A new extension, new name and new chapter for Expressions Whirinaki

Published on 04 May 2021

The new Professionals Recreation Hall entrance.jpg

On Saturday 15 May the new extension for Expressions Whirinaki opens, and with it comes a new name and a new chapter.

This new extension features:

  • The Gillies Gallery: a dedicated space to showcase Upper Hutt’s stories sponsored by Malcom and Carol Gillies and their family.
  • The Heretaunga Rotary Gallery: an intimate space for local, national and international art sponsored by Heretaunga Rotary.
  • A creative workshop - a custom built educational space for Upper Hutt
  • A collection store to house the nationally significant Pumpkin Cottage Collection
  • A commercial kitchen to support the Processionals Recreational Hall; a place for community gatherings.

Did you know we own the facility and lease to Expressions Whirinaki Arts and Entertainment Trust, who then provide all the programming and services that the local community enjoy at the centre?

The extension of the facility was first raised with us in 2014 by the Board of Expressions Whirinaki, highlighting the need for more space in order to accommodate the extraordinary growth in visitors and to meet the needs of the local community.

It received strong community support and after three years of fundraising, major donations, grant applications, and additional contributions from Council, construction began in late 2019.

We’re pleased to see it complete and know our community and our many visitors are going to love the new spaces.

Alongside the opening of this new extension, Expressions Whirinaki also announces their new name;

Whirinaki Whare Taonga
Arts I Culture I Events

This name builds on the name gifted to Expressions Whirinaki Arts and Entertainment Centre by Orongomai Marae and local iwi in 2011.

Whirinaki means to provide support, or to lean on, and to encourage. Whirinaki Whare Taonga recognises the centre as a treasure house sitting at the heart of the Upper Hutt community; a place where arts, culture and events are supported, and the community embraced.

To mark the completion of the project and the start of a new chapter for Whirinaki Whare Taonga, they’re having an opening event for the community on 15 May.

In addition to the opening exhibitions (just a donation or koha to enter), there will be food trucks, roving performers, live bands, giant games, an imagination playground in the courtyard with a DJ, and a free mini donut for the first 500 visitors!

Mayor Guppy says “Our new name and our new building guides us into an exciting new chapter and we welcome everyone to come and explore with us.”

To read more about the opening exhibitions and for details about the event, go to https://www.expressions.org.nz/about-expressions/