The vision for the heart of Tauranga’s city centre is closer to becoming a reality, with several significant milestones for the city’s future civic precinct– Te Manawataki o Te Papa – reached this month. Warren and Mahoney is leading the design of the Civic Whare, Exhibition and Museum buildings within the precinct.
At the recent Council meeting, Tauranga City’s Commission approved moving ahead with the next stage of design for the development; and to establish a new council-controlled organisation (CCO) that will govern the delivery of the project.
Commission Chair Anne Tolley says these decisions should give the community confidence that the heart of the city centre is well on its way to being revitalised.
“We’re really pleased to be able to make these decisions, so that the community’s long-held vision and aspirations for the city centre can be realised,” says Anne.
“Featuring a progressive new library and community hub with a research and archives facility, cafe, children’s section and community meeting rooms; a new civic whare (public meeting space); and a museum and exhibition space that will offer direct access to the city’s taonga and heritage collection – there will be something for visitors from near and far in our new civic precinct.”
Anne says the project team should be commended for the significant amount of progress made in a short space of time, as well as their commitment to incorporating feedback from the community – such as a desire for improved sustainability and more green space – into the updated designs.
“We have all been reflecting on feedback received from the community as well as the legacy this precinct will create for future generations – not only in terms of the community space this will provide, but also the footprint we will leave.
“As such, we’ve committed to putting sustainability at the forefront of design, targeting a 6 Green Star rating, a rating reflecting world leadership in sustainability. To achieve that aspiration, we have adopted a mass timber hybrid structure, which will minimise the buildings’ carbon impact and help create a better environment for our future.”
Warren and Mahoney Project Principal Vajini Pannila says the scheme is designed with community activation and future flexibility at its heart.
“A key driver was to create a vibrant ground plane that is a continuation of the public realm through the building, engaging the public in the rich heritage of the region while bringing new energy to the civic precinct.
“The design is underpinned by a strong cultural narrative that runs through the project site-wide, binding all the schemes within the precinct, and aims to promote transparency and inclusivity in the processes of governance, particularly with youth. This strong co-design process in partnership with mana whenua has ensured authentic representation of cultural values that we’re incredibly proud of.”
Otamataha Trust Chair Puhirake Ihaka says the latest designs represent the area’s cultural significance to mana whenua, with ahikāroa (unbroken occupation) dating back to the 14th century up until land confiscation from the late-1800s to mid-1900s.
“We have been pleased to work in partnership with Council and share our cultural background with the project team to illustrate the elements for specific design features and ensure mana whenua design principles are embedded in the final product,” says Puhirake.
“I wish to acknowledge the diligence of our team and the input and advice provided by our kaumātua, particularly the late Peri Kohu.”
Work to develop Te Manawataki o Te Papa is expected to commence on-site in the second half of next year. The full programme of work will be completed in stages and is currently scheduled to be completed in 2027.