• Art Deco Trust disestablishes Festival Director role as part of new model

Art Deco Trust disestablishes Festival Director role as part of new model

The Art Deco Trust has disestablished the role of Festival Director and will deliver fewer ticketed events as part of a new model aimed at ensuring the longevity of the annual festival. 

Heritage Manager Jeremy Smith says that the past two years have been challenging for the Trust and festival.

“Closed borders together with cancelled or partly cancelled festivals due to Covid-19, have heavily impacted our operations.”

While they have been "fortunate" to have received Government support through the Strategic Tourism Asset Protection Program fund, Trust Chair Barbara Arnott says that has come to an end and they need to do "everything we can to remain sustainable".

“To continue without change is irresponsible – not only from a governance and financial perspective but also from a heritage perspective. The Trust is all about preserving Napier’s Art Deco Heritage, and having a sustainable festival means that we can continue our important work.

“Covid-19 has forever changed New Zealand’s events sector, and the Trust is responding appropriately to its changed circumstances, with a new model." 

Smith says that while the borders are now open, it is going to take considerable time for our tourism sector to recover.

"The experience of the past two years means we need to change the way we deliver the festival to de-risk and make our festival and other Trust activities sustainable over the long term.

“To be clear, The Art Deco Festival is not at risk; we are changing our model so that our Festival is suited for a post-Covid environment. We are 100 per cent committed to designing and helping to deliver an outstanding annual festival.

As a result of the new model, the Trust has pared back the size of its in-house events team, and long-standing Festival Director, Greg Howie’s role has been dis-established," Smith says. 

“We acknowledge and thank Greg for his work with the Trust and contribution to our festival over many years. He leaves with our good wishes for the future.”

The Art Deco Trust will continue to promote and co-ordinate the festival. 

Smith says as a result of delivering fewer ticketed events, there will be more opportunities for the community and hospitality organisations to become involved.

“This approach de-risks the Trust by becoming less focussed on delivering specific events, and more focussed on promoting the festival overall.

“Everything that people love about our festivals (Summer and Winter Deco) will remain; free public events in our wonderful public spaces, opportunities for connection and of course, a celebration of Napier and Hawke’s Bay’s Art Deco Heritage."