This is a busy time of year, often spent hosting whanau and friends, from near and far and here at MTG Hawke’s Bay we are no exception. We’re proud to say that we’re open everyday of the year, except Christmas day, with our wonderful front of house team busy welcoming a huge range of vistors of every age and background, from here in the Hawke’s Bay and all over the world. We’re often the “kaikaranga”, with a welcoming call for the many tourists into our beautiful region, and singing our local narratives and histories is core to what we do within our role as a community cultural hub.
So the challenge for us, like it is for so many during the feastive season, is how do we best cater to the tastes of such a diverse range of visitors, showcase what is important to us here in Hawke’s Bay and ensure each of our guests has a wonderful time?
Much time and thought goes into carefully planning what goes on show and when. Key considerations include, remembering what makes Hawke’s Bay special on a global scale, respecting our past, a sense of our future and thinking about how each visitor might experience and be engaged by our exhibitions.
Our permanent exhibitions, Tenei Tonu and 1931 Hawke’s Bay Earthquake, are narratives that position our identity and the foundations of this region. While current exhibitions – He Manu Tioriori, Time for Tea and Deco Kimono – are a celebration of our more recent past. Moving outside the museum walls, and with a respectful nod to more personal histories, are the Napier Cemetery Walking Tours. You can book a place with our front of house team in the main foyer for tours on 4 February, 4 March and 15 April. These tours give a very intimate and tangible view of Hawke’s Bay history.
Always important is catering for the needs of children visiting the museum. Children make up a significant proportion of visitors over the holidays and it’s nice to offer families an entertaining and educational place to go. The kids drop in zone is open throughout the holidays, with craft activities for children as well as a treasure hunt around the museum. One of the many benefits of the library service moving into MTG is that their children’s summer reading program will be run in the museum kids drop in zone this year. Exhibitions such as Play Hawkes Bay continue to be a thrill for children, as they slap the images triggering the audio to play. Adults too seem to have just as much fun ‘playing’ with these beautiful photographs of Hawke’s Bay and the matching recordings.
Many of our visitors this summer are coming in to see our contemporary Art exhibition; Te Taenga Mai o Salome by internationally renowned artist Yuki Kihara. Poetic and visually hypnotic photographs and video works place the symbolic figure of Salome in the landscape of Ngāti Kahungunu ki Heretaunga – Hawke’s Bay and explores themes of arrival, memory and peoples connecting. In the Century Theatre Foyer on the 5th of January we are hosting the ‘Big Bike Film Night’ featuring the documentary movie ‘All For One’ at 7.30pm, you can buy tickets at the museum main foyer.
Hosting four hundred visitors on Boxing Day alone, our galleries are full of hubbub, a flood of different voices, speaking a huge and wonderful range of languages, with plenty of good cheer. So, swing in, drop by or pop over to our place these holidays, anytime from 10am-5pm. Welcome, one and all.
Michelle Lee – Curator, Maori
Published in the Hawke’s Bay Today, 30th December 2017