Heating up in Hawke’s Bay

More than 5000 tickets for Art Deco festival sold already

Tom Kitchin of RNZ






One of New Zealand’s most iconic festivals is on track for its busiest year yet, with more than 5000 tickets sold and organisers hoping they won’t have to cancel for a second year running. The Art Deco Festival in Napier is scheduled to run between February 16 and 20. Last year, it was cancelled for the first time ever, just a few days before it was due to start, because of a Covid-19 outbreak in Auckland causing alert level uncertainty. Some businesses were angry it was cancelled with hardly any notice. Art Deco Trust festival director Greg Howie said the ticket sales were ahead of where they had been for all previous years. More than 5000 tickets had been sold, with 65 per cent of those from out of town, he said. “I think people are really looking forward to being able to go to events again, given there’s been quite a number of restrictions on.” He was hoping for a better year in 2022. “We were obviously devastated having to cancel the festival last year [2021], which was, as I’m sure you’ll understand, totally out of our control. Thankfully a lot of people still came into the region and were able to celebrate in their own way.” His team was planning ahead to “do absolutely everything in our power to push ahead with the festival”. “As we were preparing the festival programme with the traffic light system in mind, we’re just making sure that all of all our event producers and partners, sponsors, funders and participants are aware of what we’re doing and how we will action the festival given movement into different level restrictions. “Currently, everything can operate in orange and green and then if we move into red, the capacity numbers will kick into play with the 100-person limit.” An economic impact study done in 2019 suggested the gross benefit of the Art Deco Festival for Hawke’s Bay was in excess of $7 million. Hawke’s Bay Tourism chief executive Hamish Saxton said there were many events scheduled in Hawke’s Bay over summer, including the postponed F.A.W. C. (Food and Wine Classic) at the end of January, Cider Festival, possible international cricket fixtures, Horse of the Year and music festivals Outfield and Nest Fest. “The traffic light system has actually allowed for event organisers to plan for many of these events to go ahead. So certainly, the majority of events, particularly ticketed events, are able to work within the traffic light system as we currently stand,” Saxton said. “Some events that were largely walkup or non ticketed . . . such as new year’s festivals, Christmas festivals, previously [the] blossom parade have had to be cancelled or postponed. “A lot of people are going to be coming to Hawke’s Bay and travelling around New Zealand first and foremost to catch up with friends and family. We’ve got the most beautiful beaches and wonderful hinterland, from a soak in the Morere Hot Pools [north of Wairoa], to some of the beaches south in Porangahau.”