Significant investment from two government funds will help reopen the Rotorua Museum, provide better care for and access to the Museum’s collection of taonga, and create jobs, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today.
“This iconic New Zealand landmark in the Government Gardens Cultural Quarter is New Zealand’s most photographed building and has immense heritage value. The treasures the museum now holds are important for both the region and the whole country. It has been and will be again, a major tourism attraction for the city,” Jacinda Ardern said.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones were in Rotorua to make the announcement.
The category 1 heritage building was closed in 2016 following a seismic assessment made after the Kaikoura earthquake. Designed in the Elizabethan style, it was built by the government in 1908 as a therapeutic bathhouse using the geothermal resources for which the city and wider region are known.
Following the closure the Rotorua District Council began developing plans and raising money for a $55 million project to bring the building up to the required standard and complete the first stage of an international scale exhibition and conference centre. This wider project is expected to create 371 additional jobs in the region, according to modelling carried out by the Council.
The government investment is made up of $15 million from the Provincial Growth Fund and $5 million from the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund.
“The forced closure of the museum has been a major blow to the tourism industry, the largest employer in the city. The Provincial Growth Fund investment will help bring the museum back to life for visitors and locals alike. The redevelopment will attract more visitors to the region who will stay longer and spend more money at local businesses,” said Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones.
“This investment will also reinforce the district’s reputation as one of New Zealand’s leading tourism destinations. The Government is proud to be partnering with the Rotorua community to get this project off the ground.
“The museum upgrade work aligns with the rest of the Government’s tourism investment in Rotorua through the PGF-funded Lakefront development and Whakarewarewa Forest development,” said Shane Jones.
The PGF has committed $133 million to Bay of Plenty up to the end of June 2019.
“The contribution from the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund will help the museum return as an essential part of the cultural life of the city,” Jacinda Ardern said.
“Constructed on land gifted by Ngāti Whakaue, the building is the appropriate storehouse for many taonga and in its upgraded form will have the ability to protect them much more effectively than before.
“In addition to this new funding for the Rotorua Museum, three other Regional Culture and Heritage Fund applicants have received grants totalling over $2.6 million.
“These three grants go to the Motutī Marae Trust Raiātea Whare Taonga Resource and Archive Centre in Hokianga; Upper Hutt’s Expressions Whirinaki Arts and Entertainment Centre Trust; and the Loons Club Performing Arts Venue in Lyttelton,” Jacinda Ardern said.