Here’s some of what the Lonely Planet – New Zealand chapter on The Bay of Islands & Northland has to say about Kawakawa:
“Kawakawa is just an ordinary Kiwi town, located on SH1 south of Paihia, but the public toilets are anything but. They were designed by Austrian-born artist and ecoarchitect Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who lived near Kawakawa in an isolated house without electricity from 1973 until his death in 2000.
The most photographed toilets in New Zealand are typical Hundertwasser – lots of wavy lines decorated with ceramic mosaics and brightly coloured bottles, and with grass and plants on the roof. Other examples of his work can be seen in Vienna and Osaka.”
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
When I read about Kawakawa and the toilets designed by Huntertwasser, I just knew we had to make at stop there and check them out. We had come across the fabulous works of Huntertwasser when we visited Vienna and I couldn’t believe that we’d never heard of him and his art.
We lived in a non-profit housing co-operative called Keegano for 17 years; from the time when our daughter Adia was a baby until she graduated from high school. One of the main buildings that Huntertwasser constructed in Vienna was designed to provide co-operative housing from local residents. However, the building was so incredibly brilliant (search the web for photos of his work) that it just blew my mind.
If we had stopped in Kawakawa by chance, I would have recognized his hand in designing the public toilets almost immediately. Being forewarned ensured that we didn’t miss out, and as it turned out, we were ready for a bathroom break after leaving Haruru earlier that morning.