Te Hononga – the joining of cultures 

Kawakawa Hundertwasser Park


Avail Pacific Ltd won an architectural submission as Lead
Architect for a community development in Kawakawa to
honour Friedensreich Hundertwasser’s friendship with local iwi and the wider community.


The development has multiple stakeholders - The Kawakawa

Hundertwasser Trust, Ngāti Hine, FNDC Council, and Far North Holdings Ltd and local community.

The building is two linked heart-shaped structures expressing the joining of Friedensreich Hundertwasser and the local Kawakawa community in friendship. One heart is rammed earth and the other timber – expressing the joining of our planet’s main elements, earth and air.

Challenges met and value/benefits provided:

Sensitive design, with local materials - the brief involved
creating a building that symbolised the coming together of the Kawakawa community, Hundertwasser, Maori and Pakeha. We studied the philosophies of Hundertwasser and local Iwi, working closely with all parties to create a building which expresses ‘unity’, using locally sourced sustainable materials as much as possible within budget.

The design enables the building to express cultural narratives and value systems, and it will increase tourism to the region, bringing jobs and new opportunities to a small rural town.


Sustainable technology enabled local skills - On an old
riverbed with soft ground, the brief called for rammed earth walls. We sourced international company SIREWall to provide training and bring their Structural Insulated
Rammed Earth wall system to NZ. We built walls with
30+MPa strength using locally sourced materials.

Community engaged, local skills built – The client’s brief was to engage the community to help build a sustainable
structure. 20 young locals were given the opportunity to
team up with the SIREWall experts and the main contractor to build the rammed earth walls. This was an extremely technical build.

Stakeholders engaged Five  local Ngāti Hine Māori artists were engaged by the client to provide kaupapa and artwork for various expressive elements.


We arranged a full-weekend workshop for the artists and client to provide their input into the design elements of the building. We were sensitive to their cultural processes and systems, always playing a supporting role.


The end product has enhanced the overall design, speaks to the cultural narrative and it has built up relationships between local Iwi and the Trust. Furthermore, the resulting feelings of companionship and unity have exceeded expectations.

The project includes:
• Interpretive centre / memorial to Hundertwasser
• Public gallery & viewing platform
• Community workshop
• Library & Council service centre
• Atea & town square
• Improved public amenities & parking
• Connections to the Hundertwasser Park, native
nursery, sculpture, walking and cycle trails