#GigatownNapier needs some giddy-up!
Inner-city Napier sadly lacks activity and public events. There is a citywide sale in the slowest, coldest time of the retail year, one day of the year when you’re supposed to be randomly kind to one-another (just one?) and a prolonged picnic on Napier’s Marine Parade, which draws people to the CBD’s periphery, away from the retailers and taking custom away from its own cafes.
Cumulatively it amounts to just over a dozen days of activities, covering less than 5% of the year.
The CBD marketing association ladies will claim that it costs a lot (of council / retailer funding) to run their organizations and provide the same handful of events each year. But you’ve got to admit, the region’s central city businesses don’t appear to be getting much bang for their buck and our CBD needs both bang and buck urgently!
I get sick of cost being an excuse for inactivity. What about passion, creativity and imagination? Just use Youtube as an example. A couple of people with an idea and a camera can create something for nothing that millions of people around the world can view, enjoy or be inspired by.
Last year I took to Twitter with some ideas for getting action back into Napier’s CBD. We need preferably free (or very cheap) events that both enliven Napier’s city centre and encourage more spending. I tried to think outside the square as much as possible and involve local organizations, schools, groups etc. or develop ideas that involve partnerships with local or national companies giving them event naming rights in return for their logistical or financial input and the subsequent advertising.
The companies I mention below are mentioned merely a guideline – they are ones that I follow or vice versa on Twitter. As is the order of events – I started from a Monday and went from there.
Week 1: Your Brand Here!
#1: More FM Monday: Live broadcasts, sausage sizzles, fun & games with the local radio station!
#2: Hawke’s Bay Today Tuesday: Special feature section on Central Napier: History, Then and Now pictorials, stories etc. in the paper with perhaps a pull-out coupon selection for CDB businesses combined with displays throughout town, public interactivity with editors, reporters etc.!
#3: Whittaker’s Wide & Walk to Work Wednesday: Leave the car at home, ride or walk to work and get rewarded with CHOCOLATE!
#4: TV Thursday: New Zealand TV networks love doing live crosses, so the networks can broadcast their breakfast shows from Napier! Imagine TV One’s Breakfast broadcast from cafés and shops throughout Emerson Street, or TV3’s Firstline being presented from the balcony of ‘The Dome’ with the sun rising over Hawke Bay and Marine Parade behind it!
#5: Thank Grabaseat it’s Friday: Air NZ (who, let’s face it haven’t been the most generous to Hawke’s Bay in terms of flight prices) discounts their airfares to our region; Napier puts on a city-wide party to celebrate, attract and welcome the visitors!
#6: Suzuki Swift Saturday: BMW is launching its latest X5 in Napier next week, which is pretty awesome. So why not other marques? The Suzuki Swift has become the small car of choice in NZ for quick, stylie, around-town commuting. So why not launch their next generation car in a stylie city centre like Napier?
#7: Subway Soundshell Sessions: Free / gold coin donation to see live music at the Soundshell!
Week 2: Community Involvement!
#8: Musical Monday: Buskers & school bands / orchestras play throughout Napier’s CBD! I have had a concept in my head for some time of a combined Napier high schools orchestra / band / choir / variety show at the Municipal Theatre that this could tie in with.
#9: It Takes Two to Tango Tuesday: Cafes & shops open onto the street to music & dancing lessons / demonstrations!
#10: Awareness Wednesday: Napier’s community groups, clubs, etc. stage an outdoor expo along the paved areas of Emerson and Market Street. Raising awareness of what can be done in and for this beautiful city!
#11: Theatrical Thursday: Schools and local theatre groups take to the streets to perform!
#12: Fashion Friday: Napier’s clothing stores host a combined fashion parade and use Emerson Street as the catwalk! EIT fashion / theatre / media students can assist in the production, aiding their studies!
#13: School’s Out Saturday: Activities specials & events for the young ones throughout town!
#14: Sport Hawke’s Bay Sundays: Plenty of green grass along Marine Parade and empty spaces not being used, so let’s use it for interactive sport demonstrations!
#15: Make Some News Monday: Hawke’s Bay Today, the Dominion Post etc. open up to Napier people for them to submit their CBD stories & pics. (Also gives any thin editions a bit more bulk!)
#16: Twitter Tuesday: Encourage the public to utilise the CBD’s free Wifi coverage by sending Tweets, pictures & video broadcasting Napier to the Twitterverse! Get #Napier trending internationally on Twitter!
#17: Wifi Wednesday: Encourage the city’s people and businesses out onto the streets with the CBD’s free Wifi network!
#18: Youtube Thursday: Expose the world-wide interweb to virtual guided tours of Napier people’s favourite places and things? Create some interest and make people want to visit and check them out for themselves!
#19: Facebook Friday: Encourage the public to utilise the CBD’s free Wifi coverage by sending pictures & video broadcasting Napier onto Facebook! Get #Napier trending internationally!
#20: Snapshot Saturday: Post pics of central Napier onto sites such as Flickr, Instagram and Pintrest. Prizes for the most “liked” or creative photos!
#21: Open-air Cinema Sunday: The Soundshell doubles as an outdoor cinema for the evening!
#22: Makeover Monday: Central Napier’s proliferation of women’s clothing stores, hairdressers, beauty therapists and masseuses take the fore to make Napier people look and feel wonderful!
#23: Tax-free Tuesday: A city-wide 15% off Sale!
#24: Midweek Market Wednesday: Napier’s Farmers’ Market comes to town a few days early in the evening, while Inner-city shops have stalls outside during the day.
#25: Themed Thursday: City-wide storefront displays and promotions based around an event or a local / visiting national sporting team etc. Public votes on best display, specials on anything black and white (for a Magpies theme)!
#26: Alfresco Feast Friday: For an evening Emerson Street becomes Napier’s biggest outdoor restaurant, as the CBD’s eateries put on an outdoor serving to put the “Great Long Lunch” to shame!
#27: Special Someone Saturday: Treat your special someone to breakfast, shopping & more! Spend $20 or more in a store city-wide to be in the draw to win a night at The Dome / County Hotel etc.!
#28: Slow, Summery Sunday: Take a stroll through town, have a shop, have some lunch at a café and then wander up to the parade for a leisurely walk, or relaxed concert at the Soundshell!
“If All Else Fails” Week
#29: Music Video Monday: Why has Napier never featured in a music video? Let’s make one!
If No bands are forthcoming, then it could become “Manufactured Pop Monday”, evolving into a reality TV series featuring a search for local talent. How could NZ on Air refuse to fund it?
#30: Tug of War Tuesday: With so much rhetoric and spin over the amalgamation debate, let’s settle it the old fashioned way – a NCC vs. HDC / HBRC / WDC / CHBC / A Better Hawke’s Bay tug of war down Emerson Street. Winner takes all (or status quo)!
#31: “Wipe-out” Wednesday: Create a fun, crazy obstacle course in Emerson Street and invite people, individuals, companies and schools to take it on!
There are my ideas. What do you think?
• A month FULL of activities?
• 31 weeks with one event per week?
• Or can central Napier stay alive with the weak pulse and mere 5% activity it currently exhibits.
Incidentally, the earliest chance of doing all the events, in order, would be September or December 2014, whose 31 days start on a Monday.
But why wait? I love my city and want to see it busy and prosperous.
Let’s get these ideas into fruition NOW!