About the project
Auckland’s cultural landmark Aotea – Te Pokapū Aotea Centre has been transformed following a $67.5m, four-year refurbishment.
The centre is one of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland’s most versatile performance, event and convention venues in the heart of the city’s theatre district.
The first major revamp for the centre since it opened in 1990, the project was part of Auckland Council’s 10-year $133 million midtown regeneration programme ─ a series of development projects and street upgrades that will significantly revitalise the area.
*Come in and see Lisa Reihana's stunning large-scale digital artwork, ihi! This significant public artwork is accessible to all, celebrating Te Ao Māori and complementing the expansive new interior.
A distinctive new exterior
The centre’s exterior has undergone essential waterproofing and aesthetic upgrades, with new roofing and cladding, a curtain wall and skylight in the main atrium and an upgraded smoke extraction system.
A key feature is the modernisation of the large balcony on the centre’s top level. Additional strengthening and installation of an almost-frameless glass balustrade means visitors can now enjoy extensive views of Aotea Square, while a distinctive fascia ribbon creates a sense of movement and dance along the facade.
Refreshed interior spaces
Inviting floor-to-ceiling glass welcomes visitors into the striking multi-level atrium, creating a light-filled, versatile space. New lighting, floor and wall treatments create a vibrant ambience, with award-winning bilingual wayfinding on all levels.
The refreshed convention wing complements the 2000-seat Kiri Te Kanawa theatre, and the upgraded foyers provides enhanced exhibition space. Refreshed bars and bathrooms, a new box office and new balustrades, and feature lighting complete the internal upgrade, with a modern look that also brings all aspects of the centre up to code compliance.
Enhanced accessibility was an important goal, with a range of design improvements incorporated into the refurbishment to make the centre more accessible for visitors.
These include contrasting materials at the top and bottom of stairs and ramps to highlight the change; Braille signage and lighting in the centre of handrails; automatic opening doors to all entrances from Aotea Square and the Civic car park; reconfigured internal ramps for easier access; accessible counters at the bars, box office and cloak room; upgrading the hearing loops within the main foyer and convention spaces; and upgrading all the accessible toilets.
Award-winning wayfinding system
The accessible bilingual wayfinding system designed for the refurbished building was a finalist in the Best Awards 2019 and received Honours (the highest award possible) at the Global Design Awards 2020.
Digital art installation celebrating Te Ao Māori
A large-scale digital art installation by renowned Aotearoa multi-disciplinary artist Lisa Reihana features in the centre’s refreshed foyers. Ihi is one of the country’s most significant contemporary works of Māori art. The work tells the story of Ranginui and Papatūānuku on two 65 sqm screens that can be viewed from three levels.
Construction commenced in October 2018 and was fully completed in December 2021.
For more information on the project, visit the Auckland Unlimited website.
Auckland Unlimited - (09) 309 2677