With the help of the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment’s Provincial Growth Fund, Rotorua Lakes Council were looking to undertake improvement works within the Whakarewarewa and Tokorangi Forests.
Council and Iwi requested Expressions of Interest to upgrade or replace the existing building to create a hub that would reflect the central mana whenua narrative of its location.
The primary focus was to encourage economic development, through providing facilities that generate more visitor numbers and give local businesses an ability to leverage off. There was also a focus on using locally produced materials and broader local economic benefits.
The criteria for the job included an upgrade or replacement of the current centre, built by Lockwood in 1970. The Centre is a public space with around 500,000 domestic and international visitors walking through the door each year.
In the midst of the 2020 COVID-19 Lockdown, Lockwood designer Lloyd Akroyd worked on this concept for a stunning new space, inspired by his whakapapa and the natural surroundings. Lloyd created a deeply personal expression of Whakaaro Maori (the Maori way of being and engaging with the world), Te Ao Maori (the Maori world view) and Kaitiakitanga (guardianship and protection).
11 local companies submitted expressions of interest to Rotorua Lakes Council and the Lockwood concept was one of three shortlisted for development with a decision to be made late 2020.
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