When it came to getting a firm grip on how to approach the great Art Deco Weekend, principal sponsor Simon Tremain decided to make a call on the man who has been a key component of the event for more than a decade.

He approached Neville Smith, whose links to the big weekend go back to his days at Brebner Print, and more recently through his extensive links with the navy, air force and army in his role as the region's naval liaison officer.

It was Mr Smith's reputation as a tireless supporter of the Art Deco weekends which prompted Mr Tremain, whose real estate company has stepped in to become the principal sponsor, to call and ask if he would become the company's Art Deco ambassador for the big weekend.

Mr Smith said he had no hesitation given Tremains' input into an event he said had become internationally recognised and a huge showcase for the region.


"It's important to our community that this event continues to grow," he said, adding it would be a busy time for him but he was happy to oblige.

"A lot of what I'll be doing is about the lead-in to the weekend. The people they will be involved with and how to make the most of it all."

He said it was also good for the event that Gemco Construction had got aboard as an associate sponsor, along with the company he once managed, Brebner Print.

Mr Tremain said the real estate firm his late father Kel established in 1970 had been involved in many community events in the Bay.

"But never on this scale," he said.

"This event is truly one of a kind. Not because it attracts so many people and not because of the historic events of the period. It is because of our community and our region, which gets right behind it. We are all proud participants."

Mr Smith the weekend would have a strong armed services flavour as it would be 100 years since the outbreak of World War I. It will also be the 50th anniversary of the opening of Hawke's Bay Airport and there were likely to be air displays on the weekend programme.

Visits by the Australian, British and Canadian defence attaches had already been confirmed.