More milestones for Te Hononga hub
Te Hononga (The Joining of People), the cultural-tourism hub now well under way at Kawakawa’s Hundertwasser Memorial Park, has recorded another milestone, welcoming 20 new work-training recruits, and earth wall experts from Canada.
The Kawakawa Hundertwasser Park Charitable Trust (KHPCT), project manager Far North Holdings and lead contractor Harnett Builders held a po¯whiri for the start of the earth wall construction stage of the $6.4 million project.
The recruits, aged 18 to 49, are mostly from Kawakawa and Moerewa, with some from Kerikeri and Mangonui. They had completed a two-week induction, including Site Safe, first aid and basic hand and power tools training with the Regent Training Centre, which developed the customised 40-week work-training programme in partnership with the community trust, local contractors and the Ministry of Social Development.
“We are excited to be involved in a project that is supporting the local community to move into pathways for sustainable employment and training,” RTC’s Northland development manager Alan Tidswell said.
“It is a fantastic opportunity for Kawakawa, and something the government should be doing for all capital projects across New Zealand.”
The project, funded through the Provincial Growth Fund, Lotteries, Foundation North, Far North Holdings, the Far North District and Northland Regional councils, will include construction of the first commercial rammed earth building in New Zealand, and introduces SIREWALL, a high-strength rammed earth technology from Canada.
Meror Krayenhoff, founder and director of SIREWALL told the trainees that he had developed the technology as a vision for homes that would be healthier to work on and live in, healthier for the planet and sustainable for hundreds years, reducing waste.
“One of the ideals we have is to maximise local labour and local materials. That’s what we’re here to do, share that with New Zealanders so they can build houses that resonate with them on a spiritual level, on a cultural level, and are beautiful,” he said.
Subcontractors Rueben Taipari-Porter and Heremaia Hepi of Hepi Contracting said they had a passion for social housing and development of the whenua.
Many of the trainees said why they were excited to be part of a community project — getting involved in the construction industry, get off the streets, be proud of the community building, and learn how to build on their own whenua.
“It is absolutely fantastic to hear our young trainees sharing their aspirations and how they want to contribute to the community,” said Pita Tipene, KHPCT trustee and chairman of Te Ru¯nanga o Nga¯ti Hine.
“There are so many different groups and entities supporting the trainees and their life journey,” he said. “I recall what Kawaiti said in 1846 — ‘We must maintain global orientation’ — so it is great to see our visitors
of from Canada bringing new ideas and mixing those with our local ideas.”
Architectural designer Pip Bolton (Avail Pacific) spoke about the build’s innovative and creative technologies, including Kerikeri firm PK Engineering designing the floating rib-raft instead of driving large piles into the reclaimed river bed, Nga¯ti Hine artists designing the colour pallette from natural sources, and artist Maud Cook Davies designing the rammed earth/wall layers to reflect Pukepuke rau (the many hills).
He quoted Friedensreich Hundertwasser: “Paradises can only be made with our own hands, with our own creativity, in harmony with the free creativity of nature.”
The earth wall construction stage is expected to take four months, with the SIREWALL specialists on-site for the first month. The recruits will complete their Level 2 and 3 Construction qualifications, and a number of post-training jobs are being offered by both Harnett Builders and Hepi Contracting, along with advanced study opportunities.
Harnett Builders has already hired its first full-time apprentice on the job, 18-year-old Michiko Cooper, from Motatau.
Some of the new work-training recruits on the Hundertwasser Memorial Park site for last week’s po¯ whiri.