We are growing! We are adding some great spaces and experiences to Expressions Whirinaki. Here is what the extension looks like and what we are doing, when and what you need to know.

The Project
The Board of Expressions Whirinaki together with Upper Hutt City Council are delighted to announce that the building consent for the extension of Expressions Whirinaki has been issued which means that construction of the extension of the Centre will begin on 1 October 2019.

The extension of the Centre was first raised in 2014 by the Board of Expressions Whirinaki who noted the need for more space in order to grow and meet the needs of the community. The extension of Expressions Whirinaki will see the addition of two new galleries: a Heritage Gallery, where we will learn about our local history, and The Heretaunga Rotary Gallery which will focus on hands-on interactive experiences, a collection storage facility for the Pumpkin Cottage Collection. The extension will also include a community creative workshop and a commercial kitchen for The Professional Recreation Hall. A related works project will also see the retro fitting of a new fire sprinkler system throughout the centre.

The extension takes place at the rear of the Centre. The detailed architectural plans have been completed by Athfeilds Architects and construction is set to start 1 October 2019, with Maycroft Construction leading the project. The finished extension will be open early 2021.

The extension is in keeping with the current design of the building with a cedar timber wrapped around the main gallery space at the rear of the building and a covered outdoor boardwalk that connects H20 with Expressions Whirinaki. The new Heritage Gallery will have a high ceiling height and natural light to open up the space to the public spaces outside. It will be built to modern museum standards, with controlled light levels and climate control. In addition The Professionals Recreation Hall will have a new dedicated entrance and foyer and a kitchen.

Expressions Whirinaki is staying open throughout construction although some parts of the Centre will be closed, some of the time and some points of access will change.

Click here for Extension Information sheet

What you need to know

Goodness it’s noisy! Yes…there will be times when it will be noisy inside the galleries and around the construction site. If you are holding an event or attending an event in the Centre, we will ensure that construction will not take place during those hours.

Why is the foyer closed? The foyer space will be closed from the 23 December 2019 to 13 March 2020. This is for the retro-fitting of fire sprinklers to the building. You will be able to access the i-SITE and the galleries from a temporary side door in the alleyway between the Council building and Expressions Whirinaki.

What is going on with the Café? The Café will be completely closed from 23 December 2019 - 27 January 2020 for their Christmas/summer break. When the cafe opens, access will only be through the sliding front doors (not the main entry) until 13 March 2020.

Where do I park? Sorry… during construction some of the car parking to the rear of the building will being taken up by construction. We suggest using public transport if you can or parking further away and walking to the Centre. The disability carpark on Fergusson Drive by the library will remain. For more about parking, please see below.

How do I get to the front door? It might look a bit different… but access from the rear carpark to the front of the building will still be through the alleyway between Upper Hutt City Council and the Centre. There will be signs to help direct you.

EKK! How do I get into the Hall? During construction there will be no access from the back of the building to the Hall. Access to the Hall will be done either through the main foyer space or through the two Fergusson Drive doors, which open direct into the Hall. If you need access to these doors please talk with us.

I’ve got stuff to load in? If you are loading into the theatre, galleries or making deliveries for events this will need to be through the front of the building. Please contact us to arrange this in person.

I’m bringing a class! Great! Our education classes will run the whole time through construction. If you are arriving on a bus, please drop off students in the curved pull in area outside Upper Hutt City Council on Fergusson Drive or park in Wilson Avenue, across the road from Upper Hutt School and walk along Ferguson Drive (see map on Information Sheet Flyer) Also during January - March 2020 our education classes will take place in the CD Room (a large room on the ground floor of Upper Hutt City Council), right next door. Just head to Expressions Whirinaki as usual and meet out the front and our Education team will meet you there.

Changes to Parking

The extension of Expressions Whirinaki is about to get underway (1 October 2019). In order for the construction and associated works to take place there will be a loss of car parks in the civic precinct.

The map below indicates what the new parking layout and arrangements will be. Most importantly, all-day parking will now be limited to 2 hours (P120). Parking on Brown Street remains unchanged.

Construction is expected to last through January 2021. Once complete, there may be further changes to the parking layout and time designations.

For more information on where to park in the city centre, go to

Click here for Changes to Parking Information