Resource consent issued for Rotorua Museum project

Tuesday 5, March 2019 | News |

Rotorua Museum. Photograph by Adrian Hodge 

Another milestone was achieved as resource consent was issued for the Rotorua Museum Te Whare Taonga o Te Arawa last week (1 March 2019), marking a significant step forward in the restoration and strengthening of this iconic building. 

Proposed 3D floor plan of Rotorua Museum basement.Courtesy of DPA Architects

Rotorua Lakes Council Arts & Culture Manager Stewart Brown explains this consent approval will enable a range of other projects to begin. “Resource consent is a prerequisite for some of the potential funding opportunities that we have identified, so this approval means we can now move forward with securing further funding for this project”, says Mr Brown.

The application was lodged last December and incorporated heritage impact statements and concept designs for all aspects of the project, including architectural drawings, electrical, mechanical and fire design plans. 

Artists impression of link to Rotorua Museum basement. Courtesy of DPA Architects

The project is well into the developed design phase with architects, engineers and Heritage New Zealand continue work through design elements, and project managers WSP Opus are procuring of contractors, with works still on track to begin in July.

Rotorua Museum FAQs

What has happened since Rotorua Museum closed? 18 November 2016: Rotorua Museum closed following a rapid seismic risk assessment which determined the building was earthquake prone December 2016 – August 2017: Research, destructive testing and analysis to determine in detail the condition of the building and the ground on which it sits August 2017 – December 2017: Four structural strengthening options were evaluated, and the preferred option selected December 2017: Detailed seismic assessment was completed which rated the building at 19% of new building standard. Buildings below 34% are considered earthquake prone, while those under 67% are considered earthquake risk December 2017 – February 2018: Engineers GDC developed the structural concept design for strengthening the building, for review by Rotorua Lakes Council and Heritage New Zealand February 2018 – December 2018: Structural design developed into detailed drawings and specifications with estimated costs May 2018: Rotorua Lakes Council long term plan signed off following community consultation. Council approved $15 million towards strengthening the Rotorua Museum building with the balance required to be sourced externally November 2018: WSP Opus appointed project managers for Rotorua Museum restoration and strengthening • December 2018: Resource consent lodged March 2019: Resource consent issued Next steps for the Rotorua Museum project December 2018: Developed design phase December 2018 – July 2019: Detailed design phase July 2019: Contractor procurement and construction commencement July 2019 – 2020: Construction 2021: Exhibition installation prior to Museum reopening

Museum project Funding Status

Rotorua Lakes Council has agreed to contribute $15 million towards earthquake strengthening of the Bath House building as part of its Long Term Plan approved in May 2018. In December 2018 Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust committed $10 million towards the rebuild of the Rotorua Museum. An expression of interest has been submitted to the Regional Provincial Growth fund and once the outcome is known a funding strategy will be developed to raise the remaining required funds. With support from Rotorua Lakes Council, Rotorua Museum Centennial Trust, chaired by Lyall Thurston QSO JP, will lead fundraising for the project. The Trust also led the successful fundraising programme for the extensions to the Bath House building from 2006 to 2011.

Brief history of the Bath House Building

1908: Rotorua Bath House opened by Admiral Sperry of the American Fleet. 1911-12: South wing addition completed. 1947: Bath House transferred to the Health Department. 1963: Bath House transferred to Rotorua District Council along with a grant of $64,000. 1965: Tudor Towers restaurant, and later nightclub, took up lease of upstairs area. 1969: City of Rotorua Museum opened in South Wing. 1977: Rotorua City Art Gallery opened in North Wing. 1988: Art Gallery and Museum amalgamated. 1990: Tudor Towers restaurant and nightclub lease expired. 2006: North Wing viewing platform reinstated – Stage I of Centennial project. 2008: North Wing gallery extensions completed – Stage II of Centennial project. 2011: South Wing gallery extensions completed – Stage III of Centennial project. 16 November 2016: Rotorua Museum closed for earthquake strengthening on the Bath House building.