Wellington Waterfront is a public recreation destination under development in the capital of New Zealand (NZ). Here you can spend time in Wellington visiting a museum, learning about our history, eating in our waterfront restaurants, attending events or having fun in a park.
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Te Wharewaka

Te Wharewaka o Poneke


 (Construction Period:  January 2010 to January 2011)

A significant cultural addition to the waterfront

The wharewaka was given the name of Te Raukura on its opening day, the 6th of February 2011.  Te Raukura is a brand new, purpose-built centre in the heart of Wellington's prestigious waterfront.  A unque mix of tradition within a contemporary context, this versatile venue is built to house two ceremonial waka taua and waka ama and brings an extremely important and significant cultural presence to Wellington’s waterfront.

The site was previously harbour frontage to Te Aro Pa, one of Wellington’s largest Maori communities up until the 1880’s – Te Wharewaka will re-establish a Maori presence on the waterfront absent since that time.

It will help to tell the stories of the other pa located around the harbour, notably Kumutoto, Pipitea, Kaiwharawhara, Ngauranga, Pito-one, Hikoikoi and Waiwhetu.

The two ceremonial waka taua will be on permanent public display in the lower ground floor semi-external display space, from where they can be launched directly into the harbour.  The building will also house six-person waka ama (outrigger canoes).

The form of the whare is a symbolic rendition of the waka form which includes the following features: 

  • Te Tau Ihu or the prow of a canoe
  • the maihi (bargeboards) represents the ancestor's arms held out in welcome to visitors
  • pare (lintels) above the doorways
  • the poupou (carved figures) both inside and outside the whare.

The structure is overlaid with an exterior ‘cloak’ (korowai) – an outer layer covering the body of the building, draping down its sides in forms symbolic of waka sails.

The building itself has strong relationships to the open spaces on all sides.  The front and the atea faces northeast, as is the convention, and the building’s axis and the tahuhu (backbone) are aligned on the Kupe sculpture.

The elevated atea sits between the building and the sculpture, enabling large gatherings to be addressed in the surrounding area.

The lower ground floor includes the Karaka Café and an upper ground floor for use for hui and functions.  The first floor is flexible open-plan space for functions for a smaller size, such as meetings, films, performances, and temporary workspaces for events and projects, and for administration and kaumatua.

The Wharewaka project is the last in the Taranaki Wharf Precinct upgrade. 

The precinct has transformed in recent years with the redevelopment of previously unused buildings as well as landscaping and design improvements.  Highlights include: 

  • the bronze recasting and installation of the Kupe group statue
  • landscaping of the area around the Boatshed with a new lagoon headland
  • a new karaka tree grove
  • new bridges and pontoons
  • two wharf cut-outs in the area next to Circa Theatre and Te Papa
  • a 'timber garden' made from wharf timber recycled from the cut-outs
  • the transformation of shed 22 into the Wellington Brewery
  • the Odlin Building conversion to house the NZ Stock Exchange, offices and apartments
  • the revamp of the Wellington Free Ambulance Building to include a ground-floor hotel and boutique offices.