The A&P Show

20 October, Showgrounds Hastings Our first A & P Show. The expectation was high. We arrived at the gates around 10am and strolled past the Hawke’s Bay Machinery Club’s glorious steam engines. Each machine, rich with history, was being carefully maintained by an oil-stained boilersuit-clad club member. Children were standing in transfixed anticipation waiting for…

White Night

30 September 2017, Napier Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival We headed over to Napier’s art quarter excited by the prospect of night-time art viewing. What success! The streets from Byron, down Hastings, Tennyson and Herschell streets were buzzing with people. In true festive style, Sam Deller, Boon Factory’s light show was a central gathering place. Herschell…

Tape Art Labyrinth

If you go down to Havelock North today you’re in for a big surprise. The Village Green has been a hive of preparation these last few days as the Arts Festival prepares to launch. The tents are erected, the lights strung, flags flutter in the spring breeze, pendulous yet airy David Trubridge creations gently spiral…

Hastings Blossom Parade

16 September, Hastings City The tradition of a public procession to mark the turn of the year from Winter to Spring is an old one. From Brazil’s Carnaval, to Ireland’s St Patricks Day; Japan’s Sakura Matsori to India’s Holi to Nigeria’s Ikeji, the urge to take to the streets and delight in the annual miracle…

Weber Bros Circus

6-24 September, Hastings Showground It is fitting that with the festival season nearly upon us the circus is in town. (The temptation to veer into a political metaphor here is acute I assure you). The Big Top stands front and centre at the Showgrounds in Hastings. Last week there was one similar at the Domain…

Death Cafe in the Bay

21 June 2017, Wardini Bookshop, Havelock North If you haven’t heard of a Death Cafe you could be mistaken in thinking it’s some kind of morbidly themed eatery, but even though there was an abundance of tea and cake, last night’s event was not that sort of cafe and there wasn’t a coffin-shaped panini in…

70th Annual Bird Show and Poultry&Pigeon Show

3 June, Army Drill Hall, Napier and A&P Showgrounds, Hastings You can buy a Roller Cock for $25 if you know where to go. Army Drill Hall in Napier; wet weekend. You know it’s a canary, right? There’s hundreds of them in this place. Lined up, behind bars, standing at attention. The ‘best-in-show’s gets rosettes…

Dead Hill

28 April 2017, Napier prison The Napier Prison “trail of horror” as I had dubbed it in my calendar takes place every month in the 1860s complex that once housed Hawke’s Bay’s most wanted and most unhinged. The location itself being relatively unsettling, this night promised, in my mind, a plethora of murderous tales, the…

First Annual Chilli Cook-Off

23 April 2017, Bareknuckle BBQ There’s something delicious about watching people in pain. We feel for them but that intense show of emotion – tears streaming, sweat sprouting, the shakes, the retching – is so raw and our empathy so heightened that we feel intensely human and part of something. Either that or we’re just…