More mile­stones for Te Hononga hub

The Northland Age - - Local News -

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.

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