The Opotiki Heritage Art Centre is almost through a huge restoration, refurbishment and rejuvenation project. The original building was opened in 1898 and has weathered many storms floods and earthquakes in its 100-plus years and the toll was showing.
Since the 1970s, The Opotiki Art Society Inc. has owned what was originally The Opotiki Salvation Army barracks (church), using it as an art centre and exhibition space. With generous funding from Southern Trust, The Lotteries Commission (Heritage), Environment BOP Enhancement Fund, BayTrust and the Eastern Bay Energy Trust the Opotiki Art Society has embarked on a quest to restore the building to its original glory. This meant literally from the ground up - from lifting and repiling, replacing rotten timbers, returning original-style windows and trim, to a new roof and paint job, most of which is now complete. The New Zealand Historic Places Trust has been very supportive.
The vision for this facility is to have a workshop wing added across the back to provide suitable space (including a pottery workshop) for artists to work and the society to hold workshops. This will free up the original hall for hire and use by artists and other creatives from the wider area. Enquiries about joining the Heritage Art Society or hiring the facility are welcomed.