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Thriving cinema an asset for Hawera community

Thriving cinema an asset for Hawera community
Hawera Cinema offers customers the opportunity to enjoy locally produced cuisine, supplied by local food outlets and eaten in the restaurant space

Kirsty Bourke is Manager at Hawera Cinema a two-screen complex nestled in the heart of the Taranaki settlement at 110 Princes Street.She has worked at the cinema for 20 years and says she has thoroughly enjoyed every one of them.

“I really enjoy my job and it has been great to see how the theatre has evolved through the years, initially as a privately owned business to being governed by Hawera Cinema 2 Trust established on 1 April 2007.”

When the original owners wanted to sell the cinema council stepped in and purchased the building. Kirsty says it’s a strong business structure to be employed and report to a trust which includes one member of Council.

It also reinforces the fact that Hawera Cinema 2 is very much seen as a valuable community asset, something Kirsty is proud of.While the Cinema under private ownership had operated at a profit the then owners had not reinvested in the building to keep it modern and in keeping with changes in viewer expectations.

South Taranaki District Council fully consulted with the community and overwhelmingly the response was support for Council providing on-going financial support. Since this time the Trust has in-vested over $750,000 to upgrade facilities. Funding sources include sponsorship, internal fundraising and cash fl ow along with Council grants.

Hawera Cinema 2 is open 345 days a year and employs nine staff, a mixture of permanent, part-time and casual.Kirsty says that being recognised by the Taranaki Chamber of Commercial Business Excellence Awards in the form of winning the Service category was a wonderful experience for the valuable feed-back received through the three interview process.

“I put my hand up to enter and initially didn’t know how involved the process would be but I prepared well with detailed information to give the interviewing panel. In all, there were three interviews.

“The most valuable outcome was the feedback and great ideas as to how to evolve the business further so it was very empowering.”These included introducing a loyalty programme, structural improvements to enhance the theatre experience and staffing incentives.

Currently the two Cinemas hold 171 and 133 viewers respectively and each offers three seating options, from luxury lounge seats, standard seating and a row of bean chairs along the front. On aver-age 45,000 tickets are sold each year.

Since winning the Service award the Trust has met to discuss several future developments that Kirsty is excited about.“We’re formulating a strategic vision for Hawera Cinema and will begin to ground a detailed step by step development plan for me to implement.”

Hawera Cinema offers customers the opportunity to enjoy locally produced cuisine, supplied by local food outlets and eaten in the restaurant space. “Our Thursday evening platter nights are really popular and its great to support local businesses.”Looking ahead there are exciting times of development ahead too.

Building on the cateringin service there will soon by ‘Fish ‘n Chip’ Sundays. Plans have also been drawn up by an architect for consenting purposes to allow construction of a luxury boutique small cinema theatre and Kirsty expects this project will get underway in 2021.

Adding a third cinema with a very special look and feel will give customers another option. In total the luxury theatre will seat 20 viewers along with space for two wheelchairs.“We’re in a very positive situation. Our community values us and we feel very much a part of it.”

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