The restoration process for the Rotorua Museum has been given a $200,000 kickstart by the Rotorua Museum Centennial Trust.

Trust chairman Lyall Thurston told Rotorua Lakes Council today that the committee had "never, ever envisioned we would be in restoration mode".

"We are totally committed to getting that building up and operational sooner rather than later."

The trust gave the council the donation to start seismic studies required to "get that grand lady back up on her feet".


The restoration of the museum is included in the Long-Term Plan 2018-2028 (LTP) which was also adopted by the council at its meeting today.

The category 1 heritage building, which is more than 100 years old, closed in November 2016 after being damaged by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Kaikoura.

Subsequent reports found the museum fell well below earthquake safety standards.

Mayor Steve Chadwick said reopening the museum was the one aspect of the Long-Term Plan the council was "joyous about".

"We were quite emphatic that building needed to be restored so thank you for that great kick start."

The LTP has been developed over a 10 month period which included drafts and consultation with the community.

Other projects in the plan include the redevelopment of the Aquatic Centre, Tarawera Sewerage Scheme, plans for waste management and the redevelopment of the Lakefront, Whakarewarewa Forest, Kuirau Park and the skatepark, and pensioner housing.

Under the plan, the city's debt will increase by $58.5 million.


The council's chief financial officer, Thomas Colle, said most of the debt was for core infrastructure like sewerage and water supply.

An independent auditor told the council the plan was "fiscally prudent".

Councillor Charles Sturt said the borrowing was on "absolute necessities".

"They are not vanity projects or nice-to-haves they are absolute necessities that if we don't provide for we're going to be accused of short-changing ratepayers in the future by not making allowances for growth."

Chadwick said the process had been long but enjoyable.

She said the council had confidence in itself and its staff and that would give the community confidence.

"I see this [capital expenditure] as a $468 million investment in our community and 80 per cent of that is made up of core infrastructure. The stuff that we should be doing and we are.

"This is a plan which is going to make a difference for our community."

The plan also sets rates for the next decade.