National music centre fundraising effort hits $18 million

Fundraising for the planned national music centre in Wellington's Te Ngākau Civic Square is well on track, with the total now at $18 million.

The campaign has been boosted with the gift of $1 million from well-known Wellington entrepreneur and philanthropist Chris Parkin, announced at a dinner yesterday in support of the centre, held at Victoria University of Wellington. Mr Parkin’s gift includes commissioning a significant artwork by a contemporary New Zealand artist.

The Governor-General, The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy and Sir David Gascoigne attended the dinner, along with other distinguished guests and supporters of the national music centre.

Chris says, “It gives me great satisfaction to be able to support a project which is so strategically significant for Wellington city. Wellington has done much for me. This is my opportunity to return the favour.”

Victoria University of Wellington and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra have committed to raising $30 million towards the fit-out of the national music centre, a state-of-the-art facility which will be home to the University’s New Zealand School of Music— Te Kōkī and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. The centre will be available for use by the wider community and provide a foundation for musical performance, education, culture and the arts in New Zealand.

Mr Parkin’s gift brings the campaign funds close to two-thirds of the $30 million fundraising goal.

Wellington City Council recently announced that 101 Wakefield St, formerly the Municipal Office Building, will become part of the national music centre.

Mr Parkin’s gift follows leadership gifts from the Adam Foundation, T G Macarthy Trust and New Zealand Lottery Grants Board. The Government recently announced a $6 million grant towards the project to increase ‘access, participation, education and film scoring’.

”We are now even closer to realising this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform Wellington Town Hall and the surrounding precinct,” says Dame Kerry Prendergast, Chair of the joint fundraising committee.

“It's so exciting to see the project well on track to achieving our vision. We are grateful to Chris for his generous gift, which brings us that much closer to reaching our goal. Philanthropic partnerships are essential to the centre’s success.”

Victoria University of Wellington Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Guilford says the impact of Chris’s gift will be significant.

“We believe the national music centre will have a profound impact on music and the arts in this country. We can only realise these aspirations together and Chris’ gift, alongside those from our other leadership supporters, builds significantly on the excellent momentum the project has achieved so far.”

NZSO Chief Executive Christopher Blake says everyone working to make the national music centre a reality is elated by Chris Parkin’s generous gift. “For many years, Chris has been a passionate supporter of the arts, including new and emerging artists. His contribution brings us closer to a new home for the NZSO and the New Zealand School of Music, and has energised our fundraising campaign.”