'Dream' realised in new centre

03:00, Nov 28 2012

The opening of the Rangitane Cultural Centre in Grovetown on Saturday will be the realisation of a dream for iwi members, Judith MacDonald says.

The $1.8 million cultural centre on Fell St, designed by Wilkie Bruce and built by Robinson Construction, will be opened with a dawn ceremony at 4.30am on Saturday and the public will have a chance to look through between 10am and 2pm.

Mrs MacDonald, chairwoman of Te Runanga a Rangitane O Wairau Trust, said the group had owned the land at 1 Fell St, along with 1.6 hectares at Waikawa, since the 1950s as part of a Crown settlement for the loss of Pukatea-Whites Bay.

Rangitane bought the hall at 3 Fell St from the Marlborough District Council in the 1990s and got ownership of the land in 2010 as part of its Treaty of Waitangi settlement. Completion of the cultural centre showed the iwi was moving forward with the Treaty settlement, Mrs MacDonald said.

"It's the fruition of the dream that there's finally a place for Rangitane to meet in a cultural setting," she said.

"It's also a place for all of the community to come and meet."


Rather than build a traditional marae, the trust aimed for a contemporary centre that would allow it to cater for both young and old from the iwi and wider community. It was also a space to showcase Rangitane culture and art.

The 600-square-metre building sleeps up to 45 people and includes a main hall for functions such as weddings and birthdays, a bar, a kitchen, two meeting rooms, showers and toilets, and a foyer made with floorboards salvaged from the 110-year-old Grovetown Community Hall that had been on the site.

Mrs MacDonald acknowledged the history of community activities there and hoped the new centre would be used by the wider community.

The Marlborough Express