Te Awahou Riverside Cultural Park and Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom
Foxton upcycled it's cultural attractions in 2017 with the opening of Te Awahou Riverside Cultural Park and Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom, a cultural precinct based around the town's windmill and river.
Foxton, a port on the Manawatu river, was already known for it's service to the flax industry, rich Maori heritage and iconic replica windmill. The new centre combines history, Maori and Dutch alike in Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom, "More than a museum" surrounded by a park and with several related attractions.
After significant repairs, the windmill is a feature of the new complex, which includes the flax stripping museum, new cafes named the dutch oven, and the millside cafe, foxton horse drawn tram. For over a century (1869 to 1973) there were flax mills in Foxton. At one time fifty mills were operating within ten miles of the town. Working machinery in the museum shows what the industry did.
As well as the classic windmill, De Molen, dutch attractions now include a Saturday Dutch market, and a museum named Oranjehof Connection, dedicated to immigrants from The Netherlands to all over New Zealand, not just the local district. Well supported by a variety of dutch organisations, the offerings are historical, cultural and some culinary. The adventures of Dutch explorer Abel Tasman are described along with the 'first contact' meeting between Maori and his crew in Golden Bay in 1642.
For Manawatu locals, Foxton library has relocated here alongside the information centre and the Council owns two bookable meeting rooms and an art gallery. Ngati Raukawa history and present is respected in the Piriharakeke Generation Inspiration Centre, a museum, arts and learning centre, focused on stories, treasures and art, supported by the Whare Manaaki Maori Gallery and workshop. Te Taitoa Māori o Te Awahou Trust is the Raukawa organisation amongst many supporters of these attractions.
For travellers more used to visiting Foxton for an icecream by the river, this is of course still an option, just pop behind the new buildings to find a seating alcove, with the Manawatu river flowing by. By combining Foxtons assets and amenities all in one, Foxton aims to capitalise on the interest of the community, passing travellers, and heritage and information seekers and offer a complete experience.
Talk about multi-tasking - this complex has it all.
Design was by Bossley Architects who ran weekend workshops with the public which reinforced an awareness of the historic importance of flax to the community (there had been 25 flaxstripping factories in the town) and also the symbolic importance of flax weaving, especially the traditional Maori mythologies associated with baskets such as kite and baskets of knowledge."