Earlier this month, New Zealanders of Maori and Dutch heritage celebrated together with the opening of a new museum, library and community centre in Foxton. It’s called Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom, which means ‘The new stream’ in both Te Reo and Dutch. It has been 9 years in the making with a lot of fundraising, volunteer work, local people and contractors all getting behind it, and is a project Plytech have loved being a part of.
Foxton itself has a strong Dutch history already — including the Dutch Windmill, the Dutch Market and the well-known bakery where visitors can shop for all kinds of Dutch goodies, so it was the perfect place to establish Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom. The building itself was a local Mitre 10, owned by a Dutchman who sold the building to the Dutch Connection Museum Trust so that it could be used for the project. “This was one of the biggest challenges,” explained Pete Bossley, the architect on the project, “To turn an incredibly boxy Mitre 10 building into something exciting, open and energetic.”
And since then it has been completely redesigned into a multi-purpose, world-class shared space which will tell the stories of Dutch NZ history and Maori Culture — cultures once worlds apart brought together in the Horowhenua, reaching out into the wider regions of the Horowhenua, Manawatu, nationally and internationally.
“It’s been a fantastic opportunity to bring cultures together, with the Iwi Gallery and the Dutch Gallery, the library and the general community facilities. We worked hard to offer different experiences and spaces for different people,” explains Pete Bossley.
Working closely with Pete Bossley and Exhibition Designers, Workshop e, Plytech provided the plywood to be used throughout the museum, library and community centre. Plywood has a special way of adding warmth to a room, while also adding texture and character — which is why it was chosen as the perfect material to use throughout Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom. Plytech’s products have been used on desks, staircases, bookshelves, cabinets, walls, a kids' play dome, stunning Maori murals and much more — all adding to this incredible space and the history that is laid out.
The main advantages of using Plytech’s plywood were “its ability to take stain well and give good colour,” explains Pete Bossley. “Plytech products are great products, we used a red stained plywood on the overhead mezzanine bar that runs right through the building and that’s come up really well.”
The aim of developing Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom was not only to educate and preserve Dutch and Maori history, but to also further establish Foxton as the Dutch hub in New Zealand, attracting more people to the town and making it a destination for everyone.
Foxton may be a small town in the Horowhenua, but it has a big history, one that Plytech are proud to now be a part of.