Art Deco Weekend visitors set for big buzz

By Corey Charlton

NEW FUNDING: Art Deco Trust manager Sally Jackson. PHOTO/FILE
NEW FUNDING: Art Deco Trust manager Sally Jackson. PHOTO/FILE

This week it was announced Hawke's Bay's celebrated Art Deco Weekend would receive a 2-year financial boost from central Government of $530,000.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce announced on Wednesday the investment in the 2014 and 2015 events would be sourced from the Major Events Development Fund.
In light of this, the subject of this week's Five Questions is Art Deco Trust manager
Sally Jackson. Hawke's Bay Today asked her where the money would go and what we can expect from next year's event.

1 What do you personally think is the appeal of the Art Deco Weekend for visitors to our region?

The Tremains Art Deco Weekend is an annual celebration of history, culture, music and fashion. Without a doubt it is absolutely unique to Napier and Hawke's Bay, showcasing our heritage and the story of our region. With over 200 events included in the programme lineup, it draws crowds of around 35,000+ over the four-day period to Napier and Hawke's Bay. It is an opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in the 1930s atmosphere through fashion, music and dance extravaganzas.

The Tremains Art Deco Weekend event is celebrating its 26th anniversary in February 2014, demonstrating the sustainable history of the event, and has enjoyed significant growth over its lifetime. The ability to lose yourself in the atmosphere created by all event elements is the key, this is where the addiction to deco kicks in and is what keeps people coming back for more each year.

2 What does the central government funding mean for the trust and what will it be used for?

This level of investment into the Tremains Art Deco Weekend is going to benefit the entire Hawke's Bay region.

The overriding objective is to increase the number of international visitors into New Zealand for the event and increase the economic benefit of the Tremains Art Deco Weekend to Napier and greater Hawke's Bay.

3 What are some of the challenges in putting together an event of its scale and reputation each year?

The first ever Art Deco Weekend included about 10 events and 100 people so there has been huge growth over the years and the expectation is that the trust delivers a world-class event within a world-class destination.

The biggest challenge the Art Deco Trust faces today in putting together this event is simply resources. The Art Deco Trust is a not-for-profit charity and as is the case with many not-for-profits staffing resources can be short. With the Tremains Art Deco Weekend there is only one person who pulls the event together.

They are assisted by volunteer helpers, but it is a massive job. This lack of resources creates risks and opens up opportunity for error.

The events team at the Art Deco Trust has been looking at this challenge over the past 12 months and now has the assistance of paid support and a professional ticketing agency to ensure we are improving delivery to our customers and at the same time reducing risk.

Tickets for the 2014 event went on sale to Art Deco Trust members on Wednesday and sales are proving to be strong and the additional resources of the professional ticketing agency have already shown their value. Other challenges the trust faces include the weather.

In 2006 the steam train was cancelled due to the Manawatu floods blocking the train tracks and in 2013 the steam train had to be swapped for a diesel engine as the summer was so hot, the steam train was considered a fire risk.

4 What are the long-term goals for the Art Deco Weekend and where do you see it in 10 years' time?

To experience growth from international visitors, to increase the level of quality and professionalism across the event, and to become a major attraction within New Zealand.

5 What can locals and those attending expect from next year's event?

Highlights of the weekend include beach banquets, vintage car parade, depression dinners, Gatsby picnic and numerous aerial displays. Of course there are over 200 events to choose from including all the free events held all weekend. The atmosphere in the city will be buzzing as costumes, cars and outrageous characters mix and mingle. This coming event we will see stunning performances from the famous Tina Cross, Max Cryer, and there is even a performance of cello music played by Katherine Mansfield.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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