A Wellington philanthropist has donated $1 million for the planned national music centre in the city's Civic Square.

Entrepreneur Chris Parkin said the music centre, which was "effectively the refurbishment of the town hall" would be of cultural and economic value to the capital.

Not only would it be the new home for the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO), but it would also be "the primo music centre for New Zealand", he said.

The donation, which includes a $250,000 commission for an artwork to go in the building, brings fundraising efforts to a total of $18 million.

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Fundraising for the planned national music centre in Wellington's Te Ngākau Civic Square is well on track, with the total now at $18 million.

Victoria University of Wellington and the NZSO have committed to raising $30 million towards the fit-out of the national music centre, a state of the art facility which will be home to the University's New Zealand School of Music - Te Kōkī.

The centre will be available for use by the wider community and provide a foundation for musical performance, education, culture and the arts in New Zealand.

Parkin's gift brings the campaign funds close to two-thirds of the fundraising goal.

"It gives me great satisfaction to be able to support a project which is so strategically significant for Wellington city. Wellington has done much for me," he said.

"When there are opportunities to give back, I've got to consider them seriously."

The detail of the artwork still needed to be organised, but Parkin envisioned a "panoramic adventure" along one of the hallway areas that was "arresting" but also detailed.

Something like the music centre would help Wellington retain its "very best people" and attract more of the same.

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Wellington City Council recently announced that 101 Wakefield St, formerly the Municipal Office Building, will become part of the national music centre.

Parkin's gift follows donations from the Adam Foundation, T G Macarthy Trust and New Zealand Lottery Grants Board. The Government recently announced a $6 million grant towards the project to increase access, participation, education and film scoring.

"We are now even closer to realising this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform Wellington Town Hall and the surrounding precinct," said chair of the joint fundraising committee Dame Kerry Prendergast.

Victoria University of Wellington vice-chancellor professor Grant Guilford said the impact of the $1 million gift would be significant.

"We believe the national music centre will have a profound impact on music and the arts in this country. We can only realise these aspirations together and Chris' gift, alongside those from our other leadership supporters, builds significantly on the excellent momentum the project has achieved so far," he said.

NZSO chief executive Christopher Blake said everyone working to make the national music centre a reality was elated by the fundraising boost.

"For many years, Chris has been a passionate supporter of the arts, including new and emerging artists. His contribution brings us closer to a new home for the NZSO and the New Zealand School of Music, and has energised our fundraising campaign."