Storage costing thousands a month
It has been four years since Napier’s new museum was found to be much too small and there is still no permanent home on the horizon for the region’s collection of artefacts worth tens of millions of dollars.
Napier ratepayers will continue footing a bill of $12,500 a month to store the collection at a temporary site for the foreseeable future.
The $18 million MTG HB building, opened in September 2013, was built to house the $44m collection of about 100,000 objects owned by the Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust.
The building, owned by Napier City Council, replaced an old building on the same site. When it was finished, it was found capable of holding just 40 per cent of the collection because air conditioning ducts and other pipes were taking up more room than expected in its basement storage area.
The rest of the collection has been stored in the old Rothmans building in Ahuriri, at a cost to Napier ratepayers of about $12,500 a month.
This week council’s director of community services Antoinette Campbell said, ‘‘further options have been explored, including multiple sites in Onekawa and one in Whakatu.’’ However, nothing had been confirmed as suitable.
‘‘It is taking time because council doesn’t have many options at this stage that are affordable and able to be achieved within available budgets,’’ Campbell said.
She would not say if one of the sites was the council depot, which chief executive Wayne Jack had mooted as a possibility.
Campbell said the collection could stay in the Rothmans building as long as required, and the buildings owners had no plans involving the space they occupy.
Last October the council said it was 6-9 months from making a decision on where the collection would be housed.
Following the discovery last month that the council’s main building was earthquake-prone and unlikely to be strengthened, it now made sense to ‘‘investigate MTG’s storage alongside the wider council and library archive storage options,’’ Campbell said.
One option was moving council staff into the city library and building a new library elsewhere, possibly near Clive Square. The council had earlier been consider- ing moving the archive, which accounts for about 12.5 per cent of the collection, into the city library.
‘‘Council is presently investigating options for a new library and it cannot be ruled out that the MTG archives will not be co-located with the library archives in a new facility,’’ Campbell said.
It cost $178,000 to store the collection in 2015/16 and $176,000 in 2016/17. The council had budgeted $151,000 for another year’s lease and there was $496,000 allocated for off-site storage.
Once a site is found it will take about 18 months to complete any work on the site and relocate the collection.