Wellington Scoop

$30m fund-raising campaign for music hub with “dynamic architecture”


News from VUW
A major philanthropic campaign to create a world-class centre of musical, cultural and educational excellence in the capital city is being launched tonight.

Victoria University of Wellington and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (NZSO) aim to raise $30 million to create an innovative music and arts centre in Civic Square. The creative quarter will feature dynamic architecture that links a redeveloped Wellington Town Hall to adjacent buildings, which will provide a permanent central city home for Victoria’s New Zealand School of Music (NZSM) and the NZSO.

The Wellington City Council has already committed to funding the seismic strengthening of the Town Hall and design work for this first stage of the project is underway.

The second stage, approved in principle by Victoria and the NZSO, will include extensive redevelopment of the Municipal Office Building to accommodate NZSM and NZSO and link the building to the Town Hall and Civic Square. Money raised in the fundraising campaign, which is chaired by former Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast, will contribute to the cost of the second stage of the new centre, which is scheduled to open in 2021.

A significant gift towards the fundraising target has already been secured from the Adam Foundation, which has supported various projects including the Adam Art Gallery and the Adam Concert Room at Victoria University, the Adam Prize in Creative Writing, the Adam Chamber Music Festival in Nelson, the Adam Auditorium at the City Gallery and the NZSO National Youth Orchestra.

Kerry Prendergast extended thanks, on behalf of the University and NZSO, to the Adam Foundation for its “inspirational, extremely generous and farsighted donation”.

“This is a wonderful endorsement of our vision to create a vibrant music centre that will be a showcase for Wellington—New Zealand’s creative capital. Through this project, we have the opportunity to create something truly magnificent and we are delighted that the Adam Foundation has recognised and supported that.”

Victoria University Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford also acknowledged the outstanding leadership shown by the Adam Foundation and urged others to consider providing philanthropic and partnership financial support to the fundraising campaign.

“This project, based on a powerful three-way partnership between the City and two of Wellington’s leading institutions (Victoria University and the NZSO) will strengthen local and national communities and grow Wellington’s international reputation as a creative capital.

“It will also create a wealth of new possibilities for events, festivals and collaborations and an outstanding education for the next generation of musicians. We are proud to be involved and encourage others to join us in this exciting initiative.”

Christopher Blake, Chief Executive of NZSO, says a permanent home in the civic square centre will allow the Orchestra to offer a wider range of performances, recordings and broadcasts to its audiences.

“The acoustics of the Town Hall are perfect for orchestral performances and recordings. This venture will ultimately ensure we have the technology and facilities to share our music and projects more easily in New Zealand and beyond, thereby increasing our contribution to Wellington’s economy.”

Wellington’s Mayor Justin Lester is a strong supporter of the fundraising campaign.

“I encourage everyone in the community to get behind this campaign, which will strengthen Wellington’s status as the cultural capital of New Zealand and provide our city with an exciting new attraction.

The launch of the fundraising campaign will be held at the Adam Art Gallery on Victoria’s Kelburn campus.

Find out more about the fundraising campaign at www.victoria.ac.nz/creative-quarter and submit your memories about the Town Hall to our blog at www.mytownhall.co.nz