Fox­ton cen­tre to open soon

The Horowhenua Mail - - FRONT PAGE - MIRI SCHROETER

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

PHOTO: MUR­RAY WIL­SON/STUFF

Te Taitoa Ma¯ori o Te Awa­hou Trust spokes­woman Pip Devon­shire, in­side Te Awa­hou Nieuwe St­room.

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