Starting with a dawn karakia led by Ngāti Hine elders, hundreds gathered today to celebrate the opening of Te Hononga, the new heart-shaped cultural hub in Kawakawa township.
The colourful, rammed-earth complex, which comprises an ātea | town square, interpretive gallery and memorial to Hundertwasser, public library, council service centre and community workshop space is primarily funded by the Provincial Growth Fund, with Foundation North contributing $500,000 via a grant to The Kawakawa Hundertwasser Park Charitable Trust.
The community-led initiative has been developing over the last ten years, led by The Kawakawa Hundertwasser Park Charitable Trust and Ngāti Hine. It represents a significant economic and social regeneration initiative for Tai Tokerau and will enhance the town's ability to benefit from the already significant flow of visitors attracted to the Hundertwasser Toilets. More importantly it will create a hub and heart in the Kawakawa township
Two of the Foundation's Northland-based Trustees, Maxine Shortland and Walter Wells joined our Pou Ārahi Aroha Harris at the celebrations.
Te Hononga (meaning union, connection or bond) draws together cultures, places, people and the environment in the Far North town. The name is shared with the tokotoko | walking stick presented by our Kaumātua and Ngāti Hine elder Kevin Prime to artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser at the blessing of the town’s famous toilets in 1999. The tokotoko itself, which was held aloft at the ceremony by Pita Tipene of Ngāti Hine, will find a new home in the gallery at Te Hononga.