Following a US$11.3 million makeover after closing in 2014, Toitoi - Hawke's Bay Arts & Events Centre is now open for bookings. Credit: Toitoi - Hawke's Bay Arts & Events Centre
HASTINGS - After US$11.3 million and nearly six years of earthquake strengthening, Toitoi - Hawke's Bay Arts & Events Centre has reopened, with a special Grand Opening production happening this weekend from 7-8 March.
While the initial plan was to demolish the 105-year-old earthquake-vulnerable building, thousands of public submissions eventually overturned the decision, leading to a closure in 2014 for restoration works instead.
These included restoring the Centre's art nouveau interior, extending its original foundations, while the 12 metre-high brick masonry walls are now all encased by steel and concrete shear walls.
"What we heard from everyone is that the community needed a place to perform to dance to sing to enjoy performance to just have a great time and bring community together and we needed to get on and strengthen it," said Hastings mayor, Ms Sandra Hazlehurst.
Now called Toitoi after a rebranding exercise, the multi-purpose centre is famously known for its iconic Opera House, which was built in 1915 and considered one of Australasia's top lyric theatres. Taking up to 150 people banquet style, 200 cocktail style and 105 classroom style, delegates can use also use the venue as a plenary session or for a small banquet on stage.
Larger groups can consider the newly renovated Functions on Hastings indoors area capable of hosting expos and events.
By 2022, the second stage of the revamp which focuses on the neighbouring heritage Municipal Building, will be complete.