Call for public input into new exhibition

Last week my fellow curator Te Hira Henderson shared his plans for an exhibition focussing on Rongonui – famous people and taonga; and another on the stories of freezing works communities around the region.

To follow suit, I’m currently working on two projects for which public input would be much appreciated.

Scheduled for March next year, ‘Project Banaba’ is an exhibition that illuminates the history of New Zealand’s role in mining phosphate rock from the island of Banaba (and nearby Nauru) for production of superphosphate fertiliser.

The creator of the exhibition, artist and scholar Katerina Teaiwa, is of Banaban heritage and was raised on the island of Rabi. Banabans were relocated en masse to Rabi between 1945-1983 as the mining rendered their homeland uninhabitable, bringing millennia of continuous occupation to an abrupt end. This tale of other nations’ material gain at the expense of Banabans is expressed in the words of Katerina’s late sister, the esteemed scholar and poet Teresia Teaiwa: “Agriculture is not in our blood, but our blood is in agriculture.”

Katerina was originally commissioned to create ‘Project Banaba’ for presentation in Sydney last year, focussing on the Australian part of what was a tripartite Australia-NZ-UK governmental mining partnership. She is now looking forward to developing it in response to the Hawke’s Bay and wider NZ context, and would love to hear from those with related stories, objects, photographs and so on.

As superphosphate fertiliser has been – and remains – key to the industrial agriculture sector regionally and nationally, there are many potential angles to explore. For example, New Zealand was first to develop the now globally standard practice of topdressing, as RNZAF pilots began utilising their planes and flying skills post-WWII to spread unprecedented amounts of superphosphate over extensive areas of land. While the nutrients added to the soil maximises grass growth and enables intensive farming, the resulting impacts on the health of soil and water systems are becoming increasingly clear.

Also underway is a proposed exhibition on the meeting of tangata whenua with those on board the HMS Endeavour, as part of the national ‘Tuia – Encounters 250’ programme commemorating the events of 1769. Exploring the immense significance and ramifications of whānau meeting Tupaia (the renowned Tahitian priest and navigator) as well as then-Lieutenant James Cook and the crew of Europeans, is a fascinating and important challenge. Drawing on the knowledge of mana whenua and others with insightful perspectives on this kaupapa will be vital to achieving a compelling and educational display.

Our exhibition proposal aims to centre the stories of this place, expressed primarily through contemporary art and possibly older taonga. Te Kauwae-a-Māui is a focal point: the exhibition would give insight into the significance of the headland’s original name, how it came to be known to many as Cape Kidnappers, and why this year its official name has been altered from the English name alone to ‘Cape Kidnappers / Te Kauwae-a-Māui.’ All three MTG curators plan to work on this project together, developing the exhibition alongside the community. If you’re interested in contributing, please contact either myself at, Te Hira Henderson at, or Gail Pope at

  • Pecha Kucha. Tuesday, 13 November 6pm in the MTG Century Theatre. Tickets $7 (cash only on the night).
  • Public Art Guided Tour with Art Curator, Jess Mio. Thursday, 15 November at 12pm, meet in the MTG front foyer. Free event, all welcome.
  • Kelvin Cruickshank Live (Soul Food). Friday, 16 November at 7pm in The MTG Century Theatre. Tickets available from Ticketek.

ProjectBanabaImage caption:
Project Banaba: exhibition by Katerina Teaiwa to be presented at MTG Hawke’s Bay following initial display at Carriageworks, Sydney

Jess Mio, Curator – Art, MTG
Published in the Hawke’s Bay Today, 10th November 2018


Bay freezing works’ story need local input

Malo lalei, talofa lava, tēnā koutou, and hello there,

This is my first missive written from the MTG, as I am the new Curator Taonga Māori for MTG Hawke’s Bay Tai Ahuriri. Otherwise known in the native as Kaitiaki Taonga Māori Ahuriri Ngāti Kahungunu. Nō reira tēnā ra koutou katoa.

My name is Te Hira Henderson, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Porou. Down the pā I’m called Nene or Pete. A characteristic trait of my bi-cultural personality, combining the cultural attitudes and customs of two nations.

My background leading me here is just as wide, complex, and diverse. Born into this world of light in 1960 Hastings I was raised as Ngāti Kahungunu Waipatu, a native. Educated at St Johns College in Latin, I became more Catholic than the Pope – and having a Red-Coat soldier as a great grandfather, I am more English than many of my Pākehā kinsfolk. In accordance with the Treaty of Waitangi I am entitled to equal rights and should be granted a British Passport. In hindsight, when I left Hawkes Bay at age 17, I think I needed counselling!

In 1978 my working career started at Avalon Television Studios as a trainee Television Assistant on various shows such as Ready to Roll, Radio With Pictures, Country Calendar, Telethon, and all the rest, progressing to Floor Manager. In 1985, I transferred to TVNZ Auckland to direct and produce the beginnings of Māori Language programmes for television, initially documenting the oral history of our Kuia and Koroua. This was an effort to drag us out of the time warp of my great grandfather’s time and to change the status quo of NZ from a monolingual English country. This revitalising and normalising of Te Reo I continue to the present day. In the last 2 years I also combined this with Funeral Directing – one can see the similarity.

After 41 years I have returned to my ancestral home and this year have been granted the fortunate opportunity as Kaitiaki Taonga Māori. It is absolutely fantastic. And so are the roads: I became too scared riding my bike in Auckland.

I am working on preparing an upcoming exhibition called Rongonui, translating as Famous.

In this case any object or person that is Rongonui is for this exhibition. For example, in the museum collection is a tiki, once owned by Kawiti (a Ngā Puhi chief) and given to Sir Apirana Ngata (a Ngāti Porou chief). As Kawiti and Apirana are both Rongonui, the gifting between them makes this tiki very Rongonui indeed.

Researching is not so much a job, it’s a passion. Luke (who locks up) has had to expel me from the building twice, and I’ve also had be to let back in after hours, but only once. The MTG staff have been most welcoming, helpful, and bi-culturally very embracing. A couple want to speak only Māori to me, and another wants to accompany me whenever I go to the marae.

I am also proposing a future exhibition on Freezing Works in Hawke’s Bay: which will be a big exhibition if the proposal is accepted. The first closure of a Freezing Works in Hawke’s Bay was Whakatū in 1986, with Tomoana following in 1994. The closing of the Whakatū Freezing Works shattered and dispersed a community which impacted through generations, causing premature death and severe physical and mental illnesses – changing families forever.

A study by Vera Keefe-Ormsby, titled ‘Tihei Mauriora: The Human Stories of Whakatū’, relays the sadness, the loss, compounding negatively on families and a community. It does tell positive stories – women holding families together, positive career changes, an increase in Māori education subject matter, and wonderful race relations – however it ultimately tells of the extinction of a way of life and a community.

As I am in the research/rangahau stage, I would appreciate hearing from anyone who worked at the Freezing Works. I am wanting to gather in stories and find related objects for potential display.

Well, heoi anō ra, a te wā anō,

Te Hira Henderson

  • Sustainable Backyards Plastic Summit. A discussion about plastic with artist George Nuku and guest speakers, followed by an outdoor activity. Today, Saturday 3 November 2-4pm in the MTG Century Theatre. Free event, all welcome
  • Curators Talk, join Social History Curator Gail Pope for a talk on the House of Webb Tuesday, 6 November at 11am, meet in the MTG front foyer. Free event.
  • House of Webb Twilight Art Class – Sketching. Explore various mediums used by the Webb family throughout their journeys, taught by experienced educators and professional artists in a unique setting. Tuesday, 6 November 5.30pm-7.30pm. $35 (Friends of MTG $30), materials provided. To register visit MTG reception, email – or call 06 835 7781.

Whakatu freezing worksImage: Tomoana freezing works, which closed in 1994

Te Hira Henderson, Curator Taonga Māori, MTG
Published in the Hawke’s Bay Today, 3 November 2018

Museum working on Marineland exhibition

Marineland_Seal_28 October 2018Marineland’s star performer: Flash the sea lion. This local celebrity poses in his finery during an International Girl Guides camp at Hastings, 8 January 1971.

As we near the end of 2018, the museum team is working on finalising our future schedule of exhibition offerings.

A major social history exhibition with a current working title of, ‘Ring of Fire: the history of Marineland’ is planned to open in mid-2020. ‘Ring of Fire’ will explore the turbulent history of Marineland, a sea mammal park set up in 1964 on Marine Parade, Napier.

In 1964, Napier City Council Mayor, Peter Tait, commissioned an Auckland architectural firm to design an aquarium and dolphin pool for the site. By late January 1965, when the venue was complete, Frank Robson, a commercial fisherman, caught Marineland’s first common dolphin, Daphne, from the moana off Hawke’s Bay. The facility opened officially two days later: Robson subsequently became Marineland’s first dolphin trainer and director.

To fill the new tank, regular dolphin drives were undertaken. This traumatic experience caused many of the captured dolphins to die prematurely. The highly intelligent and social creatures found it difficult to thrive in captivity, and this, along with internal Marineland politics, proved controversial throughout the institution’s life.

Marineland was set-up as a tourist attraction with a showbiz atmosphere, personalising sea mammals to please the audience. Flash the sea lion had a repertoire of tricks including balancing on one of his flippers with a ball on his nose; Bluey the penguin, after rigorous lessons, learnt how to precariously balance on a moving skateboard. The all-time favourites of the show were the dolphins, twisting and somersaulting in the air, solo or in unison, with some leaping as high as five meters.

Over the years, many famous people received VIP treatment and were entertained with a special show put on for their benefit. During the 1970 Royal Tour, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were treated to an exhibition of a dolphin sensationally jumping through a ring of fire. Scruffy the penguin, dressed in suitable operatic attire of top hat, black tie and tails endeavoured to impress Russian soprano, Zara Dolukhanova with his antics. During the infamous Springbok Tour of 1981, Springbok rugby players, surrounded by the media, were photographed feeding performing dolphins.

By 1991, Marineland had grown from an exposed aquatic centre with three small pools to a major attraction with covered stands, underwater viewing and professional staging. Sea lions, leopard fur seals, penguins and otters soon joined common dolphins, the major attraction in earlier days. The last dolphin capture permit was issued in 1987: it became evident that if Marineland was to survive it had to change focus from an entertainment centre depending on performing dolphins, into a marine zoo and seabird sanctuary with emphasis on education.

During its long life, Marineland became one of New Zealand’s most popular tourist attractions: at its height, there were reportedly 220,000 visitors a year. However, there had also always been ethical opposition to holding sea mammals in small tanks and training these socially and mentally complex mammals to perform sometimes-dangerous tricks.  As worldwide opposition grew towards using marine mammals for entertainment, the increasingly powerful and well-organised conservation organisations forced Marineland and the Aquarium Board to confront Marineland’s fate: with the death of Kelly, the last surviving dolphin in September 2008, the doors were firmly closed to the public.

If you have objects, photographs, films, or stories about Marineland that you would be interested in contributing to the exhibition, please contact myself, Gail Pope (Curator – Social History) on 027 622 3289 or

Next week, Te Hira Henderson (Curator – Māori) will continue the theme of future exhibition ideas, followed thereafter by Jess Mio (Curator – Art).

What’s On:

  • Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival – Duck, Death & the Tulip. Today, Saturday 27 October 11am in the MTG Century Theatre. For more information and tickets –
  • Our Time for Tea: The Much-Loved Cuppa exhibition closes this weekend, last day to view it is tomorrow (Sunday 28 October)
  • NZ Institute of Architects Incorp. Gold Medal Lecture with Andrew Patterson. Thursday 1 November 6-7pm in the MTG Century Theatre. Free lecture with light refreshments available after the talk.


Gail Pope, Curator – Social History, MTG
Published in the Hawke’s Bay Today, 27 October 2018

From the MTG: Remembering a great leader, Thérèse Angelo MNZM

Leadership comes in many forms – great people leaders, organisational leaders, inspiring leaders and so on. Leadership can also be shown by individuals at any level of an organisation, those who lead by example in how they treat others, maintain values, how they behave, how they follow, and how they help an organisation to achieve its goals, hold its head high and have a supportive culture.

Every now and then there’s also a leader who has a positive influence across an entire industry. Sadly, this week we lost one of those leaders, with Thérèse Angelo MNZM passing away on Monday. Thérèse was the Director of the Air Force Museum in Christchurch from 2002 – 2018. In her time in the role Thérèse not only led and directed the museum, she spread a value of support and nurture to other leaders and individuals in the industry throughout the country.

I first met Thérèse over ten years ago and she quickly became someone I looked to for advice. One of the many, many things I admired about Thérèse was that she didn’t expect anyone to be perfect, she saw people flaws and all but always, always believed in them. I last spoke to Thérèse about four weeks ago and will miss her terribly – she was a very special person and I feel lucky to have had the privilege of knowing her.

Thérèse went out of her way to encourage and support people, she never interfered but always provided valuable advice when requested and was there to lend a guiding and helping hand. She served as the Chair of the Museums Aotearoa Board for six years and was instrumental in helping museums and galleries affected by the Canterbury quake.

And the industry recognised and celebrated Thérèse’s work and spirit. She was awarded an Individual Achievement Award in 2010 acknowledging her work support and developing staff, in 2012 she received a special award for the support and leadership provided following the Canterbury quake. In 2015 Thérèse was made a Fellow of Museums Aotearoa, again acknowledging in particular the role she played in developing people within the sector.

I found a quote from Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield which I think fits Thérèse well. “Ultimately, leadership is not about glorious crowning acts. It’s about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high and the consequences really matter. It is about laying the groundwork for others’ success, and then standing back and letting them shine.” We all need great leaders and I will forever be thankful to Thérèse for being part of my life.

  • Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival – Finding My Way Home (Readers & Writers). Today, Saturday 20 October 10-11am in the MTG Century Theatre. For more information and tickets –
  • Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival – Between the Lines (Readers & Writers). Today, Saturday 20 October 12-1pm in the MTG Century Theatre. For more information and tickets –
  • Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival – The Shrieking Sisterhood (Readers & Writers). Today, Saturday 20 October 3-4pm in the MTG Century Theatre. For more information and tickets –
  • Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival – White Night. Tonight, Saturday 20 October 7–10pm. We’ll have the delicious Paella-A-Go-Go on our beautifully lit forecourt, Esk Valley wine, an interactive giant marble run in the front foyer and our curators will be on hand throughout the evening. Free entry
  • Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival – MAMiL (Remounted). Sunday 21 October 7.30-9pm & Monday 22 October 4-5.30pm in the MTG Century Theatre. For more information and tickets –
  • House of Webb Embroidery Tour. Tuesday 23 October 11am -12pm. Free public programme. This tour is currently full, to go on the waitlist please contact the MTG reception, email or phone 06 835 7781.
  • Havelock North High School Sleeping Giant Showcase. Wednesday 24 October, 7-10pm in the MTG Century Theatre. Original live performances by year 11-13 musicianship students. For more information and tickets please phone 06 877 8129
  • Jane Doe. Thursday 25 October, 7-8pm in the MTG Century Theatre. For more information and tickets –

Air Force Museum

Laura Vodanovich – Director, MTG

Published in the Hawke’s Bay Today, 20 October 2018

Museum holiday programme a big hit with the kids

The last week of the holidays have gone by in a whirl and it’s been fabulous to see the building full of children with their families. I love it when there are the sounds of people in the building talking, exploring and laughing – bringing the museum to life.

The success of our school holiday programmes and other activities has been very encouraging and we plan to add more programmes and extend their duration during school holidays in the New Year.

Children loved the Plastic Fantastic experience, with many coming early to go through Bottled Ocean 2118 beforehand to gain inspiration for their own creations.

Stop Motion Animation & Virtual Reality was a huge hit with children loving the experience of making their own digital creation. A programme aimed at an adult audience, Lace Tour, was greatly enjoyed by attendees with many, I’m sure, leaving inspired by the items they got to see up close.

It always surprises me how something as simple as a treasure hunt around MTG Hawke’s Bay captures young people but it certainly does.

We make sure this is updated regularly so that our repeat visitors get new experiences when they return.

This treasure hunt coupled with activities in many galleries, more video and digital technology, and dress up spots means children have a much more engaging experience when they visit the museum.

These activities are aimed at getting children looking closely and thinking about what’s on display while ensuring they have an enjoyable experience at the same time.

It’s not too late to bring in your children or mokopuna to experience the museum if you haven’t yet done so these holidays – or if you would like a second visit.

As we head towards Labour Weekend I’m aware that secondary students will be studying for exams and then the end of the year is almost upon us.

We still have plenty planned before the end of the year at MTG with three exhibition changes, programmed activities in the Century Theatre and elsewhere around the building, and maybe a couple of surprises as well.

The summer holidays are the busiest season for us with many cruise ships and visitors in town and, of course, the Art Deco Festival.

Even in the midst of all that, we always ensure there’s plenty for locals and especially children to see and do.

One of the exhibitions that will go on display before the end of the year, with a very local flavour, is The Architectural Legacy of J.A. Louis Hay – which will remain up for the 2019 Art Deco Festival.

This exhibition will feature original plans alongside digital copies of many more that can’t fit into the display.

In a region full of Louis Hay buildings it’s fitting that these plans are brought out for everyone to see. We hope many of you will come and enjoy that display over the summer.


Laura Vodanovich – Director, MTG

Published in the Hawke’s Bay Today, 13 October 2018

Festivals galore, and a beaut’s coming up

There are lots of fabulous festivals that happen in Hawke’s Bay. One of my very favourites is the New Zealand International Film Festival, where I just love to get my fill of a wide variety of film styles, subjects and messages. This year’s festival was the most successful to date and I can’t wait until next year already. But I love all the festivals in Hawke’s Bay and one of the largest festivals, the Napier Art Deco Festival, launched their programme for 2019 just last week, with tickets now on sale.

Before you buy your deco tickets however, don’t forget it’s only a week until the Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival kicks off. Starting on 15 October the festival launches with its first event in the Spiegeltent at Havelock North. As always there’s something in schedule for all tastes so, if you haven’t already, make sure you pick up a programme and get some tickets. This festival spreads across Napier, Hastings and Havelock North making it one of the most regional festivals on the calendar.

There are a number of events at MTG Hawke’s Bay in the visually and acoustically beautiful Century Theatre. Starting with ‘Emily Sun & Gamal Khamis’ performing a programme of Romantic and virtuosic music on violin and piano on 17 October at 7:30pm. Following this, there’s opera, comedy, inspiration, challenges and more on offer through the events at MTG. One of my favourite events is ‘White Night’, when the city of Napier comes alive for just one evening to celebrate arts and culture in a multitude of spaces throughout the CBD. Last year around 2,000 people came through the building and the place was humming. We’ll have plenty of staff on hand to guide you through the galleries and, with a bar in the main foyer and food on the forecourt, MTG is a great place to enjoy the atmosphere on the night. The library are joining in on the action and staying open late, with storytelling from 7-9pm and maybe a surprise activity as well.

Right now however it’s still school holidays and the museum has been buzzing with children and families throughout the building. People young and old are absolutely loving ‘Bottled Ocean 2118’ enjoying the experience of feeling immersed in the ocean, marvelling at the clever transformation of plastic bottles into an underwater scene and, hopefully, engaging in the conservation messages. There are many children and groups going through the museum partaking in the treasure hunt and enjoying the two dress up spots around the building. It’s not too late to book into our last holiday programmes – Stop Motion Animation & Virtual Reality or Plastic fantastic. Whatever you choose to do for the school holidays we hope you include a visit to the museum as part of your activities.

  • Chamber Music New Zealand presents Piers Lane, Hiroshi Ikematsu and NZSQ, Sunday 7 October, 5pm. Tickets are available from Ticketek
  • Stop Motion Animation & Virtual Reality, holiday programme. Tuesday, October 9, 10am-12pm. $20 – please register to secure a place.
  • Plastic fantastic, holiday programme upcyling bottles into artwork. Thursday, October 11, 10am-12pm. $10 – please register to secure a place.
  • Lace Tour, join our collections team to explore lace in the collection. Thursday, October 11, 11am. Please register to secure your place and receive venue location details. Spaces are limited. Free event
  • To register for any event please contact MTG Hawke’s Bay phone: 835 7781 email: info@com or visit MTG reception.

photorapher David Frost

Laura Vodanovich – Director, MTG

Published in the Hawke’s Bay Today, 6 October 2018

MTG: Hooray, hooray, it’s a Bay school holiday

Here we are in another school holidays already.As always, we’ve a range of exhibitions and activities to interest children at the museum.
Something that’s been a huge hit with our younger viewers is the Bottled Ocean 2118 exhibition by artist George Nuku. A number of school groups had the opportunity to participate in workshops with George, creating artwork from plastic bottles that then went on display in the exhibition. Many of these students returned on weekends with their parents and whānau to proudly show them the final product.Your children can experience this creative challenge with a school holiday workshop led by our talented educators, where participants turn bottles into their choice of a sea creature, pencil jar of bird feeder. We’ve had lots of great feedback from adults about the Bottled Ocean 2118 exhibition as well – so it’s certainly something all generations are enjoying.

Targeted for children, our ever popular activity trail has had a revamp for the holidays to include new galleries and displays, and the Drop-In-Zone will be operating again throughout the holidays. The Drop-In-Zone, for those who haven’t used it before, is a space where children and adults can do craft activities, read books and it’s also a place to relax and take a breather. We have our art display space back in the front foyer so artworks made in the Drop-In-Zone can be proudly put on display to share with other visitors.

These holidays we’re also offering four school holiday programmes. These fun two-hour activities let children explore their creativity with a range of options – painting kōwhaiwhai patterns, beginner printmaking, stop motion animation and virtual reality, or plastic fantastic (upcycling bottles into artwork). For the plastic fantastic programme we ask you to bring two clean plastic bottles, for all the other programmes materials are provided.

See a glimpse of Victorian life by visiting the House of Webb exhibition, which shares the stories of the Webb family’s journey from Stockingford, England, to Ormondville, Hawke’s Bay. Learn about the challenges of sea travel at that time, discover the rat in our animation of a painting, watch writing appear on the walls and see the way children amused themselves during that era.

Explore your theatrical and dance side in the Nyree Dawn Porter exhibition, with ballet costumes to try on, with a ballet barre and mirror to strike a pose. Visitors love this experience and it’s been wonderful seeing the range of people, regardless of age and gender, enjoying this fun activity.

If you or your child enjoy dress up and taking a photo don’t miss the black and white-themed Art Deco dress up spot downstairs by the 1931 Hawke’s Bay Earthquake gallery. With a variety of accessories, a backdrop of the Marine Parade and a period-style bench, you can certainly get into the spirit and take a photo memory home with you.

• Painting kōwhaiwhai patterns, holiday programme. Tuesday, October 2, 10am-12pm. $15 – please register to secure a place.

• Curators Talk, join Social History Curator Gail Pope for a talk on the House of Webb exhibition. Tuesday, October 2, 11am, meet in front foyer. Free event.

• Penmanship workshop, look at the styles of Spencer and Palmer and learn the basics of British Roundhand, taught during the 1800s. Tuesday, October 2 , 5.30pm-7.30pm. $30 (Friends of MG $25), materials provided.

• Printmaking for beginners, holiday programme. Thursday, October 4, 10am-12pm. $15 – please register to secure a place.

CMNZ Concert Trout, Piers Lane & Hiroshi Ikematsu, with members of the NZSQ programmed alongside Schubert and Rossini. CMNZ commissioned Ross Harris to write a meditation on the trout fishing near Turangi. Century Theatre, Sunday, October 7, 5pm. Tickets available from Ticketek.

• Stop Motion Animation & Virtual Reality, holiday programme. Tuesday, October 9, 10am-12pm. $20 – please register to secure a place.

• Plastic fantastic, holiday programme upcyling bottles into artwork. Thursday, October 11, 10am-12pm. $10 – please register to secure a place.

• Lace Tour, join our collections team to explore lace in the collection. Thursday, October 11, 11am. Please register to secure your place and receive venue location details. Spaces are limited. Free event

• To register for any event please contact MTG Hawke’s Bay phone: 835 7781 email: or visit MTG reception.


Laura Vodanovich – Director, MTG

Published in the Hawke’s Bay Today, 29 September 2018