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Popularity determines time in the limelight

All exhibitions have their time in the limelight and, at MTG Hawke’s Bay, our exhibitions are no different. We have a few long-term exhibitions, the 1931 Hawke’s Bay Earthquake, Tēnei Tonu, and now Waka Kōrero Māori – while other displays have set times that they are up for viewing. Getting the length of time right for each can be tricky. We need to factor in how long public interest will last in any subject matter, what the balance of exhibition content is, what audiences they are aimed at, how complex the design preparation, mounting making, etc is, the amount of exposure to light for the collection, and the capacity of our team to curate, prepare and install new shows. All these elements go into determining the length of any display – with some scheduled for three-four months, most around six-twelve months and others even longer, such as Silver: heirlooms from the collection which is scheduled for approximately two years. These decisions are made before we even get to see what the finished product will look like! So we have to make informed guesses at how popular any particular display will be and some are pleasant surprises. Nyree Dawn Porter: From Local Stage to Global Stardom is one such example, with the public interest in this small exhibition outstripping our expectations.

Whatever we determine as the length of time an exhibition to be on display, it’s never going to be right for everyone – with a small number wanting faster change-overs but even more people wanting exhibitions to be up for longer. We know that if we’re receiving a little bit of feedback at both those ends of the spectrum then we’re getting it just about right.

Most recently we closed Mystery of History and this has certainly been noticed by our younger visitors over the school holidays. However the museum Activity Trail, Waka Kōrero Māori, the Drop-In-Zone and other activities throughout our galleries are keeping school-aged and younger visitors, happily engaged. Mystery of History closed to make way for our latest art display, Billy Apple® A Brand Looking for a Product 1962—2020. This exhibition, by renowned internationally famous New Zealand artist Billy Apple, requires a slightly different approach and, if you’re bringing in your mokapuna or other youngsters we would appreciate you helping them to understand the importance of not touching the artworks. Apple’s works are bright and colourful, so we can understand the temptation they create for children - your help in protecting these works would be much appreciated.

There’s no rest for the team though, as with Billy Apple® A Brand Looking for a Product 1962—2020 now open, our attention turns to the next display, the Children’s Holocaust Memorial. This memorial, representing 1.5 million children killed during the Holocaust, serves as a reminder to us all of the importance of standing up for others and not accepting intolerance and injustice.

At the end of this month the popular Rongonui – Taonga mai ngā tāngata, ngā wāhi, me ngā takahanga: Treasured taonga from people, places and events will close. Rongonui explored a slightly different way of approaching taonga Māori stories and we will incorporate this approach into future exhibitions. Once Rongonui has been taken down, work will begin on the installation of a bloody business: history of five Hawke’s Bay freezing works, due to open late November. The idea for a bloody business was born from awareness of the scars on both the physical and psychological landscape of the region following the closure of Tomoana and Whakatū freezing works. The impact that ripples out from these closures is still very evident - even today. We hope this exhibition will do this regionally important story justice.


• Show Me Shorts Film Festival: Whānau Friendly, a collection of short films suitable for the whole family (target to 7-12 year olds). MTG Century Theatre, Saturday 10 October, 2pm. Tickets available through eventfinda or at MTG.
• Show Me Shorts Film Festival: The Sampler, the best and most vibrant short films. MTG Century Theatre, Saturday 10 October, 6pm. Tickets available through eventfinda or at MTG.
• Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival: Project Prima Volta, Soundbites, a short and sweet series of recitals from the talented voices of Project Prima Volta, a half-hour of lunchtime entertainment. MTG Century Theatre, 13-16 October, 12:15pm, Free entry.
• Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival: Scena Edit, a full-length film feature current and former Project Prima Volta students. MTG Century Theatre, 17 October 12pm. Free entry.
• Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival: Before Karma Gets Us, a fast paced calamity of dark magic and arcane mysteries await. MTG Century Theatre, Saturday 17 October, 4pm. Tickets available through Ticketek or at MTG.
• Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival: Pecha Kucha, the fun, fast-paced speaking format that’s brought communities together the world over and highlighted local treasures and surprises since it began in 2003. MTG Century Theatre, Saturday 17 October, 6pm. Door sales only.
• Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival: Nuit Blanche: Art After Dark, for one night only Napier’s arts quarter, including MTG, comes to live. MTG, Saturday 17 October, doors open 6pm.
• Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival: Nuit Blanche: Art After Dark, MTG is proud to be behind the Waiapu Cathedral 3D animated projection by artist Rangituhia Hollis and Manurewa High School animators, with sound artist Daniel Campbell-MacDonald and support from Indelible Creative Studios. Waiapau Cathedral, Saturday 17 October, 6pm.

5 October 2020

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