Hawke’s Bay’s treasured regional taonga and artefact collection is to be relocated to a new location in Hastings CBD. Once redeveloped the site will provide a modern, fit-for-purpose facility for providing community access, alongside storage and preservation of the collection.
Originating in the early 1850s, the collection is considered one of Aotearoa’s most prestigious, historic and significant collections of regional and national taonga and artefacts, and contains about 90,000 items.
Over the last 18 months, Hastings District and Napier City Councils have worked in partnership with the Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust and Ngāti Kahungunu to secure permanent storage for its future care and protection.
Together, the councils have purchased 307 Queen Street East (the former Briscoes site), in Hastings, which after an extensive redevelopment will provide a facility that ensures the collection will be stored and well preserved for future generations in accordance with museum best practice.
The regional collection will continue to be owned by the Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust, a council-controlled organisation, jointly funded by the Hastings District and Napier City Councils. The day-to-day care of the items and archival material will continue to be managed on behalf of the region by MTG Hawke’s Bay.
Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust chairman Richard Grant said finding a long-term solution for storing the collection had been a high priority for the Trust for a number of years.
“The Trust is pleased to have the collection relocated to a facility that will be able to house its entirety under one roof in Hastings’ cultural precinct close to Ngā Pou o Heretaunga, the Hastings City Art Gallery and the Hastings War Memorial Library in Civic Square, and Toitoi – Hawke’s Bay Arts and Events Centre.”
Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi appointee to the Trust, Nigel How, said procuring the site aligns seamlessly with the Trust’s objectives, including the development of quality cultural facilities within our region and the advancement and promotion of our cultural heritage and arts through the use of the collection.
“Personal connection with taonga, including archives, art and images, is a fundamental part of holistic community wellbeing. The new facility will provide further opportunity for these connections to be made in synergy with MTG.”
Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said a number of potential storage sites, including 307 Queen St East, were investigated with the agreement that a location in Hastings would be most appropriate, as it was safely out of the tsunami zone and can provide a purpose designed home for the treasured collection.
“Although this is a regional collection, it is unique and is recognised as being of national significance. The collection is growing and needs to be stored and displayed properly for researchers, archivists, the local community and future generations. This property will allow us to develop a fit-for-purpose access, storage, display, research and education space, and ultimately a home for these unique and irreplaceable items.”
Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise said she was pleased that the proposed facility would be designed to benefit the entire Hawke’s Bay community.
“It will provide new opportunities to share the treasures in the collection with the community in an exciting new space designed to support the needs of local and national researchers, while also providing the opportunity to further expand on the current educational and history-telling tours the MTG facilitates.”
The total estimated cost of the project including the property purchase is $11.5m. Both Councils are contributing $3.325m each through their respective 2021-2031 Long Term Plans. Fundraising will now begin in earnest to raise the additional estimated $4.85m to ensure the building and site is repurposed appropriately, with the councils and the Trust looking for external funding from contestable central government funds, regional contestable funds, private enterprise partnerships, private trusts and philanthropic organisations and individuals.
For all project enquiries please contact Richard Hooper at Hastings District Council on (06) 871 5000