The government’s $4 million contribution to the Hundertwasser Art Centre and Wairau Māori Art (HAC) Gallery in Whangarei will inspire confidence in the project, says Northland Inc CEO David Wilson.
Minister of Economic Development Steven Joyce announced the grant towards the construction of the HAC at the launch of the Tai Tokerau Northland Economic Action Plan in Kerikeri today.
“The HAC will be a major influence on the future of Northland’s visitor industry and the government’s announcement today will give the people of Whangarei and Northland greater confidence to know the visitor industry in the region is continuing to flourish,” Mr Wilson says.
“The great thing is that the HAC will change Whangarei from being a ‘quick-visit’ or ‘pass-through’ destination for most international visitors, to a ‘must-see’ riverside city with an iconic cultural attraction of international significance.
“This development will increase length of stay in Northland for tourists, as well as add economic value through downstream development of additional facilities, benefitting the entire region.
“Importantly, as a year-round all-weather attraction the HAC will also help change seasonality patterns, bringing more off-season visitors to Northland and Whangarei.”
The HAC is expected to provide the catalyst which adds to the rationale for new hotel developers to establish in Whangarei.
Today’s announcement of the government investment in the HAC will bring an immediate change in perception of Whangarei, and is expected to see private sector planning and development of add-on facilities and businesses, start now this cornerstone government investment has been announced.
“Prosper Northland will welcome this commitment from central government as a clear signal of support for the Hundertwasser Centre project and for tourism in Northland,” Mr Wilson says.
“Not only will it prove an economic driver for all Northland, but tourists who are fans of Friedensreich Hundertwasser’s works will also be directed to the other experience, the Hundertwasser Kawakawa which is unique to Northland,” Mr Wilson adds.