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Locals flock to hear about new exhibition

Media Release
3 June 2014
Locals flock to hear about MTG Hawke’s Bay’s new exhibition Dr Felkin and the Forerunners

For the third time in as many months visitor attendance has out stripped expectations, with a record number of people attending a free floortalk at MTG last Saturday.

165 Hawke’s Bay history enthusiasts met at MTG to hear social history curator Georgina White reveal the amazing, true story of Dr Felkin and the Forerunners of Havelock North.

The popularity Saturday’s talk saw the Dr Felkin and the Forerunners floortalk moved into the MTG Century Theatre.

Opportunities for people to hear exhibition curators and artists are proving very popular at MTG. The floortalk for the exhibition Mudlark, ceramics by Bronwynne Cornish attracted an audience of 84, and on International Museum Day, Sunday 18 May, 1252 people took advantage of gold-coin entry to MTG and participated in a range of activities, tours, workshops and floortalks.

Hawke’s Bay’s new regional history exhibition Dr Felkin and the Forerunners: visions of utopia, 1900 - 1930tells the fascinating story of the Havelock North Forerunners and their enigmatic leader, Dr Robert Felkin. The Forerunners were a collective of writers, artists and philosophers who banded together to create a utopian community in Havelock North in the early 1900s. Dr Robert Felkin was an English doctor, missionary, personal physician to the King of Uganda and an international occultist who moved to New Zealand to lead them. Pieced together from brand new primary research, this exhibition reveals their extraordinary story.

“This exhibition is the result of many conversations with people in Havelock North and beyond who have so generously shared their stories and objects with me – it’s been the result of wonderful community engagement” says curator Georgina White.

The exhibition has already received both popular and critical acclaim, historian Michael Fowler says “The activities of these like-minded Havelock North people formed a unique part of Hawke’s Bay history and has been deserving of the proper treatment. Social History Curator Georgina White … has finally achieved this in an outstanding and recommended exhibition.”

MTG Director Douglas Lloyd Jenkins says “We were very aware when we developed the new MTG exhibition programme to focus on telling Hawke’s Bay stories. With projects like The Forerunners, it’s all about Hawke’s Bay people having the opportunity to discover where they live. This is why we dedicated the Bestall Gallery to telling the region’s stories and there are many more to tell.”

MTG’s next exhibition in the Bestall Gallery will highlight the experience and contribution of Hawke’s Bay men and women in the First World War and will open in November 2014.

"MTG’s exhibition programme, whatever the subject always connects to Hawke’s Bay, whether it’s an important national story – such as the 1931 Hawke’s Bay Earthquake, or the story of Hawke’s Bay potter Elizabeth Matheson in A Glorious Uncertainty – Elizabeth Matheson’s life in craft ." said Douglas.

MTG Hawke’s Bay’s next free floortalk will be held on Saturday 21 June at 11am, designer Katy Wallace will talk about her exhibition, Transmogrifier Machine, on at MTG until 24 August 2014.

Dr Felkin and the Forerunners will be on until 2 November 2014. MTG’s new publication, which accompanies the exhibition and focuses on the life and ideas of Dr Felkin has been selling fast, a limited number of copies are still available.

Ends

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