News Update 6 August, 2015

Kia ora

After the excitement of opening the Len Lye Centre, it’s disappointing to see that the reopening of Christchurch Art Gallery looks like being delayed until 2016.

There is also gloomy news on the economy, with record low dairy payout and falling exchange rate causing concern. A briefing by BERL Chief Economist Ganesh Nana this week advised caution, but did note the positive effect of a lower exchange rate on international tourism. I don’t expect any easing of the budget pressure on our sector in the foreseeable future! So we need to make sure our funders know how vital we are to tourism and well as local communities. MA is working on tools and data to support advocacy, and you can see the video of Dr Nana’s presentation on Value to MA14 here.

MA staff and Board members are busy this month with our regional meetings. The first two hosted by the Dowse and Aratoi have heard of some interesting new projects and participants have had really engaged debates on ethical matters. The workshops have shown that the same ethical scenario can have very different implications depending on the particular organisation and the individuals involved – especially when it comes to conflicts of interest.

We are enjoying the opportunity to talk to members at these meetings, and hear about what’s currently top priority or biggest concern.  Even if you can’t make it to a meeting, we’re always keen to hear from you.

Ngā mihi

Phillipa and Talei

News Update 21 July, 2015

Kia ora

MA regional meetings are being held from late July to early September. These are an opportunity to meet up with colleagues, visit other museums, share latest ideas and explore the practicalities of the MA Code of Ethics in a friendly and supportive workshop session. See here for dates and locations.

This week the UK Museums Association has released it’s draft revised Code of Ethics.
Like our own CoE, it is principle-based, and is intended to help museums and those who work in them to make informed decisions, and to provide guidance on professional practice.

There’s lots of professional development and networking activity coming up around the country in the next couple of months. As well as our MA regional forums, there are NDF BarcampsRegional Tourism Summits, and several conferences – see new listings below and details on our website.

And while we’re talking about networking and collaboration, news is out about a new approach to collecting – Christchurch Art Gallery and Dunedin Public Art Gallery have jointly purchased a major work by Shane Cotton. ‘Haymaker Series I-V’ will be previewed at DPAG on 30 July, then co-owned and displayed by the two galleries. Maybe the ‘distributed national collection’ concept is coming of age?

With the school holidays over, there are some special events coming up to enliven the winter. This weekend Wellington celebrates its 150th anniversary, as the capital, with a wide range of museum activities. You can draw a City Councillor at the Portrait Gallery, take a sneak peak at Wellington Museum’s new Attic space, see a light and sound show at Old St Paul’s, and go on Open House tours at the City Gallery and Te Papa.

Len Lye

And best wishes to the Govett-Brewster team as you count down to the opening on the Len Lye Centre this weekend – we love all the shiny photos already appearing on Facebook and Twitter.

Ngā mihi

Phillipa and Talei

News Update 9 June 2015

Kia ora

We are delighted to see Betty Nelley receiving the Queen’s Service Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours announced at the weekend. Betty has been a strong promoter of museums and heritage through her work at the Kauri Museum and across Northland. Up to her retirement as Chief Executive last year, Betty expanded the Kauri Museum’s role in tourism, science and the wider community, as well as providing active support to colleagues through the Northland Museums Association. Betty continues to be involved in both heritage and tourism through her work as a guide with Grand Pacific Tours, and voluntary work with the RSA. This kind of public recognition is also recognition of the importance of heritage to the communities in which we operate. When interviewed, Betty is humble, and has acknowledged all those she has worked with over the years. The Kauri Museum won a New Zealand Museum Award for Innovation in 2013 for achieving CarboNZero Certification.

Phillipa recently attended the Museums Australia national conference in Sydney’s rather imposing Town Hall. Falling immediately after MA15 in Dunedin, MA2015 was interesting, engaging, and very busy. New Zealand was quite well-represented, with presentations by Sally Manuireva (Auckland Museum), Paul Rowe (Vernon Systems), Christina Hardy (Te Papa) and Phillipa Tocker. We also caught up with colleagues who have moved across the Tasman, and gave a promo for MA16 in Auckland. Check out the Twitter feed at #ma2015syd.

MA16 – Museums Australasia
The first joint conference of Museums Aotearoa and Museums Australia will be held in Auckland 15-19 May 2016. We are working with a local planning team as well as Australian colleagues to develop a programme which offers opportunities to share, learn and develop new thinking. In the next few weeks there will be more information and a brief survey so you can let us know what you would like to see in the programme.

MA Board
The new MA Board elected at the May AGM will meet in Wellington on Thursday 25 June. AGM minutes will be circulated with the next issue of MAQuarterly. If you have any items you would like the Board to consider, please contact the office or a Board member. Board meeting dates for 2015 are Monday 31 August (location tbc) and Thursday 12 November in Auckland.

Regional and other meetings 
There was a great turnout of the Northland Museums Association in the new Managwhai Museum on Friday 29 May. As well as their AGM and general catching-up, there were presentations from invited experts on disaster preparedness and recovery – a very practical and useful day for all.

We are already talking to some host museums about regional meetings during the July/August/September period. We are planning a Code of Ethics workshop for some of these, as well as ‘pitopito korero’ sessions. If you are particularly interested in hosting your colleagues for a regional meting, or have suggestions for topics, please let us know.

Science in the SUNLIGHT is the topic of a symposium being hosted by Te Manawa on Friday 26 June. This is an opportunity for museum folk interested in science exhibits, interactives and communication to get together and explore collaboration and latest project – and to experience the fantastic new interactive show SUNLIGHT – Ihi Kōmaru. See details below.

A date has also been set for the next Kaitiaki hui: 20 October at Waitangi.  The actual days are yet to be determined, to be part of the conversation, visit Facebook.

Nga mihi

Phillipa and Talei

Medals and museums

Recent media attention has highlighted the proposed sale of medals and log books belonging to aviation war veteran Les Munro.

MOTAT, the Auckland War Memorial Museum, the Air Force Museum in Christchurch and the Otago Museum are working together to support Mr Munro to determine if there is a way that his personal wishes can be fulfilled while retaining his precious World War Two medals and memorabilia in their public collections within New Zealand.
The museums respect the decision Mr Munro has made to raise funds for the upkeep of the Bomber Command Memorial in London and are currently discussing a number of options to achieve the best outcome for all.

Leading these discussions is Mr Michael Frawley, CEO of MOTAT who says “we have a deep admiration for Mr Munro’s altruistic aims and we hope to work with him to realise these. Our primary goal is that Mr Munro is fully supported throughout this process whatever the outcome may be. The huge contribution Mr Munro, his colleagues and the entire Bomber Command made to World War Two cannot be emphasised enough and our museums will continue to highlight their valour, commitment and sacrifice.”

The museums, supported by organisations such as the RSA and NZ Bomber Command Association, are also collaborating with a number of their corporate sponsors to determine the level of financial support available for this project.

Phillipa Tocker
Executive Director
Museums Aotearoa

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

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