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White Night draws in the crowds

White NIght young girl

Earlier this week the business centre of Napier was abuzz with crowds enjoying White Night. Inspired by Nuit Blanche in Paris, this event is part of a global undertaking with many countries around the world participating with their own version of White Night. The aim of White Night is to make arts and culture accessible to everyone.

This is the third year White Night has been held in Napier, and is clearly on a growing trajectory with bigger numbers attending and more to see each year. Huge crowds were out enjoying the evening, centred around the cultural quarter of Napier. With the hugely popular lazer show along Herschell Street, giant marionettes performing, lighting on the cathedral wall, food stalls and performers, plus all the galleries and Wardini Books open for visitors to explore and enjoy, there really is something for everyone in this family friendly event.  

Well over 2,000 people came through MTG Hawke’s Bay and there was lots going on around the building. One of the most popular museum programmes on the night was a glow in the dark activity, with children and a number of adults, creating their own alien drawing or artwork and pinning it to the wall to watch it glow. The education room was very full, with many waiting patiently for their turn to get a seat at the table and participate. Next year we already plan to do the glow in the dark activity bigger and better.

In the Century Theatre, amazing images of space from NASA were showing on a continual loop and close to 1,000 people went in to enjoy this visual experience. There were some spectacular images, along with an interesting soundscape - I’m glad I took the time to pop in and view these. 

Bay Batucada provided an awesome drumming experience outside the museum, which had crowds mesmerised and moving to the beat. In fact, this group were so popular they had to be moved for people safety, with the crowd growing so large they were spreading onto the road, which was open to traffic. We’re already in discussions about having Tennyson Street from Marine Parade to Hasting Street closed next year so we can bring more amazing performances to the night.

All our exhibition spaces were full of people, with our most recent exhibition Mystery of History, proving a huge hit for young and old. This exhibition provides a real feast of subjects and ideas and includes a mystery to solve. Our shop was also well patronised with people enjoying our wider range of products and especially the children’s items associated with Mystery of History.

Another exhibition, The House of Webb: A Victorian family’s journey to Ormondville, was also well attended and, despite the crowds, we were pleasantly surprised to see so many people pausing and reading the information available. This exhibition explores the story of one family’s migration from England to New Zealand in the late 1800’s and gives a real taste of what it must have been like to make that arduous journey and experience a whole new land and culture. We find that children are really captivated by the rat that runs along the ship’s rail – a product of animating one of the watercolours in the display. The House of Webb: A Victorian family’s journey to Ormondville closes on Sunday 3 November so don’t miss your chance to experience this exhibition.


  • MTG Hawke’s Bay is free to enter every day (except Christmas Day)
  • Labour Day: MTG open from 9.30am – 5pm.
  • Exhibition: House of Webb: A Victorian Family’s Journey to Ormondville, closes on Sunday 3 November.

29 October 2019

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