The new MTG museum storage facility takes a step closer as Napier and Hastings work together to build a new home for the regional museum collection they share as joint guardians.

Napier City Council and Hastings District Council this week confirmed their approach to moving ahead with the next design phases of a new Museum Research and Archives Centre. 

The building is to be constructed on the corner of Queen Street East and Hastings St North in Hastings, a block from the soon-to-be reopened Municipal Building and the Toitoi Arts and Events Centre … and well away from the tsunami zone of the Napier waterfront. The new facility provides room for the collection to grow while allowing greater accessibility by the public for guided tours and research projects. 

The regionally-owned collection has 88,654 items and is valued at over $40 million. It includes a significant collection of taonga, which Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi has expressed a desire to see made more accessible to whānau, hapū, the wider Hawke’s Bay community and visitors to the region. 

The facility will have two distinctive components, a proposed concept of a ‘Lighthouse and Darkhouse’. The Lighthouse will be part-exhibition space, part-work space, and the Darkhouse will be the secure, temperature and humidity-controlled storage component with a focus on protection and preservation of the taonga. 

Napier mayor Kirsten Wise says the project is more than just about storage for the collection. 

“This project will create opportunities for our community to have improved access to the collection, to visit it and see it in a way that ensures the collection is cared for and preserved for our future generations,” says Mayor Wise. 

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst says it will be exciting to have the collection, which includes many taonga from Heretaunga, in its new home in Hastings. 

“These taonga are precious to our region, as well as being nationally significant, and to have them in a secure home where researchers, education groups, archivists and other visitors can access them easily is a huge step forward,” says Mayor Hazlehurst. “Having the design phase underway is great progress and we look forward to seeing more detail as it becomes available.” 

The Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust is the official guardian of the full collection with Napier City Council’s MTG managing the day-to-day needs through a contract for service. Both Councils have already committed $3.325 million each to the project. The project has also secured $5.47 million worth of external funding from NZ Lotteries. The facility is expected to be opened by mid-2023. 

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