Foxton stands tall after funding secured

Published on 10 July 2017

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Foxton, Te Taitoa Māori o Te Awahou and New Zealand’s Dutch community to stand tall after funding secured

Ko tēnei wāhi tūpuna o te taura whiri o te mātauranga me ngā Tāngata kātoa i te mana me ngā whakaaro nui.

Dit is Oranjehof, waar culturen en kennis zich samenweven onder de mensen, met visie en trots.

Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom is a place where cultures meet – home to museums, galleries and learning spaces that reflect Māori, Dutch and other cultures.  

The $7.27m project has received a significant funding boost from New Zealand’s Regional Culture and Heritage Fund.

The Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage, Hon. Maggie Barry OZNM has announced funding of $1,026,450, thereby completing the fundraising for the construction of the building which will open in November this year.

Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom Establishment Board Chair, Dale Bailey (Director, Collections Research and Learning at Te Papa) has welcomed the news.

“It is fantastic for Foxton, Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga and New Zealand’s Dutch community – everyone who is entrusting us with their taonga and exhibits.”

“Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom has been developed along strong bicultural and multicultural lines. It is a coming of age facility for Foxton, Horowhenua, and Aotearoa – a true demonstration of cultures working together to achieve something great for our children and which pays respect to our forebears.”

Mr Bailey says the funding is also a long overdue recognition of the significant contribution to New Zealand society from successive waves of Dutch migrants.

“Just think what life would be like without cafes, coffee, dairy, poultry and the wonderful contribution Dutch New Zealanders have made to our arts, sports, and fashion.”

Uniquely, Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom has come about because of the foresight of five groups:

  • Te Taitoa Māori o Te Awahou
  • Dutch Connection Museum Trust
  • Horowhenua District Council
  • Save our River Trust
  • Flax Stripper Museum Trust.

It will be home to:

  • Piriharakeke Generation Inspiration Centre – a Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga Museum and Gallery representing stories of mana whenua
  • Oranjehof – New Zealand’s National Dutch Museum, to inform, educate and inspire New Zealanders about our many Dutch connections
  • The Foxton Library
  • The Foxton Visitor Service Centre
  • Foxton Community Hub will exhibit artefacts from a number of local community organisations.

In awarding the funding, Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage, Hon. Maggie Barry OZNM commended the strong community, Iwi and Dutch partnership that has made this project possible.

Horowhenua District Council ratepayers have also provided $3.02m for the project. It is located on the upgraded Foxton Main Street which is home to a significant number of colonial buildings and next to the Dutch Oven Café and New Zealand’s only replica of a 17th Century Dutch windmill.

Dutch Connection Trust Chairperson, Arjan van der Boon says for visitors to the area, Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom will provide an authentic experience.

“It’s a place of learning and experiencing the importance of mana whenua and the Dutch community in New Zealand. Visitors will be able to see and learn about small town New Zealand life, be wowed by culture, arts, and crafts,” he says.

Te Taitoa Maori o Te Awahou Trust Chairperson, Hayley Bell says the multipurpose facility will celebrate Foxton and help drive the local economy by giving people another reason stop in Foxton and to stay longer. “Visitors and locals alike will be able to experience our stories in a unique and interactive way.”

“We’ve already had a few tour buses stop and ask when we’ll be open! The building is coming along nicely, the contractors are doing a fantastic job,” she says.

Horowhenua District Mayor, Michael Feyen says Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom will provide both Foxton and Foxton Beach residents with a place for local community groups to call home.

It will have meeting rooms, sunny lounges, play areas, spaces for socialisation, a café, small kitchens that visitors can use and rooms for parents and caregivers with infants and small children.

In addition, Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom is being designed to have plenty of room for school performances, kapa haka, dances, musical events, and movies.

“It will be the cultural hub of Foxton as well as a service centre; a magical place for our children to view and see their culture and history treated with dignity and respect, as well as being a fun place to learn and discover.”

Meanwhile, Mr van der Boon says fundraising by the project partners will continue. “We need further funding to cover costs of exhibitions aimed at attracting international, national and locals into the future,” he says. Anyone interested in helping should visit www.tans.org.nz or visit our Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom Facebook page.