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Published on : Wednesday, May 18, 2016
New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute is set to transform its operation, enrich the visitor experience and support the perpetuation and teaching of Māori material culture with significant site developments announced today by the organisation and the Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. John Key.
The $17 million developments include a significant new Wānanga Precinct for the national schools of wood carving, weaving, stone and bone carving, as well as a 300-seat ‘Whare kai’ (function centre) including a café, restaurant and bar overlooking Whakarewarewa valley and the world famous Pohutu geyser.
The developments have been given a major boost with the announcement of a $2.457 million Tourism Growth Partnership grant for the Wānanga Precinct development – the single biggest grant ever provided under the programme.
The Prime Minister joined Te Puia | NZMACI elders in turning the first sods of the Wānanga Precinct development today, with the schools due to open early in 2017, followed by extended Gallery spaces later next year. The new café and restaurant is forecast to open for the 2017 summer season.
The location of the sod-turning this morning is the physical and spiritual centre of the new Precinct – the courtyard, and it will also be the resting place for the mauri (life force) of the building when it is completed.
“Te Puia holds the legacy as one of the birthplaces of tourism in New Zealand and through the legislated work of NZMACI, the organisation is also internationally renowned for its role in ensuring the ongoing preservation of Māori art, craft, and culture,” says Mr Burkhardt.
“This grant supports our goal of significantly enhancing our facilities, enabling visitors to gain a more in-depth understanding of Māori material culture and the important role it plays in Aotearoa New Zealand.”
“The perpetuation of Māori art, craft and culture achieved by Te Puia | NZMACI is felt far beyond our immediate horizons, including working with indigenous cultures from around the world and strengthening the New Zealand story in important international tourism and trade markets.”
“The Wānanga Precinct has been designed to strengthen the work of the national schools and therefore the important cultural contribution they make. Just as importantly, the developments ensure Te Puia’s tourism operation adapts to the constantly evolving needs and expectations of visitors, offering an enriched visitor experience.”
Mr Burkhardt says the development is the most significant onsite investment since the tourism and cultural development functions were formally joined in the 1960s under parliamentary legislation.He says it is one in a series of strategically important milestone projects the organisation has undertaken in recent times.
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