What is it?

The Hundertwasser Art Centre with Wairau Māori Art Gallery is a once in a lifetime opportunity to build a unique arts and cultural facility imagined for the city by Friedensreich Hundertwasser.

Once built the centre will be a wakahuia, a treasure box, of exemplary artworks from renowned contemporary Māori artists, and original Hundertwasser artworks provided from the collection in Vienna. It will be located at the site Hundertwasser chose, on the corner Quayside and Riverside at the town basin.

Fundraising is currently underway to meet the expected build cost of $20.97 million. It is hoped the build will be completed in 2019.

We have raised the estimated build cost and are finalising the $2 million underwrite. Fundraising is ongoing to ensure we can cover the final contract price and cover all contingencies.

It is hoped the build will be completed in mid 2020.

More detailed information can be found in our Frequently Asked Questions section.


 About the Art Centre

The HUNDERTWASSER ART CENTRE with Wairau Maori Art Gallery will be an iconic landmark on a grand scale and the last authentic Hundertwasser building in the world.

Like the artist’s work, this stunning building will be multi-faceted and multi-functional with features including a state-of-the-art main gallery of Hundertwasser’s work and a contemporary Māori Art Gallery in keeping with Hundertwasser’s wishes.

This is our opportunity to help create something inspiring and enduring. The Whangarei HAC will be a unique gift to the people of New Zealand.

  • The last authentic Hundertwasser building in the world, right in the heart of Whangarei’s beautiful waterfront.
  • A stunning landmark which will be one of New Zealand’s most iconic buildings, attracting visitors from throughout New Zealand and around the globe.
  • A unique opportunity to transform Whangarei into an international tourist destination.
  • A catalyst project for the total re-invigoration of the Whangarei Town Basin and culture, heritage and arts precinct.
  • A national treasure, a taonga, something for the people of New Zealand that we can all be proud of.

Economic Benefits

“Northland Inc has calculated the HAC’s direct economic impact for Northland at $37 million with an ongoing economic impact of $26 million per annum. For every $1 invested by government a return into the regional economy of $9 after the first year of operation has been calculated.” (read more)

It’s estimated that the Hundertwasser Art Centre will attract 450,000 visitors annually to Whangarei, with more than 140,000 paying to see the two galleries inside the Art Centre

Hundertwasser believed in human architecture, designed in harmony with nature – the lines and colour of his paintings are echoed throughout his buildings.

Each new Hundertwasser building has gone on to become an iconic destination for locals and tourists, revered by the cities they inhabit, visited by thousands and thousands of people.


A message from the Hundertwasser Non-Profit Foundation

The Foundation fully supports the project and has retrieved the original artist’s drawings and architectural concepts from our archives. We have also engaged Heinz Springmann, the architect on many of Hundertwasser’s projects, to produce plans for the Centre which faithfully capture the artist’s vision.

As a gift, made possible only due to Hundertwasser’s love of New Zealand and the authenticity of the project, the Foundation will circulate art works from its museum in Vienna for display in the Centre.

Richard Smart
The Hundertwasser Non-Profit Foundation, New Zealand

The Hundertwasser Non-Profit Foundation was established in 1998 to communicate the thinking of its founder; to promote a more humane world in harmony with nature and in accordance with the inner aspirations and desires of man.


A message from the Wairau Māori Advisory Panel

E nga mana, e nga reo, e nga hau e wha, tena koutou, tena koutou tena koutou katoa.

Friedensreich Hundertwasser became so closely attuned to Māori during his life time that the concept of a gallery for exhibiting Māori art has been included in his final design for a Cultural Centre.  That design, with your help, is soon to become a reality.   The Māori Advisory Panel that was established in 2012 has been working towards this end.  We have named the gallery Wairau which is the transliteration of the word Hundertwasser which means One Hundred Waters in English.

The Wairau Māori Art Gallery, will have exhibitions of the best of contemporary Māori artists from all parts of New Zealand many of whom will be Toi Iho artists.  This is the trademark of authenticity and quality Māori art and artists.  These Māori artists will be role models for students, Māori and national and international visitors to Whangarei. In addition from time to time, indigenous artists from other countries will be invited to exhibit their work in the Wairau Māori Art Gallery. For the first time visitors to Whangarei and New Zealand will be able to see the best quality Māori indigenous contemporary works on permanent display in one place, the Wairau Māori Art Gallery, Whangarei.

Te toi whakairo, ka ihiihi, ka wehiwehi, ka aweawe te ao katoa.
Artistic excellence makes the world sit up in wonder.

Elizabeth Ellis, Chair of the Māori Advisory Panel – 
Patu Hohepa, Manos Nathan, Lisa Reihana, Allen Wihongi, Taipari Munro, Shane Cotton, Ngahiraka Mason, Elizabeth Hauraki


The Design Team

Eminent European architect Heinz Springmann has been appointed by the Hundertwasser Non-Profit Foundation in Vienna to ensure the artist’s plans are carried out in keeping with his objectives and philosophy.

Springmann was a key partner in Hundertwasser’s “architecture family”. His work was vital to the success of Hundertwasser architecture projects worldwide.

Whangarei firm Harris Butt Architecture has been contracted to work with the Foundation and Springmann on detailed designs.

The firm has delivered a raft of major public projects including the Waitangi National Trust gateway and amenities buildings and the Knoll Ridge café at Mt Ruapehu, winner of the NZ Architecture Award for commercial architecture in 2012.


Inside The Centre

The Hundertwasser Art Centre will span two levels and include two galleries, a learning centre, a theatre, café and a shop. It will feature state-of-the-art exhibition spaces, a main gallery of Hundertwasser’s work on the top floor and a contemporary Maori Art Gallery on the ground level.

The Hundertwasser Art Centre will exhibit original works circulated from the Hundertwasser Museum in Vienna including paintings, graphics, tapestries, architecture models as well as the artist’s activities in the fields of environment and ecology.

The Maori Art Gallery will exhibit the work of our most gifted Northland Maori artists from the Whangarei Art Museum’s substantial collection, alongside works of national standing, loaned from the collections of major public art museums including the Auckland Art Gallery and Te Papa.

The multi-faceted Hundertwasser Art Centre will also function as an educational resource where youth can gather to study art, architecture and ecology.

The Deloitte report says the World Bank considers cultural assets to be a resource for economic development. “The Hundertwasser Art Centre will deliver cultural benefits at a local, national and international level and is well placed to make a solid economic contribution to the community,” the report says.