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My Inspiring Community – The Hundertwasser Art Centre

My Inspiring Community – The Hundertwasser Art Centre


I’m Andrew Garett and this is my Inspiring Community. I’m the project director for the Hundertwasser Art Centre project in Whangarei. Our project is about developing an existing old building into a piece of art. We’ll have two galleries, a Hundertwasser gallery with original Hundertwasser art. There will also be the Wairau Māori Art Gallery which will contain contemporary Māori art from around New Zealand We see it as a benefit for the community, jobs downstream for our younger people and also a cultivation of art. What we’ve found with the project is that the community has really gotten behind us, and it is genuinely a community-led project. If it wasn’t going to happen under council then it had to happen under a community and there were enough passionate people to actually make it happen. Whangarei is inherently a very artistic community. Some bollards were painted, and they were council green and they got turned into colours as inspired by Hundertwasser. That spread around the town, and now people are colouring their letterboxes and their fences, there’s murals around town. What we’ve learnt by doing is that when you get a creative group of people together working as a team seemingly insurmountable problems can be solved. Our mantra was Think how you can, not why you can’t. We had a really clear goal and we had a strategy to achieve that. We had to be adaptable to change, and we made changes along the way as long as they were in line with that overall strategy. And here we are now, almost ready to build. We’re only two thirds of the way through this project. We’ve still got to build the thing yet, but we know what a building like this will do to transforming our community into a better place, and we’re so excited to be a part of it.

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