A new home for New Zealand's treasured cultural collections could be headed for the heart of Manukau.
Arts culture and heritage minister Chris Finlayson and mayor Len Brown have announced a proposal to build a museum in Hayman Park, with the Government footing the bill and Auckland Council providing the land.
Te Papa, Auckland Museum and Auckland Art Gallery will play a role in developing the project if it's approved by cabinet, which will assess the proposal later this year.
Culture, community-focused education and digital interaction would all be important parts of the museum.
Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board chairman John McCracken says the proposal is "hugely exciting".
"It's a wonderful thing for the community locally. It recognises the population that we have here."
Several national collections would be moved from Te Papa in Wellington to the new museum because of the earthquake risk.
"It makes sense not to have everything in one place" Mr McCracken says.
And he's excited about what the museum could mean for the future of Hayman Park.
"There's some wonderful things with design that can be done. It could be something that's really special that we can all be proud of."
Manukau councillor Alf Filipaina says the museum would "lift our community".
"The south of Auckland, as everybody knows, has the greatest population of Maori and Pacific people. Having that access to art for our community is going to be great."
Mr Brown says the museum would be a huge economic and cultural asset for communities in the south and across Auckland.
He believes it could attract visitors from across New Zealand and around the world
That's something Manukau Business Association chairman Stuart Palmer agrees would be a huge positive for the area.
"It's good news for local business. It's definitely going to bring visitors into our region.
"It helps in terms of the vision for the Manukau city centre and what we see it becoming.
"Because Manukau has been earmarked as a growth area, it sits well alongside that."
Predictions show the centre could inject $45 million annually into the local economy.
Other developments in the area, include the Manukau Train Station, new Manukau Institute of Technology campus and the proposed Wero whitewater rafting facility.
The train station and close proximity to motorways makes Hayman Park the perfect spot for the museum, Mr Palmer says.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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