Meet Christine, the tour guide for the Hundertwasser toilets in Kawakawa New Zealand (In Northland):
When she first started talking to us about the history of the Hundertwasser toilets I just thought she was a friendly bathroom attendant. But her knowledge was great. She began by telling us about Austrian born Internationally renown contemporary artist, architect and ecologist Fredrick Hundertwasser. He had designed the Toilet building in which we were presently washing our hands, and which is far more important than I had realized.
Our guide continued, “As a result of the untimely death of the artist in 2000, this building will remain the only Hundertwasser structure in the Southern Hemisphere, as well as being his final major project.“
Christine added a detailed history of the building, telling us that local Bay of Islands College students prepared the ceramic tiles, the bricks were from a former Bank of New Zealand building, and the construction was completed by community volunteers.
I told her I was really impressed with her knowledge, and she proudly exclaimed that she was more than the women who cleans the toilets, she was an “official tour guide,” who also scrubs toilets. She showed us her badge, and yes, Christine was an official representative of the Hundertwasser charitable trust. (She did give me permission to take and use her photo in this blog.)
Christine added that these are considered to be the most photographed toilets in New Zealand, and possibly in the world. So, as not to disappoint, here are my photos:
And while you are in Kawakawa take note of the railroad track. Kawakawa is the only New Zealand town to have a track running through the centre of town. It’s a remnant of the coal mining days.
***Visiting these toilets was one of the first stops on our around the top of the North island itinerary.
(All photos on this page are ©Rhonda Albom, 2011)