PM offers Rotorua Museum revamp a $20m boost

14 August 19

Source: stuff.co.nz

The Government is set to invest $20m into the refurbishment and reopening of Rotorua Museum.

Speaking at Rotorua's Blue Baths on Tuesday Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the Museum, which opened 111 years ago, was one of New Zealand's most photographed buildings and "a treasure for the region and the country".

She said the reopened museum would bring in tourists and create an additional 371 jobs, "another reason we were so proud to partner with the Rotorua community to get this off the ground".

Ardern also said that with economic headwinds blowing, this was "exactly the sort of investment needed in the regions".

The $20m investment will be made up of $15m funding from the Provincial Growth Fund, and $5m from the Ministry for Culture and Heritage Regional Culture and Heritage Fund.

The category 1 heritage building was closed in 2016 following a seismic assessment made after the Kaikoura earthquake. Designed in the Elizabethan style, it was built by the government in 1908 as a therapeutic bathhouse using the geothermal resources for which the city and wider region are known.

Regional Economic Minister Shane Jones also attended the announcement, saying "we have spent quite a lot of time showering financial pixie dust in Rotorua".

"The museum upgrade work aligns with the rest of the Government's tourism investment in Rotorua through the PGF-funded Lakefront development and Whakarewarewa Forest development," said Jones.

Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick also welcomed the investment.

"We can now start the rebuild," she said.

Chadwick also described the rebuild as a catalyst for wider economic and social benefits.

"We envision this project will be transformational," she said.

"It's more than just a building, it symbolises our beating heart."

She also said she had "no doubt" the building would eventually be restored.

"It was a matter of how we would do it and who we would need to partner with to achieve it because we knew we couldn't do it alone. We have no secured $36m in partnership funding which will enable us to re-open our iconic taonga."

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