Since opening in 1990, Aotea Centre has become one of the busiest event venues in Auckland’s city centre, forming the heart of the Aotea Arts Quarter.

The purpose-built events and performing arts centre houses New Zealand’s largest modern tiered auditorium, home to the New Zealand Opera and Royal New Zealand Ballet.

Here are some interesting facts you may not have known about this iconic venue.

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Aotea-upon-Waihorotiu

The Aotea Centre sits atop where the Waihorotiu Stream once flowed down the Queen Street gully into the Waitematā Harbour. In Māori mythology, Waihorotiu is the home of Horotiu – a taniwha, or nature spirit.

Drawing on this historical connection, the foyer outside Waihorotiu Rooms has bespoke carpet design inspired by the swamp flora and fauna that once existed on the site.

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Connecting with our heritage

Te Reo Māori is recognised as a national language in New Zealand and valued as a cultural treasure that makes this region unique. To honour this rich heritage, you will find Te Reo room names such as Hunua and Waitākere within Aotea Centre.

The origin of Aotea Centre – Te Pokapū’s name is ‘Motu Aotea’, which is the Māori name for New Zealand’s largest offshore island, Great Barrier Island.

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Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre

Formerly the ASB Theatre, New Zealand’s largest tiered auditorium was renamed after the famed New Zealand soprano, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, in November 2019. The naming rights were gifted by the ASB Bank to honour one of its longest and most successful associates and an acclaimed ambassador for the arts.

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New Zealand Art

Aotea Centre and the adjacent Aotea Square display a significant body of artwork from prominent New Zealand artists. This includes the towering 11.6m high Aotea Tapestry by Robert Ellis, a bronze sculpture of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa by Terry Stringer, an oil painting of Dame Catherine Tizard by Dick Frizzell, Te Waharoa o Aotea by Selwyn Muru and many more.

A large-scale digital artwork, ihi, by renowned New Zealand artist Lisa Reihana was unveiled by the Prime Minister in January 2020. Filling two floor-to-ceiling spaces in the Aotea Centre foyer, ihi immerses viewers in a visual spectacle that retells the traditional Māori story of the origins of our world.

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Wayfinding designed for accessibility

Aotea Centre’s new wayfinding signage, commissioned as part of its recent extensive refurbishment, was a finalist in the 2019 Designers Institute of New Zealand Best Design Awards.

Complementing Aotea Centre’s modern new spaces, the system enables patrons to easily find their way through the Centre with clean, black and white visuals in English and Te Reo Māori, as well as braille at touch-level.

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Gender-neutral restrooms

To provide an inclusive and accessible environment for our visitors, event organisers have the option to designate gender-neutral restrooms within Aotea Centre. Interchangeable signage can be installed before the start of any event on request to ensure the comfort of all attendees and enhance their experience.

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Centre of sustainability

Energy-saving LED lighting, bio-friendly hand soaps and actively diverting our event and office waste from landfill through recycling are just some of the ways the Aotea Centre is committed to looking after the environment.

Environmentally-friendly event options such as digital signage, reusable ‘globelet’ glasses, biodegradable water cups, reusable metal straws and water jugs instead of bottled water are also offered here.

For the interior, the Centre’s native rimu and silver beech timber veneer and detailing were grown in sustainable forests to minimise impacts on this precious resource. Furthermore, the aluminium components of the signage around the Centre are recyclable at end of life.

Click here for Aotea Centre's room capacities and floor plans, or take a virtual tour

The Aotea Centre is the flagship among Auckland Conventions, Venues & Events’ (ACVE) portfolio of venues. As a business unit of Regional Facilities Auckland, ACVE is a Toitū carbonreduce certified organisation, and a member of the New Zealand Green Building Council.

Find out more on our Sustainability page.

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Please note: As part of our ongoing venue hygiene measures, all ACVE venues have hand sanitisers in public areas. Enhanced cleaning regimes including regular wiping of hard surfaces keep our venues as safe as possible. We continue to work closely with event organisers and suppliers to put additional mitigation measures in place as needed and follow Government and Ministry of Health and safety guidelines for gatherings and public venues.

 

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