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    New Wairau library and art gallery blessed

    Early last Friday morning tangata/mana whenua Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Rārua and Rangitāne o Wairau blessed the new Marlborough Library and Art Gallery building, in the lead up to its opening on 12 May.

    Iwi representatives were joined by Mayor Nadine Taylor, Councillors and Council staff, along with members of the Marlborough Art Gallery Trust, staff from Robinson Construction and Warren and Mahoney architects.

    Kaiwhakahaere Matua (General Manager) of tangata whenua iwi Rangitāne o Wairau Corey Hebberd said the new facility sits on whenua adjacent to a former Rangitāne pā site and today’s blessing process enabled the iwi to acknowledge the significance of the whenua and the importance of the new building for the Marlborough community.

    Photo: Jim Tannock

    “Rangitāne has a long association with the awa and adjacent land, which was the home to former pā and gardens alongside the waterways around which Blenheim is built. It is therefore fitting that the new library and art gallery facility will play an important role as a hub that will sustain and nourish the knowledge, wellbeing and resilience of our community into the future.”

    Mayor Nadine Taylor said this morning’s dawn blessing was a significant milestone - the building is now only weeks away from opening to the public. “This wonderful new facility has been 10 years in the making and will be a hub of knowledge, information and activity for everyone in Marlborough,” Mayor Taylor said.

    “The current library has 15,000 visitors a month and we expect that will increase significantly with this new, multipurpose venue. The new building will bring people into the centre of town and help revitalise our central business district,” she said.

    Marlborough Art Gallery Trust Chairman Rick Wilson noted the new facility will provide an exemplary art and information/education hub for decades to come. “It is the most significant project for our region and it will undoubtedly attract locals and visitors alike to the Blenheim CBD,” Mr Wilson said.

    The $20 million dollar build was one of the first ‘shovel ready’ projects to be allocated funding from the Government’s Kānoa Regional and Economic Development Unit, of $11 million in 2020.

    Warren and Mahoney were appointed architects and local company Robinsons Construction were awarded the contract for the build, which began in August 2020.

    The library and art gallery project was initiated in 2013 as part of the “Growing Marlborough” process, which identified that public art gallery and library facilities in Blenheim and Picton were no longer adequate. Community consultation was carried out as part of the 2015-25 Long Term Plan and again as part of the 2018-28 Long Term Plan, when approval to progress the development was given. Picton’s new library and service centre was completed in 2017.

    An official naming and opening ceremony will be held on Friday 30 June.

    Richard Liddicoat

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    New Wairau library and art gallery blessed