The recent visit to MTG Hawke's Bay by Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, highlights the importance of arts and culture facilities such as ours.
We were delighted to host the Prime Minister and give her a guided tour of your regional museum and art gallery.
Ardern seemed genuinely interested in the style and mode of our galleries and asked pertinent and insightful questions about what she saw on display.
On her visit Ardern also announced further support for the arts and creative sector, acknowledging the important role facilities like MTG play in the wellbeing of community and the economy.
Museums and galleries offer unique experiences to their communities, where people can see their stories reflected, a place where everyone from all walks of life are equally welcome; they are a "third place" outside of work and home, where you can pause, reflect, learn, engage with others and feel connected to your environment and place in the world.
As Ardern noted, this industry contributes to financial wellbeing, generating $11 billion of GDP and providing employment for around 90,000 people.
At MTG we're fortunate to have the support of Napier City Council and Hastings District Council, alongside the Hawke's Bay Museums Trust Board, The MTG Foundation and Te Rōpū Kaiawhina Taonga, to ensure the museum continues to care for your community taonga, treasures, heritage and memories.
Ardern is also the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage and, in choosing to hold this portfolio, speaks again to the importance of this sector in our society.
Having a visit from the Prime Minister was exciting and gave a huge morale boost to the team, who were delighted to show her the exhibitions have on display, including those that are closed to the general public because of Covid-19 concerns.
As luck would have it, the team were in the middle of installing our latest exhibition, Waka Kōrero Māori, which brings out a range of animals from the collection displayed with their te reo Māori names.
This exhibition is bright and vibrant and will appeal to children and adults alike. A touch screen in the foyer provides more information about each item on display and also audio of the te reo Māori word spoken out loud – so a great chance to come in and learn a few more words and practice your pronunciation. A take-away origami game allows visitors to continue to engage from home.
Over Queen's Birthday weekend we had a huge influx of visitors and it was delightful to have the place full again.
In fact we were so flooded with people it was a bit of a challenge to maintain social distancing – what a great problem to have.
So thank you to New Zealanders and our Hawke's Bay community who came out and enjoyed the museum and your collection. We hope to see you back again soon.
Laura Vodanovich is MTG Director