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“It’s all go now!” $4m boost to fund-raising for music centre

News from VUW
Plans by Victoria University of Wellington, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO) and the Wellington City Council to create a national centre of musical excellence in central Wellington have taken another leap forward.

In a significant boost to the fundraising campaign for a national music centre, the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board has granted $4 million to the project. The fundraising campaign is led by former Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast CNZM and is well on its way to achieving the $30 million target.

The result of many years’ planning, the national music centre is intended to be a vibrant community facility that will support public engagement, civic events and cultural diversity throughout Wellington and beyond. Centred on the Wellington Town Hall, it will provide a home for both the NZSO and Victoria University’s New Zealand School of Music – Te Kōkī. It will also offer the public far greater access to music and the arts than ever before, with lunchtime concerts, public lectures, workshops, seminars and art displays.

The grant comes from the Lottery Significant Projects Fund and, in confirming its decision, the Board acknowledged that the project aligns well with the Fund’s priorities to deliver regional or national outcomes in the areas of arts, culture and heritage, and visitor services and tourism.

Kerry Prendergast says this is a significant step forward in realising the national music centre vision. “This is a huge vote of confidence by the Lottery Grants Board in our business case. It’s all go now!”

Plans for the centre continue to advance with major seismic strengthening work due to begin on the Wellington Town Hall later this year. The Town Hall is expected to reopen in 2021.

Victoria University of Wellington Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford says it is exciting to see the project come a step closer to reality and he thanked the Lottery Grants Board for its support.

“This centre will create a wealth of new possibilities for events, festivals, collaborations and education for the next generation of musicians. It will also grow Wellington’s international reputation as a creative capital.”

Donald Best, Chair of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, also welcomed the funding from the Lottery Grants Board. “We’re delighted with the size of the grant and what it will mean for the national music centre. When completed, the centre will allow the NZSO to bring so much more to New Zealanders and offer exciting collaborations with the School of Music. The sky’s the limit in what we can achieve.”

Justin Lester, Mayor of Wellington, said: “Civic Square has recently been gifted the te reo name Te Ngākau, which means the heart, and this national music centre will indeed make the heart sing. Having the New Zealand School of Music – Te Kōkī (the ‘dawn chorus’ in Māori) and the NZSO in Te Ngākau Civic Square will give life and vibrancy to the centre of the city and help establish an arts precinct in the area. To have concerts, music and events here will make the place a real drawcard for Wellington.”

1 comment:

  1. Andy Mellon, 27. June 2018, 19:48

    With the Town Hall being some kind of joint venture between the Council, the NZSO and the university, will it be available for non-classical concerts as it used to be? Great acoustics at the Town Hall, and saw some fantastic gigs there before it closed. Would be great for them to return, but will there be the capacity if the facility is used by NZSO/University?