The front entrance to the new Taupō office
Partnerships will be celebrated this weekend with the opening of the new Taupō community conservation complex.
The new Department of Conservation regional office and community whare will be officially opened on Saturday morning by Ngāti Tūwharetoa, in conjunction with the Tauhara hapū, other central North Island iwi and DOC.
The ‘conservation complex’ has been being built on public conservation land between Motutaiko and Kaimanawa Streets, behind Waiora House and will house up to 49 staff.
The new community whare
Tauhara Hapū Working Party members Matiu Heperi Northcroft and Heemi Biddle say tomorrow’s ceremony is another step forward in the positive relationship this project has forged.
“The relationship the project has forged, fundamentally acknowledges the Tauhara hapū interest in the whenua (land). It’s not about the building it was always about the whenua and this re-sets the cultural context for the future in an environment of courtesy and respect.”
“Today marks the beginning of an improved ongoing working relationship between the parties,” they said.
The sunny deck: another meeting room
Conservation Partnerships Director for the Central North Island David Speirs says DOC has strengthened its presence in the Taupō District by locating the regional hub in Taupō with more than 40 staff to be based here, and this has been achieved while maintaining a local base of operations in Turangi of 17 staff.
“Building and strenghtening relationships are at the core of the way DOC is working today and this new complex is testament to that.
“This is an incredible example of what can be achieved through true partnerships. It shows what can happen when people get around a table and make the effort to understand and listen to others,” he said.
Mr Speirs says that DOC, Ngāti Tūwharetoa and the Tauhara hapū have set the bar for other organisations and agencies in the district. This is leading the way for other businesses, agencies and organisations to have a place to work and collaborate together with iwi and hapū for the benefit of the community.
“This project has been about creating a community conservation hub. It has been about finding synergies with other community groups such as Waiora House, about bringing together like minded focussed groups to be able to work together. This is just the start, the first step and there is room for others to join and grow in this area.”
“This project is symbolic of the Department’s long term commitment here in Taupō, we are here for the long haul and want to work with iwi and the community."
He congratulated the working party for their lateral thinking. He described the project and relationship as very progressive, and said it was a very inclusive model, and one that the department would use again.
“The vision was for us to be able to work in an integrated way with iwi. And with a shortage of community buildings here in Taupō this project will not only provide a great working space for our staff but also a whare for iwi and community groups to come together.
“There are exciting times ahead and I look forward to working in the new office space,” Mr Speirs says.
Background building information
- A rainwater collection tank under the deck will be used to recycle storm water for the toilets and car washing. Surplus water will be used to irrigate grass on the car park and gardens.
- The solar panels on the whare produce 10kw of power.
- A low impact car park design uses Jakmat. This is New Zealand made from recycled plastic and is a geogrid matting which has been filled with pebbles on the drive and will have grass growing in the car parks.
Other innovations include
- Use of locally grown radiata for timber framing plywood exterior and interior
- Use of solar tubes to provide natural sunlight
- Energy efficient Gram appliances
Interesting build features
- Maximised natural light in working spaces gives the offices open light and airy feel.
- An east west alignment which takes advantage of maximum solar gain.
- Large north facing deck for outdoor meeting room and for large gatherings of visitors.
- The building is open plan so there was a need to maximise the use of acoustic materials in the base build with an aerated concrete floor to assist in noise abatement.
Other interesting facts
- The exterior paint, Dulux Timbacryl “Ebony”, has been supplied by one of DOC’s key partners Dulux.
- Floor to ceiling windows provide maximum light in office space.
- Opening windows create cross flow ventilation.
- Carpet tile flooring.
- Built to echo the character of an old Taupō bach in colour choices and materials - board and batten look and the black colour of creosote.
- Built on a domestic scale to fit in the residential location.
- Built to be easily re-locatable, on piles and narrow in width.
- The Whare on Kaimanawa Street will be used by DOC and the local community.