Kiingi Tuheitia today presided at a karakia and official opening for striking new regional offices developed by Tainui Group Holdings for the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC).
Kiingi Tuheitia also unveiled the new name for the building – it will be known as Amohia Ake. The name takes its significance from a Waikato-Tainui tongikura (saying), “Amohia ake te ora o te iwi, ka puta ki te whei ao - the wellbeing of the people is paramount.”
The 8,500 square metre offices, in three distinctive pavilions bearing Waikato-Tainui tribal designs, will initially accommodate around 800 ACC staff, bringing together two existing Hamilton offices for ACC.
Parekawhia McLean, Chair of Te Whakakitenga o Waikato, the Waikato-Tainui parliament, said the new home for ACC in Hamilton is a case study in the successful commercial development of whenua that came back to the iwi through the 1995 settlement process, and will produce benefits for all.
“Waikato-Tainui has proudly developed this whare as a long-term home for the hard-working kaimahi (staff) of ACC in a way that benefits ACC, Hamilton, our wider region and Waikato-Tainui itself,” she says.
Ownership of the underlying whenua, which is a former maara kai or vegetable garden in pre-colonial days is retained by Waikato-Tainui, with ACC taking a long-term lease over the new offices.
The Minister for ACC Peeni Henare says this is a significant development for both Waikato-Tainui and ACC.
“I’m delighted to see the culmination of this iwi and crown partnership and the vibrancy this will bring to the local CBD in the post-COVID era,” says Minister Henare.
ACC Chief Executive Megan Main said the new office provides an opportunity for ACC kaimahi to work together in the CBD.
“This new long-term home brings together around 800 people who were previously working from two offices. The new space is in the heart of this important community, close to transport links and provides a great base for our work to improve lives every day,” says Megan Main.
Also present at the karakia and opening alongside Kiingi Tuheitia were Hon. Nanaia Mahuta, ACC Chair Hon. Steve Maharey, ACC CEO Megan Main and Andrew Milne, Deputy Chief Executive, Strategy, Engagement and Planning, along with TGH Chair, Hinerangi Raumati-Tu’ua, TGH CEO, Chris Joblin and around 130 guests.
TGH Chair Hinerangi Raumati-Tu’ua told the guests that development of the new ACC Centre had been a vital source of work and economic activity for Hamilton City during the volatile Covid period and immediate post-Covid future.
The distinctive Warren and Mahoney designed building is the outcome of a three-year development project by Tainui Group Holdings, the commercial entity of Waikato-Tainui, and was built by Hawkins.
Over 1,300 personnel were inducted on to the site during the three years of development and construction, with around half of these people having Maaori or Pasifika heritage. Alongside head contractor Hawkins, more than 50 sub-contractors were active on the site of which around 15% of sub-contracting businesses were under Maaori or Pacific Island ownership.
“Developing Amohia Ake has been an awesome team effort under the testing circumstances of the pandemic and supply chain challenges. We are grateful to everyone who has worked together to deliver this great new asset for our Waikato iwi and to the central city,” Ms Raumati-Tu’ua says.
The four-storey complex is located on the corner of Collingwood and Tristram streets – and only a short walk from major public transport routes and the Hamilton Central Transport hub. It also encourages active and sustainable transport options with 82 bicycle parks, end of trip facilities and 12 charging stations for electric vehicles. The building has been designed to achieve at least a four-star standard under the NABERSNZ rating system for energy system and is currently on track to meet or exceed this when the first assessments are completed 12 months after the building is occupied.
ACC team members will progressively move into the new building from 26 April, with full occupation complete by early May.