Hundertwasser Art Centre now open in Whangārei

Even before the doors have opened, Whangārei’s much-anticipated Hundertwasser Art Centre with Wairau Māori Art Gallery (HAC) has been awarded a significant tourism accolade.

The business team behind the HAC was assessed based on their strategic planning; marketing strategy; asset management; policies and procedures; customer, community and staff engagement; cultural interpretation; health and safety; team culture, visitor experience and leadership, and was awarded a Silver Qualmark Sustainable Tourism Business Award.

“The Qualmark Award means we have been recognised for delivering a superior customer experience - demonstrating a strong commitment to customer safety and a responsible social and environmental performance. This will help us build visibility and interest here and abroad by joining an elite group of businesses which are recommended to both domestic and offshore customers, as well as international trade organizations – great for the Hundertwasser Art Centre, great for the region and great for New Zealand”, HAC Chief Executive Kathleen Drumm.

Qualmark general manager Steven Dixon said Silver Award is the final seal of approval which signifies the Hundertwasser Art Centre is one of the most high-quality experiences New Zealand has to offer.

“The award can be proudly displayed as evidence that the Hundertwasser Art Centre is committed to protecting our beautiful natural environment and enhancing connections with our local communities, while delivering a quality, safe experience for visitors”, he said.

From 20 February, visitors will be able to access all areas of the $33m building, which is itself considered a work of art, including the afforested roof which features an eight-metre gold cupola overlooking the Whangarei marina.

Key to the visitor experience are the two art galleries. The Hundertwasser gallery features an extensive collection of artworks by the late artist, curated by the Hundertwasser Foundation in Vienna, while the Wairau Maori Art Gallery, New Zealand’s first dedicated space for world class contemporary Maori art, will premier its inaugural exhibition.

“Wairau Māori Art Gallery has been created to profile the best of Māori art and provide New Zealand with its first public Māori art gallery solely dedicated to profiling Māori artists and curators,” Chair of the Wairau Māori Art Gallery Charitable Trust, Elizabeth Ellis said.

Visitors will also be able to visit the art activity centre, gift shop and restaurant, as well as enjoy the other spaces within the building.