Mahara Gallery upgrade
The upgrade of the Mahara Gallery in Waikanae began in November 2021.
Council is investing $2.8 million to the project’s $6.5 million estimated cost, following the Mahara Gallery Trust’s success in securing government funding from the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund (RCHF), as well as other donations.
The project funding includes a $250,000 grant from the Waikanae Community Board.
Mahara Gallery closed its doors in late 2021 for the redevelopment project, and work kicked off early in 2022 on building the new gallery.
There have been some delays because of heavy rain, however, overall work has been progressing well and the gallery should be ready for reopening in early 2023.
Pedestrian access and carparking
There is pedestrian access at the north end of Mahara Place at all times. Some accessible carparks have been moved.
The new Exeloo beside Aputa House in the park facing Marae Lane is open.
A very special dawn ceremony took place at Mahara Gallery in early February 2022 – a mauri stone, from Waiorua Bay on Kāpiti Island, was laid.
A mauri stone acknowledges the life force of the building and the ancestors who inhabited the area in days gone by. It blesses the site and represents the essence of the work that will be conducted in the gallery in future. It helps to “Tūwhitia te hopo, mairangatia te angitū” (eliminate the negative and accentuate the positive).
A mauri stone is laid into the earth before the building foundations are constructed. Although mauri stones are usually not seen after they’re laid, this one will be visible through a transparent covering.
The Mahara Gallery is housed in a Council-owned building in Mahara Place, Waikanae. The Mahara Gallery Trust is seeking to provide a permanent home for the Field Collection in Waikanae. To achieve this, the Mahara Gallery needs additional space for exhibition, storage, workshops, and administration, and needs to upgrade those spaces to museum standard to house the collection and to be able to attract and show significant touring exhibitions and collections from other galleries.
The Council and the Mahara Gallery Trustees signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together, with Mahara Gallery becoming the District Gallery for Kāpiti.
The project will involve a rebuild of the current gallery building on its existing site in Mahara Place Waikanae.
As well as enabling the Gallery to accept the gift of the Field Collection, it will also double the number of exhibition galleries and almost treble the exhibition space.
The Field Collection
The Gallery will be a permanent home for the Field Collection, which includes 24 paintings by Frances Hodgkins, and family documents. The collection is a significant asset for Waikanae and the whole Kāpiti district.
Regional Culture and Heritage funding
The Regional Culture and Heritage Fund grant decision is time-limited and subject to the Trust and Council meeting certain conditions. It has two parts:
- an initial grant of $1,733,000 (GST excl)
- a further contingency sum of up to $432,000 (GST excl).
The two grants amount to a combined potential grant of $2.165 million.
Aside from the Council contribution and the time-limited conditional grant offer from the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund, the Mahara Gallery Trust Board has raised more than $1.5 million dollars, including a grant from the NZ Lottery Board’s Environment and Heritage Fund for $450,000.
The funding from local and central government ensures that we can retain the Field Collection in Kāpiti.
It is hoped that by the end of 2022, Kāpiti will have a district gallery that meets accepted museum and gallery standards and houses an art collection of national significance.
- Blessing marks practical construction of new Mahara Gallery (19 April 2023)
- Milestone for the new Mahara Gallery as new roof completed (17 Nov 2022)
- Mahara Gallery construction contractor appointed and work to begin soon (6 Oct 2021)
- Confirmation of Council investment opens the way for Gallery upgrade (19 March 2021)
- Shovel-ready projects identified to help Kāpiti recovery (7 May 2020)
- Mahara Gallery remains firmly in the Council's sights (15 Nov 2016)
- Council confirms its commitment to Mahara Gallery Upgrade (27 June 2016)
- Council considers recommendation to put the Mahara Gallery upgrade on hold (2012)
- Waikanae library and gallery options still open (2011)