Concept, Hawke’s Bay Regional Museum

Two developments this week will ensure Hastings’ East Block area continues to thrive and grow in vibrancy and relevance.

Hastings District Council announced it had bought two buildings in Heretaunga Street East to support future development opportunities. And the project to re-locate the Hawke’s Bay Regional Museum Collection to 307 Heretaunga East, took a major step forward with a significant government funding boost to the tune of $9 million.

New properties
The Council has bought the property currently occupied by CityFitness Gym at 340 Heretaunga St East for  $7.5 million, and the former church building at 305 Heretaunga St East adjoining the Municipal Building, at a cost of $1 million.

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said the purchases were a strategic decision.

“Acquiring these properties is an intergenerational opportunity to support our community’s vision for Toitoi – giving us options in terms of any future development in this area that support that vision.”

While there’s no definite plans made for these buildings, they offer potential space for expanded arts and culture activities, as well as commercial ones such as conferences and other events sometime in the future. (CityFitness has a long-term lease with 12 years yet to run, and Council says income from the lease will largely service the debt and operational costs over that time.)

Hawke’s Bay Collection, Storage, Research and Archive Centre
The creation of a new facility to house the Hawke’s Bay Regional Museum collection’s 88,000 items dating back to the 1850s has taken a huge step forward with a successful application to the government’s Regional Culture and Heritage Fund.

Hastings mayor, Sandra Hazlehurst said the $9 million in new funding for the estimated $22 million building project, was hugely exciting.

“Completing a project of this scale is not possible without this kind of government support, it’s greatly appreciated,” she said.

Napier Mayor, Kirsten Wise said the grant, which was one of the largest funding allocations the Ministry has awarded to any particular project in the history of the fund, would help secure the future of the regional collection.

“This project is significant for the region as it extends what is offered by our existing arts and culture spaces such as MTG,” she said.

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Inc chair, Bayden Barber, also welcomed the funding support.

“With the majority of our collection being taonga Māori it is vital that whānau, hapū and iwi are involved in partnership with Councils. We are very excited about this opportunity,” he said.

 The grant adds to the $5.79 million from the New Zealand Lotteries Commission that has already been secured by a Joint Working Group, as well as Napier City and Hastings District councils’ investment of $3.325 million each towards the building purchase and redevelopment costs.

Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust chairperson, Dr Richard Grant thanked the Ministry for its significant support for what he says will be Hawke’s Bay’s next big arts and culture project to ensure that the collection of taonga the Trust oversees has a fit-for-purpose home. The Trust had also made a commitment to raise a further $1 million towards the redevelopment.

In November 2020, the councils purchased 307 Queen Street East, Hastings (the former Briscoes site) to house the collection. Work on the new facility’s design has already begun and the proposed concept is of a ‘Lighthouse and Darkhouse’. The Lighthouse will be part-education and research space, part-exhibition space, and part-workspace while the Darkhouse will be the secure, temperature and humidity-controlled storage component, with a focus on the protection and preservation of the taonga.

The Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust is the official kaitiaki/guardian of the full collection with Napier City Council’s MTG managing the day-to-day needs through a contract for service.

The project is currently at the stage where the building consent application has been lodged.

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air


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