Mana whenua bless site of future ACC building

Oct 5, 2021

The site of the future state-of-the-art ACC office in Dunedin has been blessed by mana whenua at a dawn ceremony on Tuesday morning.

A blessing and sod turning was hosted by whānau from Ōtākou at the Dowling St site and marks an important step in the construction process.

The small event began with karakia before the sod turning, followed by speeches from each stakeholder representative including the Mayor, Aaron Hawkins.

Ngāi Tahu Property and the building’s future tenants ACC have engaged with mana whenua on their conceptual response for the design of the new build in Dunedin’s heritage precinct.

Te Rūnanga o Ōtākou and Kāti Huirapa ki Puketeraki have announced they have gifted the name Ōtepoti to the new development.

Te Rūnanga o Ōtākou Chair Rachel Wesley says the name has quite a story behind it as the building site was originally part of the Ōtākou foreshore named Ōtepoti.

“This was a place where Mauri, natural life force was once intact and where our people would arrive from paddling up the river of Ōtākou and haul their waka ashore.”

Construction is set to get underway towards the end of the year at the site.

The building, which is a 50:50 joint venture between Ngāi Tahu Property and the ACC Investment Team, will create 8,000 square metres of office space. Ngāi Tahu Property will be the development manager. ACC will lease the building for 20 years from the joint venture.

Ngāi Tahu Property General Manager Blair Forgie says the blessing has marked an exciting milestone towards delivering a unique workspace in Ōtepoti.

“The building will be a market-leading and highly energy efficient working environment. This development will incorporate sustainability in line with Ngāi Tahu iwi values.”

ACC Acting Chief Executive Mike Tully thanked mana whenua for blessing the start of construction of the new building.

“Dunedin is an essential part of ACC’s national operations and the new hub will house around 650 of our people to support ACC customers here and across the country.”

“Thanks to the mahi and guidance of our partner Ngāi Tahu Property, we are now on a pathway to bring together our team from four separate sites across Dunedin, into a modern, sustainable and fit-for-purpose office space for our people and customers.”

The new building is due for completion in early 2024.