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Opera House reopening to revitalise Hawke’s Bay cultural community

Opera House reopening to revitalise Hawke’s Bay cultural community
March 2, 2020

Toitoi - Hawke's Bay Arts and Events Centre, has reopened over the weekend, with Hastings’ opera house opening its doors to the public after nearly six years of earthquake strengthening.

Costing NZ$17.8 million, the project has brought the landmark 105-year-old building up to the standard of current building codes with the venue having been closed in 2014 due to its earthquake vulnerability.

While demolition was initially proposed, thousands of public submissions saw the Spanish Mission-style venue, acknowledged as one of the best lyric theatres in Australasia, restored.

Work saw all of the venue’s 12 metre hight load-bearing brick masonry walls encased by steel and concrete shear walls, the original foundations extended and its art nouveau interior carefully renovated.

Commenting on the project, Hastings Mayor, Sandra Hazlehurst stated "what we heard from everyone is that the community needed a place to perform to dance to sing to enjoy performance to just have a great time and bring community together and we needed to get on and strengthen it.”

The weekend’s reopening began a month-long celebration of New Zealand theatre and events with a public Dawn Blessing at 5.30am on Saturday, followed by an Opening Night Showcase event and a Community Festival on Sunday.

Mayor Hazlehurst hopes the multi-purpose centre will revitalise the areas, advising “we've seen new business come to town they are bringing hospitality, food and all sorts of young people to town so its transformational for Hastings.”

Rebranded as Toitoi, Venue Manager Megan Peacock-Coyle hopes that the facility is recognised as  genuine multi-use facility, adding “we strongly believe the arts should be accessible to everybody, so we're creating an inclusive space and programme. When the people of Heretaunga come to Toitoi we want them to see their faces in this place - to see that everyone in Hastings belongs at Toitoi. And Toitoi belongs to them all."

For more information go to

Images: Toitoi - Hawke's Bay Arts and Events Centre is seen as one of the best lyric theatres in Australasia.

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27th February 2020 - New name and brand for Hawke’s Bay Opera House arts and culture complex

22nd January 2020 - Equity praises New Zealand Prime Minister’s commitment to the arts

4th November 2019 - New Zealand Government provides $12 million for new theatre in Waikato

1st November 2019 - New Zealand begins a national conversation about arts and creativity

21st January 2019 - Creative New Zealand report says arts vital to the future of tourism

29th March 2018 - Increase in professional theatre, music and dance in New Zealand communities

7th July 2016 - Report confirms seismic issues with Hamilton’s Founders Theatre

2nd June 2016 - $11.6 million in new funding for leading New Zealand arts organisations

30th November 2015 - Hastings District Council keen to reopen Hawke’s Bay Opera House

27th November 2015 - Report reveals unexpected seismic strength of Napier’s Art Deco heritage

7th April 2014 - Hawke’s Bay hosts and wins at 2014 NZ Museum Awards

5th March 2014 - Earthquake stability fears force closure of Hawke’s Bay Opera House

24th September 2013 - MTG Hawke’s Bay reopens its doors after a three year makeover

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