Every town has public toilets, but rarely are they the source of so much civic pride.
The new Matakana toilet block was designed by Steffan de Haan and built by the community and holds pride of place in the centre of the town.
“They are beautiful,” gushes Trish Allen. “Absolutely magnificent.”
“It’s a piece of flushable sculpture, if you like,” explains Malcolm Halley.
“Rodney is a tourism centre, so you’ve got to have iconic toilets in a tourist centre,” says Rodney Mayor Penny Webster.
Since when did fancy toilets become a pre-requisite for a tourist town? Whatever happened to carrots, soft-drink bottles and fruit salads?
“There’s a level of architectural discourse about toilets now that wasn't there 10 years ago,” says Halley. “The Taj Mahal probably started it all.”
While the legendary Wellington toilet block might have set things in motion, it was Kawakawa's Hundertwasser loos that really got things up and running.
“It’s become an iconic building that kind of lifted Kawakawa from national obscurity to a must-go place for a lot of people that visit here,” continues Halley.
Tirau in the central North Island was one of the next to climb on board.
“What it does is create a barrier if you will - a point of interest,” explains shop keeper Sally Drake. “Once people have actually stopped they get out of their cars and then they walk the town.”
They then spend more than just a penny.
Matakana business owners hope their new facilities will do the same for them.
However, the man who helped oversee the toilet's construction has less lofty ambitions.
“I’m hoping the toilets work properly,” says Halley. “The rest of it is in the lap of the gods.”
The toilets cost around $400,000 to build - more than three times a standard council design.
Nevertheless, locals are quick to point out that a third of the money came from the community and that this is much more than just a dunny.
source: newshub archive