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Funding boost for future safekeeping of regional collection

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The development of a new facility to house the Hawke’s Bay Regional Museum collection has taken a major step forward with the announcement of a significant government funding boost.

An application to Manatū Taonga-Ministry for Culture and Heritage’s Regional Culture and Heritage Fund has been successful with an up to $9 million contribution to the estimated $22 million Hawke’s Bay Museum Research and Archive Centre project confirmed today.

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said it was hugely exciting for the project to have this significant amount of funding secured.

“Completing a project of this scale is not possible without this kind of Government support, it’s greatly appreciated.

“It was vitally important that we addressed the future security of this important collection, finding a home for it away from coastal hazards, and it has been fantastic to have the collaboration between the councils, the Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust and Ngāti Kahungunu to make it happen.

“I’m very proud that this project will allow our community to experience this collection in a state of the art facility, and that it will be cared for and preserved for future generations.”

For the past four years, the councils have been working in partnership with the Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust and Ngāti Kahungunu through a Joint Working Group to secure appropriate, permanent storage for the future care and protection of this treasured collection, numbering more than 88,000 items.

In November 2020, the councils purchased 307 Queen Street East, Hastings (the former Briscoes site) to house the collection, considered one of Aotearoa’s most prestigious, historic and significant collections of regional and national taonga and artefacts.

The last two years have been spent designing, engaging with stakeholders including mana whenua and fundraising for a modern, fit-for-purpose facility providing community access, alongside storage and preservation of the collection.

The grant adds to the $5.79m from the New Zealand Lotteries Commission that has already been secured by the Joint Working Group, and Napier City and Hastings District councils’ investment of $3.325m each towards the building purchase and redevelopment costs.

Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise said the grant, which was one of the largest funding allocations the Ministry has awarded to any particular project in the history of the fund, would help secure the future of the regional collection.

“This project is significant for the region as it extends what is offered by our existing arts and culture spaces such as MTG.

“We are proud to have a space in our central city where people can visit parts of the collection but this project means the collection as a whole will be cared for and protected on behalf of the people of Hawke’s Bay.”

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Inc chair Bayden Barber welcomed the funding support.

“With the majority of our collection being taonga Māori it is vital that whānau, hapū and iwi are involved in partnership with Councils. We are very excited about this opportunity.” 

Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust chairperson Dr Richard Grant thanked the Ministry for its significant support for what will be Hawke’s Bay’s next big arts and culture project to ensure that the collection of taonga the Trust oversees had a fit-for-purpose home.

The Trust had also made a commitment to raise a further $1m towards the redevelopment.

“With the funding finish line nearly in sight the push is on to secure the extra support needed to complete the project.”

This has begun with an application to the Eastern and Central Community Trust, and tomorrow evening a fundraising event is being hosted by the MTG Foundation at the MTG to build awareness and help get the fundraising effort underway.

Work on the facility’s design has begun and the proposed concept is of a “Lighthouse and Darkhouse”. The Lighthouse will be part-education and research space, part-exhibition space, and part-workspace while the Darkhouse will be the secure, temperature and humidity-controlled storage component, with a focus on the protection and preservation of the taonga.

The Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust is the official kaitiaki/guardian of the full collection with Napier City Council’s MTG managing the day-to-day needs through a contract for service.

The project is currently at the stage where the building consent application has been lodged and negotiations with prospective building contractors is about to commence for the construction for the physical delivery of the facility. 

7 September 2023

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