The Government has pledged $4 million towards the cost of earthquake strengthening the Hawke's Bay Opera House.
Prime Minister Bill English made the announcement at the venue this afternoon, a major contribution to the $11 million estimated cost of the project.
The funding will add to the $500,000 already raised, and came about following a change to the Regional Museums Policy for Capital Construction, said Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule.
In May last year, the museums policy was replaced with a Regional Culture and Heritage Fund that extended the funding eligibility criteria to include cultural institutions, such as performing arts venues, opera houses, art galleries, museums and whare taonga.
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Mr Yule welcomed the announcement and said a lot of work had gone into lobbying both former Prime Minister John Key, and Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry for their support of the Opera House project.
The building was closed in 2014 after engineers found the 12-metre side walls of the theatre could collapse on an audience during an earthquake.
Subsequent community consultation about the future of the building was undertaken and in May 2016 more than 3000 submissions were received - the most the Hastings District Council had ever received on any one particular issue using the submission format.
The submissions overwhelmingly supported restoring the building and in Feburary this year Gemco Construction was selected to complete the construction, which was expected to start in August and take 18 months.
In the meantime, a working group had been set up to consider the future of the adjacent Municipal Building with the aim of this, the plaza and the Opera House becoming a community, cultural and entertainment hub in Hastings inner city.