Intricate panels and a few special and hidden features fill the renovated Hawke's Bay Airport terminal.
Hawke's Bay Airport's multi-million-dollar redeveloped terminal has opened to passengers this morning after being closed for construction since 2018.
The new $25 million airport terminal designed by Designgroup Stapleton Elliott architect Chris Ainsworth features about 150-160 digitally designed and carved ceiling and wall panels designed by local artist Jacob Scott.
The panels tell the stories of the region, its history, the land, mana whenua, the region's seven hapū, culture and flight.
The airport's 29 ambassadors will also learn the stories of the panels so they can tell them to visitors.
Hawke's Bay Airport chief executive Stuart Ainslie says the new terminal is "like a gallery" with lots of things for adults and kids to spot as they move through.
"I think it's one of those spaces where the regulars, the more they look, the more they're going to see."
A favourite spot of the old terminal was the upstairs mezzanine.
Ainslie said about 30 per cent of the airport's passengers use the Air NZ lounge so they wanted to create a space that those who don't could also enjoy.
The new terminal has a bigger upstairs area with large windows looking out over the runway and lounge-style seating to be installed.
Another feature they wanted to continue is displaying the region's wine.
Hawke's Bay flyers will remember a glass wine bottle feature in the floor of the previous terminal and the new terminal will feature a wine wall near the bar and café area, which is being designed and will be quite unique, Ainslie said.
Bay Espresso have come on board, also running Roosters Bar at the heart of the building.
One of the original propellers from the first commercial aircraft that came into the airport will be mounted on a wall near the bathrooms and digital screens, which will display flight schedules and advertise local businesses.
It is said a cat named Skezyx was a mascot for East Coast Airways, one of the first commercial flights coming to the region and at least once slipped aboard a flight to Napier, so his image will appear in some "surprising places" over the next few weeks for children to find.
His is one of many aviation stories told throughout the building with other things related to the aviation history expected to be going in over the next few months.
Kids will also enjoy a play area and a locally restored 1928 AA Ford pickup can be admired by children and adults alike.
Long gone are the days of the tractor bringing passengers bags, with the conveyor belt being open since the arrivals area opened.
Behind the scenes the conveyor belt has the ability to run any security measures that may be required at regional airports in the future.
There is also a new regional Air New Zealand lounge upstairs in the terminal.
The building was completed for approximately $25m and about 68 per cent of the businesses that worked on the project are local, Ainslie said.
The new terminal was blessed on Monday morning before interior construction continued to welcome the first passengers for the 6.15am flight on Thursday morning.
A formal opening will be held October 7 after some landscaping and work on the façade is finished, but the airport team wanted to get passengers into the new terminal as soon as it was operational.
As for what is next for the airport, Ainslie said one of the airport's strategic goals is to attract more services to the region and the terminal "is definitely designed with this in mind".