Opera House birthday
Magnificent art celebrating the 100th birthday of the Hawke’s Bay Opera House is about to be installed on the fence
outside the Grand Old Lady.
A family-focused celebration with an early 1900s theme and the unveiling of the art will be held on Sunday October 18,
the exact day of the first performance 100 years earlier.
Held in the Opera House Plaza and the street from 11am to 2pm, it will feature children’s games from yesteryear, vintage
cars, black and white movies, music by The Dixielanders, and a special opera house birthday cake.
The road will be closed for the celebrations which will also allow people to take a close look at the eleven panels
spanning the 103 metres of fence.
Works by 10 artists’ each represent a decade of the 100 years, while the 11th artist’s works covers special highlights.
The opera house has been at the heart of Hawke’s Bay’s community since it opened in October 1915.
Over the following 99 years it has hosted an amazingly diverse range of artists, productions and events, from boxing
matches and opera, to musicals and galas.
The opera house and Municipal Buildings were closed last year when it was found they were earthquake-prone. A project to
investigate options for the future is underway; however in the meantime the building turns 100 years old this month.
Deputy Mayor Cynthia Bowers said given the place of the Opera House in the district’s history, some way needed to be
found to mark the centenary.
“The opera house is treasured by many in our community and this is a fabulous way to celebrate its birthday.
“Despite the current uncertainty around its future direction, 100 years of great performances and memories can’t be
allowed to slip by unmarked.”
The artists, all nationally notable and with strong connections to Hawke’s Bay, are: Martin Popplewell, Freeman White,
John Eaden, Kate MacKenzie, Mauricio Benega, Cinzah, Fane Flaws, Jo Blogg, Timo Rannali, Desna Whaanga-Schollum and
“They are fantastic art works that bring alive some of the special performances and activities that have taken place at
the Opera House between 1915 and 2015,” said Ms Bowers.
The work on the fence will be digital copies of the originals.