The Sarjeant Gallery project will proceed as planned, putting Whanganui on the map as a vibrant cultural hub, thanks to a $12 million boost from the Provincial Growth Fund announced by Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau on Friday.
The announcement was made at the Sarjeant Gallery’s 100th birthday celebrations, with the PGF grant going towards the construction of a new wing situated alongside the purpose-built category one listed heritage building.
"While significant contributions have been secured from the Whanganui District Council, Ministry of Culture and Heritage, and Department of Internal Affairs, as well as from passionate members of the community, this PGF investment is the final major contribution that the project requires to proceed on time," Fletcher says.
"The redevelopment will turn this nationally significant gallery into a world class attraction. A recent economic impact assessment estimates the redevelopment will attract 22,000 additional visitors per year and generate around $11 million in additional regional spending.
"This project has numerous benefits in addition to increased tourism, including helping to better preserve taonga on behalf of iwi, and it will play a key role in preserving New Zealand’s history and cultural identity for future generations to appreciate and enjoy in the region, nationally and internationally.
"It has taken the Whanganui District Council ten years of fundraising effort for this project to reach this point, and what better way to celebrate than on the gallery’s 100th anniversary," Fletcher says.