Opening up waterfront land to the public has been an ongoing focus for most city councils in New Zealand. In Wellington, the new Wharewaka building and event centre, owned by the Wharewaka o Poneke Charitable Trust, not only creates a public venue on the waterfront, but also re-establishes a Maori presence on the site of the former Te Aro pa.
Connal Townsend, chief executive of Property Council New Zealand, says the building has an important cultural and civic role to play.
"The Wharewaka project was a significant undertaking, in location, build, and the level of consultation required. But beyond that, the building takes on a special role in storytelling passing on the history of the area and the pa located on the harbourfront up to the 1880s. In that sense, the building is very much a living thing and a tremendous asset to Wellington."
Designed by architecture + and constructed by LT McGuinness, Wharewaka will showcase and shelter two ceremonial waka, and incorporates offices, exhibition and events facilities, and a cafe.