Te Māori Waiwhetu Cultural Centre is a key building within the local community conceived as a Whare Taonga (Repository of Treasures) that also houses various community functions for Taranaki Whanui o Atiawa. The building is set on a north–south axis with a strong custodial relationship to the surrounding landscape and ceremonial presence in conjunction with the Maraewharenui.
The building’s external walls are a protective presence with rhythmic full height glazing balanced with pre-cast concrete panels bearing a pattern derived from pātikitiki (flounder) designs generated in response to the structural, weathering, and aspirational requirements of the brief. The timber-moulded design conjures multiple readings, from carved timber to woven tukutuku panels to the stars that aided early navigation toAotearoa.
Internally the walls of the waka gallery incorporate timbers of differing width, depth, species and finish, evoking the Totora forest from whence the waka came. The honed concrete floor was seeded with stones from the local Awakairangi Hutt River and speaks of the waka resting on the beach or river.
The building is a vital repository for the local people and taonga at Waiwhetu. Its presence recognises Waiwhetu as a community who treasure their historical arts and cultural heritage while evolving to engage with futuregenerations.