Projects - Rakiura Museum Te Puka O Te Waka

Rakiura Museum Te Puka O Te Waka

Born out of necessity to provide a new purpose built facility to re-house the islands’ museum exhibition, the project began its incubation almost 10 years ago. As the first piece of civic infrastructure constructed on the Island in over 25 years, the project developed a rich narrative supported by its’ strong connection with the ocean, maritime history, local iwi, community and environment.

Doubling as a community and information centre, the museum provides a place for events, meetings, or large-scale conferences, and for visitors to come for practical information about the island. Designed with visitors in mind, at the front entrance concrete seats face the building, and lockers are provided for storing dirty tramping boots. A welcoming reception and information desk with a small shop greets those who venture inside, often seeking refuge from inclement weather and finding a world class exhibition inside.

The final design, inspired by the wedge-shaped site, reflects the wedge shape of the harbour, and the shape of many ships that have formed part of Rakiura’s history. This narrative of the building being a ship, or a vessel, is reflected in the purpose of the project itself – to contain and to house treasure, and powerful objects of mana. Further linking the building to the island’s history are the ‘ribs’ running down the side of the museum, their size and style indicative of a whale’s ribs acknowledging the local whaling history. The floating prow of Te Puka O Te Waka provides a striking addition to the streetscape, whilst immersed unobtrusively in the heart of the Rakiura community.

Initial pricing had the project $1m over budget. ABL worked with the design team and offered a number of solutions where cost savings could be made managing to bring the project back within budget without compromising the design brief or the level of quality.

The onsite build involved significant logistical challenges as all plant equipment and 300 tonnes of material that was required had to be shipped to Stewart Island for our team to complete the project. This included a specialist barge for the 10m long piles, the piling rig and Manitou. Offsite planning and coordination with subcontractors and material suppliers ensured all materials were delivered early which meant no delays were encountered.

A challenging new build & internal fitout in a remote location, thorough planning, logistical management and an unwavering commitment from the Onsite and Offsite teams the ABL contract works was completed to a high level of quality and ahead of programme.

Rakiura is a community that hosts thousands of tourists throughout the year. The museum provides a stunning place for these guests, both international and domestic, to learn, explore and connect with the island’s rich and complex history.

Project Details

Contract Value
Contract Period
37 Weeks
Year of Completion
Project Location