Great things are happening at the MTG Hawke's Bay store.

Having recently appointed Lisa Varga to the role of customer services team leader there's been a dramatic change in our shop.

Lisa was previously in charge of retail at Auckland Museum and in the short time she's been with us Lisa has brought her wealth of retail knowledge to bear.

I've certainly bought a significant portion of my Christmas shopping from the museum this year including several very reasonably priced books, beautiful handcrafted wooden platters, kitsets, compacts and so on.

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There's a huge range of books available covering a wide range of topics; architecture, ecology, design, New Zealand history and more. One of the books I've bought for my summer reading is Speeches That Shaped New Zealand 1814-1956 by Hugh Templeton, Ian Templeton and Josh Easby – amazing value for only $19.99.

Our expanded range of te reo books for children is a great way to encourage the little ones started on their te reo journey.

We've several new jewellery lines available from local artists and makers including Twigg, Addie Wainohu and Clarence Collier.

There's a beautiful selection of handcrafted wooden platters in different woods and sizes from MZ Design – perfect for the person who has everything and, as these come in flat boxes easy for packing in a suitcase or sending overseas, great as a gift for international family and friends.

You'll find many items perfect for stocking stuffers from beautiful compacts, notebooks and pads, brooches, socks and scarves, to beautiful cloths for glass lens.

Also going in the stockings at my house are some fun kitsets of New Zealand birds, tuatara and tiki. For those of you on a tight budget there are some incredible bargains to be found in the shop including $10 T-shirts.

Our products generally align in some way with our core business – reflecting the experiences you have in the galleries, referencing the collections, or aligned with arts and culture.

Some of our new products include Gordon Walters and Dick Frizzel prints and branded products which link to artists held in our collection. We have the Louis Hay Architecture book which sits nicely alongside our latest exhibition The Architectural Legacy of J.A. Louis Hay.

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Being a museum and art gallery it's important we maintain a level of quality to our shop offering in keeping with our high quality brand.

Trying to get the balance right in retail can be tricky. Catering for international tourists means having light, easy to pack items which reflect their experiences of the country.

New Zealand travellers want items from the region and something different from what they can get at home, while for our locals we need to provide high quality items for gifts or personal purchase.

Lisa's done a fabulous job in maintaining quality, while supporting local makers and providing reasonably priced product as well – there really is something for everyone in our newly-stocked shop.

What's on
*Public Art Guided Tour with art curator Jess Mio. Thursday, December 20 at midday, meet in the MTG front foyer. Free event, all welcome.

*Late night shopping at the Museum. Enjoying a glass of Esk Valley wine with some nibbles and a 10 per cent discount while you shop for those last-minute presents. Thursday, December 20, 5.30pm-7pm

*Late night at Napier Library to stock up on your summer reading. Thursday, December 20, 5.30pm-7pm. All welcome!

*Te Tiriti Ora – our living treaty display opens to the public on Saturday, December 22.

*Laura Vodanovich is the director of the Museum Theatre Gallery (MTG) Hawke's Bay.