Exterior of Massey's new creative arts  building, Te Ara Hihiko, in Wellington. Exterior of Massey's new creative arts building, Te Ara Hihiko, in Wellington. CREDIT: Massey University

It's a date: world-first building to open in June

Wednesday 30 May 2012, 3:36PM
By Massey University


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Black & white stylised time lapse of building construction.


New Zealand of the Year, Weta Workshop’s Design and Effects Supervisor Sir Richard Taylor will play his part in yet another world-first for Wellington and New Zealand when he officially opens Massey University’s new creative arts building next month.

The building’s advanced seismic engineering will make it one of the most resilient buildings in the city. It is the first in the world to use a post-tensioned timber seismic frame, which flexes like a push-puppet toy during earthquakes. In production testing, the key structural features of the building were found to withstand ground shaking and acceleration greater than that experienced in the Christchurch February 2011 earthquake.

The creative arts building, Te Ara Hihiko, will be opened by Sir Richard on Friday June 22. Sir Richard is a Massey alumnus and member of the College of Creative Arts Hall of Fame.

College of Creative Arts Pro Vice-Chancellor Associate Professor Claire Robinson says staff and students are looking forward to moving in for semester two. “We have a state-of-the-art building here that will be truly inspirational. It is not just an amalgam of phenomenal facilities; we will also be adopting world-leading methods of teaching art and design, using large open spaces for classes, workshops and happenings. Design both reflects and shapes how people think; we have embraced a building design that opens up our thinking and puts almost no limits on creativity.”

The building provides the College of Creative Arts with:

  • More functional workspaces that inspire creativity and innovation
  • Facilities that match or exceed the best in industry, such as the new green screen for filmmaking.
  • Flexible gallery spaces for showcasing student and staff work and international touring exhibitions.
  • Spaces of the standard required for accreditation to host top flight international postgraduate students.


The building combines Massey’s creative vision with architectural design by Athfield Architects and engineering by Dunning Thornton Consultants. Construction was project managed by Arrow International. It has already attracted considerable attention in the construction sector, particularly for its seismic properties, innovative construction methods, and extensive use of laminated veneer lumber.