Jessica Soutar Baron previews what’s on her personal calendar over the next few months in Hawke’s Bay’s arts and culture scene.


With a preview in mid-April at Common Room in Hastings and a second showing in May at The Cabana in Napier, Adrian Thornton’s Godzilla will be a feast for eyes and ears. Using the compositions of Akira Ifukubi, renowned Japanese film score composer, and film footage from classic Toho monster movies, Thornton’s People’s Revolutionary Arts Council will stage a silent film experience like you’ve never seen before.

Adrian Thornton takes on Godzilla

Supporting this spectacular happening is Fane Flaw’s latest project, No Engine. After thirty years away from the stage Flaws has a renewed thirst for the gig circuit and is performing at every opportunity, often, as with this gig, alongside omnipresent muso Anton Wuts. Once the Godzilla show wraps Thornton and Revolutionary Arts Council will move on to a collaboration with Martin Poppelwell and the music of Dmitri Shostakovich, at the Hastings Community Arts Centre in May/June.

Vague de Cirque

Anything to do with circus was bound to make it onto my list. Still breathless from seeing De La Guarda at London’s Roundhouse in 1999 (twice!) and Cirque du Soleil at the Royal Albert Hall in 2003, I try to soak up as much sawdust and grease paint as I can.

Contemporary circus Vague de Circe, from Canada, will perform at Hawke’s Bay Opera House on May 2 and 3. Many of the principal acrobats have done time with Cirque du Soleil, so derring-do and high flying are expected.

Reuben Paterson

Reuben Paterson’s show At the Edge of a Mirror opens on 3 May at Hastings City Art Gallery and runs until 27 July. Full of his signature glitter, the show is said to present to viewers a gallery space reimagined as a kaleidoscope, with Paterson’s vibrant, sparkling paintings acting as a mirrored surfaces. ‘Refraction, tessellation and symmetry’ are the promised themes, but what gallery visitors will really get from seeing this show is an overwhelming feeling of frivolous, unabashed, flamboyant fun. So much ‘feel-good’ that it may well be a bit hard to take in long bursts – like wheatgrass on an empty stomach. This exhibition gathers together a large collection of Patterson’s work from Milford Galleries and Gow Langsford Gallery.

Rhythm and Resonance

Two pianos with percussion will bring pandemonium to the Municipal Theatre when Chamber Music New Zealand’s season of Rhythm and Resonance comes to Napier on 28 August. Diedre Irons and Michael Endres on pianos and Thomas Guldborg and Lenny Sakofsky on percussion will deliver works from Bartok, Mozart and Ravel. A magical interplay between four virtuosos and two giants of the aural world, this night will bring colour and depth, refinement and drama. If your passion is classical music, but you have a secret penchant for the dramatic, then Rhythm and Resonance is a musical spectacular you won’t want to miss.

A who’s who of new

Newness in every corner of the Hawke’s Bay arts world will potentially (read hopefully) bring a sprouting of fresh growth. New venues and new helmsmen promise to pump some energy into our full, but arguably stagnant, arts scene.

Napier’s community arts centre will open in September and this year will mark MTG’s first year of operation. MTG director Douglas Lloyd Jenkins promises a particularly exciting show opening in September, but won’t divulge details until plans are firmed up. Roger King’s appointment as events manager at Napier City Council should bring new ideas, but whether they will push that city past the art deco and into a new phase remains to be seen.

Vague de Cirque

Meanwhile, at the other side of the Expressway, Hastings City Art Gallery will appoint a new director after Maree Mills left late last year. Pitsch Leiser will complete his first year as manager of Creative Hastings (he’s already brimming with ideas; watch what happens in September when he throws local artists at Blossom Parade floats), and Christine Spring will also have done a full year at the wheel of the Opera House.

Hawke’s Bay Better Through Design

From the rubble in 1931 came new growth, new spaces, new landscapes, new buildings and new opportunities that continue to tell a story about who we are and who we wish to be.

Art deco arrived on an ocean liner. It was the hot new style of the time. Deco was bold, and so were we for taking it on. It showed the world we were innovative, sophisticated, glamorous and thoroughly modern. So where has our Hawke’s Bay aesthetic gone from there, and now in the 21st century what spaces – public and private, civic and civil – reflect us and the way we live in the world?

Designer and urbanist Anthony Vile is a recent Auckland escapee who now lives and works in Te Awanga, running design outfit Urban Futures Research Lab. In one of his current projects the big idea is about building a community founded on a shared passion for architecture and its place in our region.

“I think there’s a general lack of awareness around the value architecture has in our culture and there’s a tradition of innovation in Hawke’s Bay architecture that’s fallen off the radar,” explains Vile.

To help bridge the gap in understanding Vile, with support from NZ Institute of Architects, is facilitating a lecture series to present projects currently in the design or build phase in Hawke’s Bay. Leading practitioners will present under the umbrella theme of The Tradition of Innovation in Hawke’s Bay Architecture.

Stevens Lawson Architects will talk about their Hawke’s Bay projects and the inspiration found in Black Barn, Craggy Range and the architecture of John Scott. They are New Zealand’s most highly awarded residential architects. Although Auckland based, Nicholas Stevens and Gary Lawson find themselves working increasingly in Hawke’s Bay. Their Te Mata House won an NZIA National Award in 2011 and they are currently completing a new auditorium and a new library at Iona College. They will be presenting their lecture on 18 March.

On 26 March Mike Austin and Ginny Pedlow from Mitchell and Stout Architects will talk about a cornerstone project for Hastings, the redevelopment of Civic Square. This project has been a long time in the pipelines and so it will be exciting to see where the project is now and how the designs and ideas are developing. Mitchell and Stout is a well established practice with a solid standing in the architecture world and having them onboard can only be a positive thing for the Bay. They will be representing New Zealand in the upcoming Architecture Biennial in Venice.

The third lecture will come from Christopher Kelly at Architecture Workshop on 2 April presenting his project, Te Mata Visitor Centre. As much as the Civic Square is pivotal for Hastings’ urban space, Te Mata fills that role in our rural landscape. There is much interest from the public in both these projects and many are waiting to see if they will deliver what’s been promised. The lecture series will be an excellent opportunity to get a “work in progress” up date from the designers.

To wrap up the series, a fast-format presentation night in the style of pecha kucha – multiple presenters; quick-fire presentations; 20 slides of 20 seconds each – will take place on 9 April. Architects and collaborators from around Hawke’s Bay will present and this will be a chance for local practitioners to have ‘right of reply’ on the overarching theme: The Tradition of Innovation in Hawke’s Bay Architecture.

“The series will appeal to anyone who is interested in architecture and design, and will be an opportunity to grow an understanding of the value design disciplines have in creating a better Hawke’s Bay,” Vile explains.

All presentations begin at 5.30pm in the Magdalinos Room, Havelock North Community Centre. Entry is by koha.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.