Join us on the journey
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.

The Hawke’s Bay Opera House strengthening and refurbishment project

Construction progress to February 2019

Opera House

  • Shear walls to grid H complete.
  • Structural steel installation to first floor female toilet complete.
  • Plaster repairs 75% complete to north wall.
  • Wall linings and finishings 95% complete to ground floor foyer.
  • Framing to stage diaphragm.
  • South tower shear walls underway.
  • Remedial works and re-spouting street canopy underway.
  • First floor linings underway in foyer.

Municipal Building

  • The breakout of the old foundations in preparation of the foundations for the new shear walls (internally and externally) is 80% complete.
  • The glazed Heretaunga Street façade has been removed to allow for the internal break out of the old foundations.
  • The re-instatement of all services in the lane-way between the Municipal Building and Opera House Theatre is 90% complete.


  • Progress is being made on the primary structure of the new building with the back columns now in place.
  • The foundations of the front columns have been poured and the columns are scheduled to arrive on site in early March.
  • The ground is being prepared for the foundations of the remainder of the building footprint.

Construction progress fourth quarter 2018

  • Shear walls in the plant room on the first floor are now complete.
  • The installation of structural steel in the female toilet underway.
  • Ground floor Foyer wall panels and trims complete.
  • Painting of the ceiling and Foyer walls complete.
  • Ply wood linings to ground floor toilets are being installed.
  • Stage floor has been removed as preparation for the installation of the stage diaphragm.
  • Last of the three external trusses on the northern wall has been installed.
  • Installation of the reinforcing steel at 2nd floor level underway.
  • Plaster repairs on the northern wall underway.
  • Fire sprinklers have been installed in the Cushing foyer.

Construction progress third quarter 2018





  • The shear walls on the first floor are now complete.
  • Progress is being made with installing the reinforcing steel to the second-floor walls including the capping beam on the northern wall.
  • Plastering of the exterior wall has been completed.
  • Painting of the upper levels of the exterior of the Opera House is complete.
  • The strengthening work to the Fly tower is complete.
  • Interior framing of the foyer on the ground floor is complete.
  • Interior framing of the first floor foyer is in progress, and services are currently being installed.
  • The installation of the high-level exterior wall cladding is compete.
  • All crane work for the roof has now been completed.
  • Re-roofing and the installation of the sprinkler system in the Cushing Foyer is underway.
  • High level horizontal truss has been removed and new truss to be installed in October.

Construction progress second quarter 2018





  • The installation of the reinforcing steel is 100% complete to the ground floor walls and all the skin wall on the ground floor have been poured.
  • The installation of the reinforcing steel on the first floor is underway and the first skin wall has been poured.
  • The erection of the new roof structure has been completed with the new roof cladding largely completed.
  • The ventilation house framing has been completed.
  • The new beam in the foyer has been installed and the old ‘skinny columns in the foyer have been removed.
  • The re-build of the Auditorium under floor ducting is underway.
  • the installation of the services for the two new bars in the Cushing Foyer (level 1 and 2) is underway.
  • Flat roof framing and substrate are completed.
  • Electrical re-wire is underway. 

Because most of the construction work is occurring within the building itself, we have installed time-lapse cameras to capture what is happening inside. These images will be presented as short-videos and uploaded on a monthly basis below.

June 2018 – Construction of the wall on the side of the new Opera House Theatre roof

June 2018 – Installation of the steel members for the new Opera House Theatre roof

June 2018 – Shear walls being constructed within the Opera House Theatre

May 2018 – Steel lifted into Hawke’s Bay Opera House Roof

March 2018 – Dismantling of the Opera House Plaza

Click here to view our time-lapse videos from 2017.

A video, shot in June 2017, capturing our iconic Hawke’s Bay Opera House Precinct as it was ahead of strengthening work beginning can be viewed below.

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.