MTG museum visitor numbers for the final few months of last year were significantly down on the same period in 2013 but Napier City Council says it is strongly committed to reversing the fall.

Figures released by the council show 18,601 people visited the museum between its opening in late September and the end of 2013.

But for the same four-month period last year, visitor numbers dropped by more than half to 8216.

The decline in patronage happened despite the council dropping the price of adult admission to the museum from $15 to $10 in the middle of last year.


Napier Mayor Bill Dalton said last week that ensuring the $18 million MTG facility was run in a "more efficient manner" was one of his top priorities over the next six months.

"It's an absolute key priority but certainly what we don't want to do is to get ahead of ourselves," he said yesterday.

"While we've got some ideas, it would be wrong to put those ideas in place when we're only a matter of days away from having a new director in place."

Laura Vodanovich, an experienced and qualified museum manager who has most recently been running Gisborne's Tairawhiti Museum, starts as MTG director on February 1. She replaces Douglas Lloyd Jenkins who left the MTG at the end of last year.

Mr Dalton said Ms Vodanovich would step into the job with ideas for improving the MTG and her strategies would be incorporated with the council's own plans for boosting visitor numbers.

"We are incredibly proud of the MTG in terms of what we've achieved with the building but we are fully aware that, operationally, more attention is required and we are giving it all the attention we can," he said.

"We've got to look at all possibilities for getting more people in the door."

Napier City Council chief executive Wayne Jack said yesterday the council had every confidence Ms Vodanovich was "the right person to drive the museum forward into its next stage".


He said total visitation to the wider MTG facility, including the complex's theatre, had been 143,047 last year - above the 120,000 target the council had set.

"In terms of the overall use of the facility, and the public programmes, that's going well and shows that it's a great facility," Mr Jack said.

"It's just getting people through the door into the museum because at the moment there's a perception around the MTG but we'll overcome that."