The new $12million environmentally friendly Tuhoe headquarters called Te Uru Taumatua – NZ’s first Living Building – is being constructed in Tanueatua, 20minutes south of Whakatane.
Construction of the building began in February and is expected to be complete in late November.
The building will function as the tribe’s focal point, being their main centre of business and a place for the community to gather.
Tuhoe chairman Tamati Kruger says the building is a big deal for Tuhoe and for New Zealand.
“This building reflects Tuhoe’s hopes for its own and for New Zealand’s future. Like Tuhoe, it challenges the way things have been done and puts a mark in the ground for the possibilities of the future.
“Even as we we’re working to conclude our settlement with the Crown, we have been focusing on making sure this building meets its targets and is embraced by not only Tuhoe, but by all the people in this district, our partners in the Te Ureweras and the wider New Zealand public.”
The building will house their offices, private library and archives, a cafe, commercial kitchen and large hall.
Tuhoe spokesperson Samantha McGavock says reading the above description one might start to think that this is just another building when really it is anything but.
“The project is registered in an environmental challenge, called the Living Building Challenge, which has prompted widespread innovation. The building will house more PV panels than any other building in New Zealand, allowing the building to function at net zero energy.
“The building must also function at net zero water, which is made possible by on-site storm water and waste water treatment, rain water harvesting and solar hot water.”
Samantha says toxic ingredients are not allowed throughout the building, and materials and products must be sourced within a defined distance radius from site.
“The building also contains a world first timber structural system and more than 5000 earth bricks, which were hand moulded by more than 150 volunteers.”