Spiegeltent nearly complete

The Harcourts Hawke's Bay Arts Festival centrepiece is nearing the finish line with the weather playing its part yesterday.

Besides a couple of quick showers Pacific Crystal Palace Spiegeltent site manager Geoff Goss said all had gone to plan and they were on schedule to finish by the end of the week.

"All is going well, the steel is down and we have put some of the flooring down in the centre of the spiegeltent."

Mr Goss said today would be their biggest day and after that they wouldn't be so reliant on the weather.

"The structure will be completed so we will be working inside and it will closed off so weather won't be an issue."

People will be able to see the full structure of the spiegeltent by the end of today on the Havelock North Village Green. However, it wouldn't look "sexy". Tomorrow they will be dressing it up in the reds, orange, velvets and silks.

Mr Goss said on Friday the structure would be handed over to sound and lighting to play with. "The site will take a new lease on life, it's very exciting."

Built in 2001, the New Zealand-built tent was based on the traditional 19th century European designs with a distinct Kiwi flavour.

While the outside of the structure looks relatively plain and simple, with colonial style weatherboards and corrugated iron cladding, the inside is decorated in the lavish style spiegeltents are famous for.

Details include paua shell inlay on the wooden pillars, New Zealand ferns on the ornate mirrors and harakeke designs on the stained glass windows. The spiegeltent is one of eight venues staging performances for this year's arts festival.

Other venues include the MTG Century Theatre, Napier Cathedral and The Blyth Performing Arts Centre at Iona College. A variety of food vendors will serve up a rotating array of global cuisine from caravans throughout the 13-day event and a large selection of wines will be available from Ngatarawa.

The hospitality area will be open at least one hour before every show throughout the event and festival director Pitsch Leiser said members of the public were welcome to enjoy the festival atmosphere, regardless of whether they had tickets to a show.

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