Foxton centre to open soon
Foxton’s long-anticipated $7.3 million culture and community hub may open soon, but the project’s organisers are still grappling with a budget overspend.
Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom is set to open mid-November, but ongoing funding problems could mean cuts are made to the centre.
The centre will house a community gallery, exhibition spaces and a public library, as well as the Ma¯ori and Dutch hubs.
Horowhenua District Council strategic projects manager Cathy McCartney said heating, ventilation and air conditioning system estimates were below the actual quotes received.
This meant the project was still over budget by $200,000 and the council would apply for grants to cover the extra costs.
If the council did not get more funding, it would look at saving money elsewhere, such as in landscaping, McCartney said.
The Piriharakeke Generation Inspiration Centre and the Dutch museum sections were close to completion when Stuff visited on Friday.
The project is led by the Horowhenua District Council, in partnership with Te Taitoa Ma¯ori o Te Awahou Trust and the Dutch Connection Museum Trust.
The centre got a $1m boost from the Government’s regional culture and heritage fund and smaller donations came from community groups, such as Friends of Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom, which donated more than $7000 by holding quiz nights and selling cook books.
Mayor Michael Feyen said he started advocating for Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom about 13 years ago.
‘‘It’s been a hard road and a long road.’’
Initially he expected it to be solely a Dutch museum, but it ‘‘morphed over time’’, Feyen said.
The Waikato town of Tirau was one of the options considered by the Dutch community, but Feyen pushed for Foxton as it was already home to the De Molen windmill.
Feyen said it would make Foxton more of a tourist destination and it would benefit residents.
Te Taitoa Ma¯ori o Te Awahou Trust spokeswoman Pip Devonshire said the trust had been dreaming about opening a Ma¯ori museum for years.
When the opportunity arose to be a part of the project, as the Piriharakeke Generation Inspiration Centre, they could not say no, she said.
Devonshire became involved in the project to share the story of people who helped Foxton grow.
Her grandmother, Rangimahora Reihana-Mete, came to Foxton when she was about 20 years old. She was a weaver who made Foxton her home when she started looking after her sick grandfather, and she left, Devonshire said.
The project was about sharing the stories of all cultures that made up Foxton, she said.
An opening ceremony was planned for dawn on November 18. never
Te Taitoa Ma¯ori o Te Awahou Trust spokeswoman Pip Devonshire, inside Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom.