Work to create a new MAHARA has begun. Contractors, Crowe
Construction have begun the task of converting Waikanae’s original
library building into a modern, purpose-built art facility. The rebuild
is expected to take 12 months to complete. It will double the number of
exhibition galleries, almost triple the exhibition space and create a
secure environment to house the nationally-significant Field Collection
of art works, 24 by Frances Hodgkins.
Before the construction team moved onto the site, an open day and a
formal blessing ceremony created closure for the site and paid tribute
to the service the old gallery has performed over the past 25 years and
the people who have worked in it.
Kaumatua Koro Don Te Maipi performed the blessing, followed by
addresses from Kāpiti Coast District Council Mayor, K Gurunathan and
Mahara Gallery Board Chairman, Gordon Shroff.
“We moved in on that first day full of hopes and trepidation,”
founding member Norma McCallum wrote on the gallery wall during the Open
Day. “Was it going to work? Well, it did – thanks to our wonderful
community. And here we are today.”
Another to write a message on the wall was artist and weaver Tracey
Morgan who wrote about what the walls had seen over the years,
concluding with: “I look forward to opening my doors in the near future
as a newly-developed taonga for the community and Aotearoa.”