Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom



NZ Lifestyle Magazine Group



Three flags fly outside Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom — New Zealand, unsurprisingly, but also the Māori and Dutch flags. It's a vibrant and visual clue that this cultural centre celebrates all three. The building itself is multi-purpose. It's a council-services hub, with a library and café, and visitors can hire e-bikes (from Elements Electric Bikes, see Facebook) for a highly recommended blat down to the beach. Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom is also home to two museums: the Oranjehof Dutch Connection Centre, the national museum commemorating Dutch settlement in New Zealand; and the Piriharakeke Generation Inspiration Centre, created by a collective of nine local hapū, which traces the history and culture of the local iwi, Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga. It seems obvious to site a Dutch museum as close as a building can comfortably get to De Molen, Foxton's flour-grinding Dutch windmill. However, building the Dutch museum here rather than elsewhere came only after serious lobbying from its local Dutch community. The Oranjehof is jam-packed with memories and artefacts of those who gave up everything to travel to far off Aotearoa. Once here, those “Dutchies”, with their reputation for hard work, had a huge impact. They fledged the country's poultry and egg industries, baked Vogel's bread, grew tulips and lilies, introduced Aotearoa to real coffee, built houses, and boosted the dairy-farming and cheesemaking industries. The memorabilia and memories collected in Oranjehof also reminds New Zealanders of the racism and hostility they faced. While adults can learn plenty, care has also been taken to interest the younger visitor, with child-eye-level displays, dress-ups, Dutch games, interactive screens, recorded interviews, and more. Equally as colourful and informative is the Piriharakeke Generation Inspiration Centre, which is given equal floor space on the opposite side of Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom. Static and interactive displays detail Māori settlement and relationship to the whenua and awa of the area, with stories told through soundscapes and art, including intricate weaving and carvings. Entrance is by donation but free to Horowhenua residents. 92 Main Street, Foxton. (06) 363 5571, teawahou.com