Good things take time - Architecture NZ
Good things take time

Good things take time

The process of conceiving a civic project of importance can span not just months, but sometimes years and even decades.

Words by WSP Architecture

I have been lucky in my career to have been involved in several pieces of public architecture but none more interesting and worthy than the establishment of the recently opened Heritage Centre on Rakiura Stewart Island.

Born out of necessity to provide a new purpose built facility to re-house the islands museum exhibition, the project began its incubation almost 10 years ago. As the first piece of civic infrastructure constructed on the Island in over 25 years, the project developed a rich narrative supported by its strong connection with the ocean, maritime history, local iwi, community and environment. Te Puka O Te Waka speaks of the anchor of the waka, the vessel that holds within, the taonga of Rakiura. The striking form of the building represents the prow of the vessel which floats above the ground paying homage to the maritime reference. Two physical anchors representing the Māori and European history of Rakiura Stewart Island proudly anchor the building to the site.

The preservation and conservation of a history as rich as Rakiura, Aotearoa’s Anchor, is a testament to the tireless efforts of the volunteers of the Rakiura Heritage Trust to realise this project. As a designer for WSP Architecture I am proud to have been involved as it reflects our kaupapa of ‘creating what matters for future generations’ and, this socially conscious piece of civic architecture continues our legacy, born out of the Ministry of Works, to create spaces and places for all to enjoy.

With current restrictions on international travel there has never been a better time for New Zealanders to reconnect with their heritage. I would thoroughly recommend a trip to the island to visit no–t only the museum but also experience the warmth and generosity of the local community.….you will not be disappointed!

Julian O'Sullivan - Architecture Studio Director - Southern

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