Sir Howard Morrison Centre

Rotorua, New Zealand | Aotearoa

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Image above: Media Masters 

The Sir Howard Morrison Centre is a key hub for performing arts in Rotorua. Situated on 6,469 m² of land gifted by Ngāti Whakaue in the heart of Rotorua, the building holds considerable historical significance and now provides the community and surrounding regions with a wide range of education and performance opportunities.

In November 2017, the centre closed after a seismic assessment identified several vulnerabilities. A detailed business case for refurbishment, following community engagement and consultation, was completed concurrently. The project scope encompassed seismic strengthening and presented additional challenges due to its location in a geothermal area.

AECOM was initially engaged to provide interim Project Management services for the first three months of the project. The Council then appointed AECOM as Project Manager for the design, procurement, construction, and handover phases of the project. This included project planning, stakeholder management and client representation.

Preserving heritage features and temporary works was achieved by developing innovative methodologies, including meticulous construction sequence planning while being agile to evolving issues. Approximately 40% of the building was dismantled, while the remainder was concurrently strengthened – the New Building Standard (NBS) has been strengthened from 25% to above 67%.

Officially re-opened in February 2023, the building is, once again, an asset for the local Rotorua community and New Zealand’s performing arts industry.

… a modern and refreshed facility that looks like Rotorua, sounds like Rotorua, and feels like Rotorua. Tania Tapsell – Mayor of Rotorua

… we’ve had to make some tough decisions during the rebuild but seeing all the talent and rich culture on display just showed it was the right decision; it was exactly what Rotorua needed, and it’s what our community deserves – a world-class facility that oozes pride, highlights our culture, and displays our vibrant spirit.” Stewart Brown – Rotorua Lakes Council – Arts, Culture & Mahi Toi Manager