Newspaper Article 2015 – Our museum owes so much to Robert’s passion

Our museum owes so much to Robert’s passion


LIKE many, I was shocked and saddened to hear about the passing of Robert McGregor.  Although I have only been here for a short time, I enjoyed my meetings with Robert and found him to be a passionate, fun and engaging individual, full of ideas and optimism.

He was, of course, a well-known  figure in his various roles with the Art Deco Trust, and his previous position  as director (1981-88) of the then Hawke’s Bay Art Gallery and Museum  (HBAG&M).

During his time at HBAG&M, Robert was a dedicated and future-focused director who made significant  changes, including a redevelopment  of the basement and storage area, developing the first collections policy and significantly growing the collection. Unsurprisingly, Robert first identified collecting art deco as an important area of development for the museum.

It was also during Robert’s time at the museum that David Butts and Sandy Adsett collaborated on the nationally recognised Nga Tukemata exhibition.

Robert maintained an ongoing interest in, and support for, the  museum and we had met just last week to discuss a number of matters, including the history of the organisation, the collections, new displays and the theatre. I’m pleased I was able to tell Robert about upcoming films, including the New Zealand International Film Festival, and am sorry that he will not be there as part of the audience.

It seems somewhat inappropriate and unimportant at moments like this to be talking about business as usual. However, I’m also well aware from community feedback that many did not know about the previous film festival and other cinema screenings so I want to ensure that you know about upcoming films.

Next weekend, on Sunday, August 23, we are screening The Pirates of Penzance at 1.30pm. This English National Opera performance, directed specifically for screen, promises a fun afternoon for all. From September 3-20 we will be showcasing 29 films from the International Film Festival and are delighted to count most of the festival highlights in our programme,  including Amy, The Wolfpack, The Lobster and Mia Madre. Festival programmes have been widely distributed and are also available at our front desk.  Screening times will be  advertised in the paper from next weekend and are also  listed on our website.

Tickets for The Pirates of Penzance and the film festival are available now at the museum. I hope to see you at some of the screenings.

Laura Vodanovich is director of Napier’s Museum Theatre Gallery.

Photo caption – DEDICATED: Robert McGregor, working with the museum’s collection.

Original digital file



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Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand (CC BY-NC 3.0 NZ)

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Date published

August 2015

Format of the original

Newspaper article


Hawke's Bay Today


Published with permission of Hawke's Bay Today


  • Robert McGregor
  • Laura Vodanovich
  • David Butts
  • Sandy Adsett

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