The Rotorua Trust has given an additional $5 million towards the strengthening work and reopening of Rotorua Museum.
The iconic building closed due to earthquake risk in 2016.
Delays and cost increases hit the strengthening work that followed but, in August, Rotorua Lakes Council voted to proceed with a project to get the building back open after considering three options and more than 770 public submissions.
In August, Local Democracy Reporting reported the total cost was expected to be at least $81.4m, most of which would come from external funding contracts.
The council aimed to keep its share within the $15.5m it budgeted for the project.
The Rotorua Trust’s latest donation was added to the initial $10m it granted in 2018, a statement from the trust said.
Trust chairman Stewart Edward reaffirmed the trust’s continuity of support for Rotorua Museum Te Whare Taonga o Te Arawa.
“Before the earthquake damage, the trust granted $4.7m for the building’s extension in 2009.
“Rotorua Museum Te Whare Taonga o Te Arawa is an important cultural and historical landmark for the Rotorua community, and we are supportive of ensuring that it is restored and reopened for generations to come.”
The trust said it recognised the cultural importance of the site to Te Arawa, as well as the economic and historical impact of the museum for locals and tourists.
“The nationally significant collection of art, objects and taonga will once again be accessible to the Rotorua community.”
Rotorua mayor Tania Tapsell said the council was working hard on a solution [to getting the museum reopened] and this funding was hugely significant to making that possible.
“It’s one of the most challenging heritage building restoration projects in the country, and we will continue to seek full funding to complete the work.
Rotorua Museum tender process
In early October, the council requested tenders from potential contractors for the construction phase of the museum restoration.
The council’s interim chief executive Gina Rangi said the council had decided on a multi-party closed tender process.
“As we now move into the construction phase for Te Whare Taonga o Te Arawa, and given the changes in the construction sector since we first appointed Hawkins, the council has decided that a multi-party closed tender process is the most commercially appropriate way forward.
“This will ensure that we have the most competitive pricing possible and that we have the right expertise for a build of this type.”
Rangi said they anticipated being ready with a recommendation to award the construction contract by early next year.