Rotorua Trust commits $10m to restoring museum

Members of the Rotorua Lakes Council and Rotorua Trust outside the Rotorua Museum. Photo / Ben Fraser

A “phenomenal gift” is how a $10 million donation by the Rotorua Trust for the rebuild of the Rotorua Museum is being described.

The trust announced today it was committing $10m to the rebuild after trustees unanimously agreed that rebuilding and re-opening the museum was a priority for the community.

The latest costings for the rebuilding of the earthquake-damaged iconic building is $40m to $47m. 

The Rotorua Lakes Council has already committed $15m through its Long-Term Plan and it is now looking to the Government and other funding agencies to help with the remaining $20m to $25m.

Trust chairman Stewart Edward said the museum and Bath House was seen as a symbol of the community and it was imperative the facility be opened as soon as possible.

The details of the trust’s contribution are yet to be worked out but there’s a hope the $10m commitment would unlock further funding opportunities with the Government.

“This is an iconic building for both our community and the thousands of visitors who choose New Zealand and Rotorua as a destination. We acknowledge the cultural significance of the site to Te Arawa and the historical and economic impact of the building to our community,” he said.

“Trustees are very aware that we need to make sure there will still be funds available to help the wide variety of Rotorua organisations that look to the trust for support each year.

Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said at an announcement, held in front of the building with trustees and other council officials today , the donation was a “phenonemal gift”.

“This is the most amazing Christmas present for the people of Rotorua.”

She said the trust’s commitment was “fantastic news” and highlighted the importance of the museum to the local community.

“Reinstating and re-opening our museum is an absolute priority for council, as it is for our community. It features as a key project in council’s Long-Term Plan and this very generous $10m contribution will provide us with the impetus we need to attract further external funding from central Government.

“These grants help organisations, big and small, to achieve our kaupapa of making a better Rotorua for all. We are happy to say they won’t be affected by any contribution we make to the museum”.

The trust granted $4.7m towards the building’s extension in 2009 and owns a substantial art collection usually on display there.

“All the design and planning is nearing completion and we are busy pursuing all funding opportunities.

“On behalf of council and the community I’d like to thank Rotorua Trust for its generosity – the trust is a very important supporter of Rotorua and we acknowledge its substantial contribution to our community over many years.”

Read the full Rotorua Daily Post article here.