The new home for Hawke’s Bay’s regional taonga and artefact collection in the Hastings CBD is a step closer to reality, thanks to a $5.47m funding boost from the New Zealand Lotteries Commission.

Hastings District and Napier City councils have been working in partnership with the Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust and Ngāti Kahungunu through a Joint Working Group to secure appropriate, permanent storage for the future care and protection of this treasured collection, numbering more than 90,000 items.

In November last year, the councils purchased 307 Queen Street East (the former Briscoes site), in Hastings, with the plan to upgrade it into a fit-for-purpose storage facility, and are contributing $1.8m each through their respective 2021-2031 Long Term Plans, with fundraising efforts underway to secure the balance for the upgrade.

The total estimated cost of the project, including the property purchase, is $12.5m. 

Hastings councillor, Malcolm Dixon speaking on behalf of the Joint Working Group said the partners were delighted to hear their application for contestable New Zealand Lotteries Commission funding was successful, with $1m received from the Lottery Environment & Heritage Fund and $4.47m from the Lottery Significant Projects Fund. 

“This critical funding injection allows for the project to ramp up. We can now progress with finalising designs and then undertake the development of this facility, which is all very exciting”.

Consultation on the design will be undertaken with multiple parties including local iwi and mana whenua, MTG staff, and museum experts to ensure the outcome meets industry best practice and that the collection is secure for years to come.

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said she was proud Hastings District and Napier City councils had made a joint investment in a permanent regional museum storage facility. “This funding will enable the project to proceed and our precious taonga will have a new place to call home. This collection, owned by our Hawke’s Bay community, needs to be protected, kept safe and made accessible for future generations … A lot of the taonga comes from Heretaunga so it is fantastic it is returning home to Hastings.”

Napier mayor Kirsten Wise said the collection was an important regional asset. “I’m thrilled that in the future the collection’s guardianship will sit across our two cities within both the MTG and the new storage facility.”

Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust chairman Richard Grant said the Trust welcomed the funding support. “The Trust has long advocated for a dedicated storage facility for this collection, which is of major significance, not only to the region, but also nationally.” 

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi appointee to the Trust, Nigel How said the iwi was heartened by this funding support, bringing a purposely designed home for our region’s taonga closer.  “The facility will build on the excellent care of our taonga by museum staff and provide greater opportunity for meaningful access.”

Originating in the early 1850s, the collection is considered one of Aotearoa’s most prestigious, historic and significant collections of regional and national taonga and artefacts.

Once redeveloped the site will provide a modern, fit-for-purpose facility providing community access, alongside storage and preservation of the collection. 

Photo: Waka Huia / Treasure Box
Acquisition Source and Donor The Estate of J.M. Wright (Napier)

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