A modern civic space, offices, and museum all came together in a new home on Chatham Island in late 2021, when Apollo Projects delivered an exciting community-focused facility for Ngāti Mutunga O Wharekauri.
The Iwi Trust presented Apollo with a clear vision – it needed a safe, efficient, functional, and durable facility that would house local artefacts, Museum staff and Council offices, as well as contractors and visitors. Importantly, it wanted to ensure the Chatham Islands’ collection of cultural heritage taonga was managed, conserved, and enhanced for future generations to enjoy.
Given the breadth of people and groups the building would serve, Apollo carefully balanced a variety of needs into an intricate and carefully thought-out design, all the while ensuring it would be within budget.
The first consideration was Chatham Island’s extreme weather. Corrosion was a real risk to construction and ongoing maintenance, but we mitigated this by first constructing the perimeter foundations and erecting the roof support structure. This provided a weather protected space to work and allowed our teams to build the facility safely out of the elements. We further protected the building (and the artefacts that would be housed there) by using stainless steel fixings, single continuous lengths of 17m-long roofing iron, and sub-floor steel that was galvanised or coated. On the office side of the building, a 30-minute fire rated wall was installed to protect the museum artefacts from fire.
Practicality also factored highly in our design work. Given Chatham Island’s remote location and small number of local tradespeople, we understood ongoing maintenance might be difficult, if the building was too complex. We mitigated this by installing an emergency generator, which would support the building if the power went out, and putting air conditioning units outside on the ground, so they could be easily serviced.
Sustainable elements, like rainwater harvesting tanks underneath the facility gave the building a renewable focus.
Given the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 on transporting materials needed for construction, we were thrilled to deliver the new Chatham Islands Office and Museum on budget, thanks largely to our early procurement process.
Feedback from Ngāti Mutunga O Wharekauri, the community and visitors has been overwhelmingly positive since the doors opened, and we couldn’t have been more proud to deliver this outstanding community asset to the people of the Chatham Islands.