The Hawke’s Bay Opera House strengthening and refurbishment project

The Hawke’s Bay Opera House was built in 1915 in the style of Spanish Mission. Both it and the neighbouring Municipal Building (built around the same time) carry Heritage One status, with the Opera House considered one of the most impressive examples of its style in the Southern Hemisphere.

In 2014, the Hawke’s Bay Opera House and neighbouring Municipal Building were closed after engineers found they were not up to the required percentage of the New Building Standard. Inside the Opera House, investigations found that the 12-metre side walls of the Theatre were at risk of collapse during a sizeable earthquake.

In March 2016 after receiving more than 3000 responses from the public, a Hastings District Council record for this type of consultation, 80 percent asked that the Hawke’s Bay Opera House be strengthened and reopened. In August 2017, this strengthening work began and is expected to take 20 to 24 months.

Check out the videos below to learn more about the redevelopment progress to date.

Because most of the construction work is occurring within the building itself, we have also installed time-lapse cameras to capture what is happening inside. These short videos can be viewed here.

The Plaza
Work to transform the Plaza into an all-weather space suitable to all kinds of events started in February 2018, with the removal of the etched glass panels along the front of the building. Each of these panels, sponsored by supporters of the project, have been carefully stored away for reinstatement. Next the columns within the Plaza were removed along with the retractable roof. Following on from this initial work, the recessed floor was filled with shingle in order to provide a platform for a large crane to lift steel into the neighbouring Opera House Theatre roof.

Work on the construction of the new fully enclosed Plaza building is set to start before Christmas 2018 with the final design now completed and all consents close to being granted.  As requested by the community during the consultation processes in 2016, the Plaza will get its own new roof and upgrades to flooring, acoustics and lighting.

Hastings Municipal Buildings
Since the public consultation in 2016, Council staff have continued to have conversations with members of the art and cultural sector about the heritage-listed Municipal Building. The community-led Municipal Building Working Group was appointed in March 2017 to facilitate community consultation and reported back to Council in early September with a broad concept for the building. In February 2018 these initial concept designs were presented to the Sub Committee and were met with overwhelming support. Click here to view the draft Municipal Building concepts.