Skip To My Lou – Kawakawa, NZ

IMG_0867It can be very frustrating waiting for a weather window, and finding enough activities to keep ourselves occupied becomes a bit of a challenge. But when our buddies on ‘Escape Velocity’ suggested an outing to the public toilets at Kawakawa some 10km away, we thought they must have a particularly severe case of cabin fever (or something much worse).

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visiting the loo has never been so much fun!

As it turns out, the Hundertwasser toilets at Kawakawa are a famous landmark in the North Island, even signposted on the tourist route!

Friedensreich Hundertwasser was an Austrian artist, architect and passionate ecologist who made his home in Kawakawa in the 1970’s. His most famous building in Vienna, the Hundertwasserhaus apartment block has undulating floors (“an uneven floor is a melody to the feet”) and trees growing from inside the rooms. He encouraged the idea of planting trees in an urban environment – “If man walks in nature’s midst, then he is nature’s guest and must learn to behave as a well-brought-up guest” and wrote numerous manifestos on the preservation of the environment.

The tree Hundertwasser planted is integral to the design of the toilets
The tree Hundertwasser planted is integral to the design of the toilets

He became a well-loved part of the community in Kawakawa, and his final commission in 1997 was to design and build the public toilets in the main street. And what a fun and quirky project they are – built out of local bricks and bottles, with tiles designed by local school students, and with his trademark garden roof and tree as the centerpiece.

The bottle wall at the Hundertwasser toilets
The bottle wall at the Hundertwasser toilets
There's that undulating floor
There’s that undulating floor
Tiles designed by the local students mark the ladies entrance
Tiles designed by the local students mark the ladies entrance
inside the inner sanctum of the ladies toilets
inside the inner sanctum of the ladies toilets
There's a pixie in the garden
There’s a pixie in the garden
Even the street lamps are quirky
Even the street lamps are quirky
Across the street is a fabulous mural
Across the street is a fabulous mural
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detail on the mural
The mural and museum, Kawakawa
The mural and museum, Kawakawa

We had a great time exploring this little town and the legacy that Hundertwasser left, and it was a welcome interlude from twiddling our thumbs waiting for the weather gods to give us safe passage.

4 Replies to “Skip To My Lou – Kawakawa, NZ”

  1. Totally unique…..simply love it Di! I must now do some research on Hundertwasser…..he must have been such an interesting man.

    1. Yes, he sounds like quite a character, with ideas that would have been very radical in his day. Glad you enjoyed the blog Shirley xx

  2. There’s a name for people who take photos in public loos!!
    Quirky toilets, but fascinating – would almost seem wrong to use them!

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