Confirmation of Council investment opens the way for Gallery upgrade
A long-planned upgrade of the Mahara Gallery in Waikanae will begin later this year after Kāpiti Coast District Council voted to confirm its $2.8 million commitment to the project’s $6.5 million estimated cost. The project funding includes a $250,000 grant from the Waikanae Community Board.
The Council’s decision follows the Mahara Gallery Trust’s recent success in securing significant government funding from the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund (RCHF) towards the project.
Mayor K. Gurunathan has congratulated the Mahara Gallery Trust Board for successfully steering the gallery redevelopment project to this point.
“I’m delighted that Mahara Gallery will be upgraded to an accepted museum standard and become a permanent home to the Field Collection. And I am pleased the Government also recognises the importance of this facility and its collection to the Kāpiti community.
The Field Collection which includes 24 paintings by Frances Hodgkins and family documents is a significant asset for Waikanae and the whole Kāpiti District.
“Frances Hodgkins referred to Waikanae as her ‘ancestral home’ and her ashes are interred in a family plot in the local cemetery. So it’s only fitting that Waikanae is home to some of her significant early works,” said Mayor Gurunathan.
Mahara Gallery Trust Board Chairman Gordon Shroff has welcomed the Council decision. “We are grateful for Kapiti Coast District Council’s support, including its decision to underwrite the project. This project will ensure that we can retain the Field Collection of artworks in Kāpiti, its true home”.
“But all this good news does not mean that our fundraising efforts are over yet,” says Mr Shroff. “We still have just over $600,000 to raise to meet the fundraising target we agreed with Council.
“The Mahara Gallery Trust is confident that, with our community’s help, we will be able to meet that remaining target. The Trust has recently submitted an application to the Lottery Significant Projects Fund for a third of that shortfall, and we will continue to search for other potential funding sources to help bridge the gap. The Trust will launch a community fund-raising programme soon to seek the support of Kāpiti people and businesses.”
Mr Shroff is hopeful that key members of the Kāpiti community will recognise the power that their own contributions will have. “Reducing the gap further will help to strengthen our funding applications.”
“We know that the economic impact of COVID-19 has been tough on members of our community. Having this project proceed now will help a lot of businesses and employ local people”, says Mr Shroff.
“We are hopeful that by the end of next year, we will have a district gallery that meets accepted museum and gallery standards and houses an art collection of national significance.”
Field Collection Trust spokesperson Kay Brown said the Council commitment provided a sense of relief that the future of the collection can be assured.
“As trustees, we have said for many years the collection’s future must be settled in our life-time,” she said. “We are grateful for the immense amount of work done by members of the Trust Board to get us to where we are today.”
The redevelopment project will be managed by Council and more information about next steps and the construction timeline will be available soon at Mahara Gallery upgrade.