop area, and expanded car and bus parking to take pressure off the town's main street.
An ātea, or town square, which is also part of the project, has been created in a space created by demolishing the old library and post office, and provides a link between Te Hononga and the main street.
A dawn ceremony and karakia will begin at 5.30am on Friday, followed by breakfast on the ātea and an official opening by the Prime Minister at 10.45am.
The building will open for public use at 1pm.
Project facilitator Lau'rell Pratt said everyone involved in the project was "really excited."
"There's been so many people working on it, they're all really keen to get into the building and experience it," she said.
Work on the ātea had been hampered by the July floods, so it was now a hive of activity as workers scrambled to get it ready on time.
Last week the carpark was being prepared for sealing, the ātea was being painted and decorated with mosaics, foundations were being prepared for the arrival of sculptural rocks, and finishing touches were being applied inside.
"There's a good vibe, everybody's just getting on with it. There's nothing like a deadline," Pratt said.
Everything would be ready by Friday except a ticketing hub on the ātea, promoting local attractions.
Local iwi Ngāti Hine is a partner in the project, which has been managed by district council-owned company Far North Holdings. Almost all aspects of the project, from design to building to rammed earth construction, have been carried out by Northland businesses.
The new library will include a children's area, an activity stage, a large porthole window seat, reading nooks, more computers and better Wi-Fi, and expanded book collections in te reo and English.
Lotteries and Foundation North also made significant grants to the project.