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Looking forward to a year of progress, light and colour

Hastings Facility

The year 2024 promises to be another busy year at MTG Hawke’s Bay Tai Ahuriri. One of the biggest activities, which will require a lot of our focus, will be something you can’t see happening in the museum – work on the collection care and access facility in Hastings. While the facility is being built, the collections team will be fully focused on preparing each valuable item for their move to Hastings in 2025. The team have a huge task ahead of them, one that is not for the faint-hearted, which will require their full attention. This means that during the year we will not be accepting acquisitions, will have reduced capacity for visits to the collection and enquires, and, from October this year, these services will stop until we re-open in the new facility late 2025. This disruption to a service you may be used to, is exactly what needs to happen to ensure the long-term care and preservation of the collection in an appropriate fit-for-purpose facility. We hope, once you see the new facility, you will realise it is a massive step and gives the collection the home it deserves.

With the collection team’s attention focused elsewhere, we’ll still endeavour to provide a rich programme of exhibitions and displays for the year. To tie in with the Art Deco Festival there’ll be a small display of Lalique vases in the front foyer. A number of these beautiful vases may be familiar to those of you who saw our Renē Lalique exhibition back in 2016. We were lucky enough to acquire these at auction with financial support from the MTG Foundation and the Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust Board. Towards the end of the year, and in preparation for the 2025 Art Deco Festival, we’ll create an Art Deco exhibition acknowledging 100 years since the 1925 International Expo in Paris, where the phrase Art Deco was coined, and celebrating 40 years of the Art Deco Trust in Hawke’s Bay.

In April Stories of Our Place (working title) will let the art and archive collection tell stories from Te Mata-a-Māui. We live in a region with a rich history and many stories and experiences to share – this exhibition will explore a number of them. It’ll also be a first viewing for some of the artworks that have been collected over the last few years, so I’ll be excited to see them on display. There’ll be two important travelling exhibitions this year – one on local legend Sandy Adsett. This exhibition coming from Pataka, Toi Kuru – Sandy Adsett, is a retrospective of Sandy’s impressive artistic career. We’re thrilled to be able to share Sandy’s exhibition here in his home region. The other travelling exhibition also features a local art icon – Rita Angus. Coming from Te Papa, Rita Angus: NZ Modernist, is another must-see exhibition.

This year we’re updating the 1931 Hawke’s Bay Earthquake gallery. The current exhibition does an excellent job telling the social impact of the earthquake, and we certainly want to keep those messages as part of the new gallery. Rather than taking anything away from the existing exhibition, we are adding in more. We’ll be including the science behind earthquakes, the story of Rūaumoko (God of earthquakes), what to do before, during and after an earthquake, and ensuring more regional stories are shared. This is the only gallery that hasn’t been changed since I arrived nearly nine years ago, so it’s time for an update. We’re aware of the importance of this gallery for school groups, tourists and locals alike, so we’ll ensure that a small temporary space is created to at least share the Survivors Stories film while we are changing out the gallery. This work is likely to start in April and be completed by the end of June.

There’ll be some other displays and exhibitions that pop up during the year, along with favourite activities, such as our Drop-In-Zone, activity trails, Sunday Cinema, film festivals and more. It promises to be a year of progress, light and colour and we look forward to welcoming you into your museum.

Published in the Hawke’s Bay Today newspaper on 6 January 2024 and written by Laura Vodanovich, Director at MTG Hawke’s Bay.

Image: Facility that is being built in Hastings.

8 January 2024

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