Maddy on the Marae – by Maddy Jones

In March 2014 I spent my first weekend on a marae. It was awesome. The hospitality that my group and I received when we stayed on the Hongoeka marae near Plimmerton was completely overwhelming. So when I was offered the chance to stay on the Pukemokimoki marae during the MA14 conference in Napier I jumped at the chance. This was slightly more scary because I didn’t know anyone else staying there, but I needn’t have worried. When I arrived the group staying was mostly assembled, sharing a meal which they quickly made a space for me at. It was a lovely evening and a lovely way to kick off conference.Pukemokimoki Marae

The rest of the week flew by and I loved coming back to the marae at the end of the day. The wonderful Rhonda Paku was our designated driver who made sure we were on time in the mornings and made it back safely in the evening. Being in an unknown city it was great to have someone who knew where we were going and being with other people made the whole experience more of an adventure than a trial. During the conference networking times I had a built-in bunch of friendly faces as I became acquainted with the others staying on the marae, and always had people to share a meal with, while at the venue and back at the marae.

Some of theMaddy Marae best discussions I took part in happened in the van, in our sleeping bags or brushing teeth in the morning. The informal atmosphere and the fact that you’ve seen everyone in their pyjamas made it feel like I really got to know people, even though it was only for a few days. The warm and social atmosphere made conference more fun, and made going home in the evening feel like going home, rather than going back to a cold hotel room. One of my favourite moments during the week in Napier happened on the marae when someone got out their guitar and a huge number of waiata were sung to try and pick some for the ceremonies of the following day. Singing and listening along to a group of wonderful singers was a treat, I learnt new waiata, and it all added to the friendly cosy atmosphere of the stay.

Staying on the marae was heaps of fun, I learned a lot and it saved me some pennies. So for all of you looking for accommodation options for MA15 all you need is a sleeping bag and some ear plugs, and I’ll see you there!

Maddy Jones

 

News Update 12 February 2014

Kia ora

Waitangi Day was celebrated nationally last Friday, and I was lucky to be at Waitangi for the occasion, for my first time. There was a happy balance of reflection, commemoration, celebration, peaceful protest, pomp and ceremony.

The estimated 30,000 people there were a wonderful mix of politicians, Maori, Pakeha, new New Zealanders and international tourists, all mingling in a friendly family atmosphere. The new museum at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds is under construction. CE Greg McManus says it is on track to open for Waitangi Day 2016 – i hope to be there again.

Valentines’ Day this Saturday has inspired some innovative museum programming. Carter Observatory is offering ‘Romance under the Stars‘ with bubbles and a live love-themed astronomy show; and the NZ Maritime Museum in Auckland has ‘love on the sea‘ combining wine, cheese and sailing. These sound like fun – please send us photos of your events and activities to share, or post on our Facebook page.

Also this Saturday, the new Ashburton Art Gallery and Heritage Centre will be opened by the Hon Christopher Finlayson. Although no longer Minister for Arts, Culture & Heritage, FInlayson held that portfolio during the construction and fundraising for the centre, and approved $1.08m towards the centre. This came under criterion 6 of the Regional Museums Policy, on the grounds of regional impact and to partially offset the increased costs due to changes in design and building standards post-earthquakes. The project has been very controversial locally, and difficult in terms of timing, budget and completion. The cost blowout triggered a council-commissioned review which we noted earlier this year (Morrison Low report). With the opening imminent, the museum has moved in, but the plant has still not been successfully commissioned and the gallery will not be installing any art. Warren Feeney explored the issues in a recent opinion piece in the Christchurch Press, offering some much-needed perspective to the ongoing issues. The saga continued with Ashburton Mayor Angus McKay issuing a press release and being interviewed by Lyn Freeman on Standing Room Only. He and several others on various sides of the debate are in print again this week (no link as the Ashburton Guardian is not freely available online). We hope that after the building is open, and all the snags sorted out, the community will be well-served by a fully functioning art gallery, museum and archive centre.

Another chapter in the story about criticism of the sale of moa bones of dubious origin, TradeMe has pulled the online auction “while Heritage New Zealand works out where the fossils were collected”, reports the Taranaki Daily News.

Looking ahead for MA, we’re working with our hosts in Dunedin on getting everything ready for the MA15 conference, 6-8 May. Registrations are rolling in, taking advantage of the earlybird rate, open until 6 March. Please book your travel and accommodation asap as it is a graduation weekend in Dunedin and hotels get booked out. We’ve also received our first entry for the ServiceIQ 2015 NZ Museum Awards - entries are due on 19 March.

And watch out for news today from Otago Museum. I received an invitation to “attend an announcement regarding the proposed Planetarium and Discovery World Redevelopment” … watch this space!

Nā Phillipa māua ko Talei

News Update 27 January 2015

Kia ora

Tomorrow the MA15 planning team is meeting in Dunedin. We’ll be going through programme details, fitting as many of the huge number of proposals in as possible, as well as all the other logistics to make MA15 our best and most inspiring conference ever. Don’t forget these key details:

  • early bird registration closes 6 March
  • 3 or more people attending from the same (member) institution get a 10% discount
  • applications for a limited number of 1/2 price registrations close 20 February
  • it will be graduation weekend in Dunedin, so book travel and accommodation ASAP!

Ian Griffin, Director of Otago Museum, says, “By the way, in case you haven’t yet booked for the MA conference in Dunedin, I hope the attached picture I managed to snap of last night’s aurora australis we saw down here encourages you to book post haste!”

Today is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet troops. Wellingtonian Vera Egermayer, who was then aged 4 and living in a children’s home in Prague, tells her story,
and the day is being commemorated by the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand.

Whanganui Regional Museum has been making a stand on the possible illegal sale of moa bones.  The war of words has made it into the newspapers, see Moa bone sale dispute and South Taranaki iwi and archaeologists are also wading into the argument. WRM’s Mike Dickison has been drawing both support and criticism for publicising the issue, as reported – and commented on – in the Wanganui Chronicle.

As we near the end of January we’re still enjoying a wonderful summer. Looking ahead, we’ll be working on actions outlined in our Strategic Plan. We’ll be asking you for your ideas about mentoring and professional development very soon, the Board is meeting in Wellington on 23 February, and looking forward to the ServiceIQ 2015 NZ Museum Awards – don’t miss the closing date, 19 March, and the celebration with guest judge and MC Te Radar on 7 May in Dunedin.

Nā Phillipa māua ko Talei

Working with Volunteers by Anika Klee

Everyone knows that volunteers can often be the unsung heroes of the museum world, helping out with a range of tasks and activities.

I have recently been involved in recruiting volunteers to work within the Human History department at Auckland War Memorial Museum, sorting CVs, shortlisting and interviewing the prospective volunteers in a casual style. Being a volunteer at Auckland Museum is a sought after position and being responsible for giving that opportunity to someone was a difficult but rewarding process. It gave me some insight into how difficult recruiting for a paying role must be and how attitude can be more important than experience.

We recruited two volunteers to help the Collection Managers and me with various tasks. Both of the successful applicants are still at university studying for their undergraduate degrees.  I wish I had known to volunteer when I was at that stage of university – not that I knew what I wanted to do with my life at that point! This meant that neither had any hands-on museum experience. Everything they do is new, and is helping them to develop skills that are valuable to potential future careers in the museum sector; if that is the path they wish to take.

World War I uniform photography

My own experience of volunteering in museums was very different to what I am involved with now; I was often given a project and left to work on it by myself, not having direct contact with a mentor or manager. Only occasionally would I work with others, and in these instances they had the same burgeoning skill set as me.

At Auckland Museum however, I work very closely with my volunteer as we photograph World War I uniforms for a half day once a week – often the uniforms are difficult to handle by just one person, so having my volunteer is invaluable.

I have been able to teach her to use our studio photography set up, the ins and outs of our cameras, given insight into a few of the interesting Auckland Museum numbering systems and how to attach the images to Vernon (our Collection Management System). Imparting experience to someone does remind me how much I now know, and how I should remember to value my own capabilities.

As an emerging museum professional, working with volunteers is a great way to show leadership and develop the ability to teach others. Through this experience I have learnt many things, but perhaps the most surprising, was that in increasing someone else’s professional capacity, you often can increase your own.

Anika Klee
Collection Information Technician – Human History,
Auckland War Memorial Museum

News Update 11 November 2014

Kia ora

This week’s museum news is topped by the announcement of the appointment of former TVNZ boss Rick Ellis as CE of Te Papa. The official press release says.”Mr Ellis is renowned for helping organisations take dramatic steps forward”. Ellis has been emphasising the digital future of museums, with TVNZ quoting Ellis promising a new era, “moving away from the passive physical engagement of the past and looking to technology innovation here out of New Zealand, as well as what others are doing and learn from that and hopefully bring something quite magic alive”, and Te Papa chairman Evan Williams saying Ellis will bring a “shift in the culture of the organisation”. The public reaction so far has been mixed, with the Dominion Post saying “his performance will be watched with a cool and sceptical eye”. He has already been interviewed by Radio NZ and NewstalkZB. Mr Ellis officially begins on 24 November.
Also announced this week is the appointment of Laura Vodanovich, currently director at Tairawhiti Museum, as Director of MTG Hawke’s Bay. After a local political and media storm, and controversial public review of the new facility, Douglas Lloyd Jenkins is leaving MTG in December to pursue other projects. Laura will take over on 1 February 2015. Hawke’s Bay Today reports that the Napier City Council is likely to delay a decision on a new storage facility until after Laura takes up her appointment.

We saw Laura and other colleagues from Tairawhiti Museum, as well as Kawerau, Opotiki, Tauranga and Rotorua, at our regional meeting in Whakatāne on 31 October. We had a very warm welcome into the Mataatua whare at Te Manuka Tutahi, then went on to explore the problematic museum and archive store, followed by lunch at Te Kōputu a te Whanga a Toi, the new Whakatāne Library and Exhibition Centre.

Last week we were in Christchurch where over 30 museum folk gathered at Canterbury University. We met and mingled in the Logie Collection room, and had a fascinating series of pitopito kōrero covering topics from research and teaching with university collections, digital archives, access to collections and new opportunities post-earthquakes, to the expanding museum scene in China. We were particularly interested in the prototype display case that the Logie Collection have commissioned, with built-in lift to enable the heavy toughened glass top to be raised and the contents accessed by one person.

Our regional meetings continue next week at Otago Museum on Tuesday 18 November, with the last for this year at Te Uru (former Lopdell House Gallery) on Friday 28 November. All welcome! Please RSVP as spaces are limited.

The 2014 Museum Sector Survey questionnaire is being distributed this week.  We encourage all museums and galleries to complete the survey, which provides essential data for our advocacy for the sector. This year we have revised and expanded the survey – although it looks more daunting, it includes more explanatory notes, and we have coordinator available to help. The extra detail will provide everyone with more robust tools to inform planning and local and national advocacy.  Both a summary and detailed report will be available in the new year.

The NDF (National Digital Forum) conference is rapidly approaching. MA is pleased to be sponsoring two delegates to attend, selected from a small but interested group of deserving applicants. We will be hearing from Maddy Jones and Jamie Bell when they share their experiences through our blog after the conference. We also encourage all museums and galleries to take part in the NDF Digitisation Survey, the results of which will be reported at the conference.

We look forward to seeing you at meetings or at NDF, and always welcome your telephone calls (04 499 1313) and emails. Feedback and ideas from members are vital to ensure we’re doing the best we can to support museums and galleries in Aotearoa.

Mauriora,Nā Phillipa māua ko Talei

News Update 28 October, 2014

Kia ora

Last week Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand launched the last of its themed section, completing the 12-year build programme. Launching Creative and Intellectual Life, editor Jock Phillips was joined by Sam Neill and Sir Geoffrey Palmer, with performances by poet Hinemoana Baker and a troupe from the NZ School of Dance.  There was also support from our new Minister, Hon Maggie Barry. The celebration was well-deserved by all the many contributors – both MCH staff and the experts, writers and researchers who have made Te Ara such a rich and compelling resource. Congratulations also to Jock for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award he received last week. Jock will now retire to write, and the team at MCH will continue the evolution of Te Ara. The launch was covered by Radio NZ’s Morning Report.

Waikato Forum

We are just about to open a new iteration of the MA sector survey, and want every museum and gallery in the country to take part. The last survey was in 2012, and our revised questionnaire will build on that information. Claire Scouse is working with us over the next few weeks to coordinate the survey, and will be available to help respondents.

We also have Maddy Jones working with us to prepare the 2015 Directory of Museums and Galleries. Maddy and Claire are both working part-time in our three-desk office, so it is very busy at the moment!

We’ve been enjoying getting out and meeting with members and colleagues around the country. Thérèse Angelo and Phillipa were in Invercargill recently, next up is Whakatāne on Friday and Christchurch on Tuesday 4 November. These regional meetings are a great way to catch up with what’s happening in your region, and we’ve had some wonderfully inspiring presentations. The Christchurch meeting will include a short Special General Meeting, called to approve a minor change to the MA Constitution. We want to change the rule about timing of the AGM from 4 to 6 months after the end of our financial year – this gives us more flexibility with conference dates, allowing us to hold the next AGM during MA15 in May.

Taranaki Forum

Planning for MA15 is well under way. The MA Board will meet in Dunedin on 19 November, and several Board members will be at the Dunedin regional meeting on 18 November.  We’re enjoying working with an enthusiastic planning team and our generous hosts at Otago Museum.

And we note the extensive tributes to our late friend Jonathan Mane-Wheoki in various media, including this beautiful compilation by Te Papa.

Mauriora,

Nā Phillipa māua ko Talei

Jonathan Mane-Wheoki (1943-2014)

Our friend and colleague has passed away peacefully, with his whanau by his side. We send aroha and sympathy, and our deep respect for the life he lived and the gifts he shared so freely.
Dominion Post notice
Spiritual Outlook interview (Aug 2014)
Auckland Art Gallery release

 


Museums Aotearoa Tweets

Join Museums Aotearoa


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 898 other followers

%d bloggers like this: